Khayal Gatha

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Khayal Gatha
Directed by Kumar Shahani
Written by Kumar Shahani
Starring Rajat Kapoor
Mangal Dhillon
Mita Vasisht
Cinematography K. K. Mahajan
Distributed by National Film Development Corporation (NFDC)
Release date
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
103 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi

Khayal Gatha (English: The Saga of Khayal) is a 1989 Indian experimental film written and directed by Kumar Shahani. The film is about the history of the Khayal genre of Indian classical singing. The film also traces the relationship of Khayal genre with Indian classical dance.[1]

The film marked the acting debut of Rajat Kapoor, who was unknown at the time, but got his big international break in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding as a sexually abusive uncle and later got his mainstream Bollywood break in Dil Chahta Hai.[2][3][4]


The film is presented in an abstract format, where a music student (Mangal Dhillon) listens to stories and legends about the birth and evolution of the Khayal form of classical Indian singing. These stories are re-enacted by actors Rajat Kapoor and Mita Vasisht, who play several key figures throughout the history of classical music.[5]

Awards and Acclaim[edit]

Khayal Gatha is the first of Kumar Shahani's films receive international accolades. The movie was appreciated at the Rotterdam Int'l Film Festival where it screened in the main competition section and is considered an important documentation of the tradition of Indian classical singing.[4]

Year Ceremony Award[6]
1989 Rotterdam Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize[1]
1990 Filmfare Award Best Film (Critics)


  1. ^ a b "Kumar Shahani". The 5th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  2. ^ "Khayal Gatha IMDb Page". IMDb. 
  3. ^ "Rajat Kapoor IMDb Page". IMDb. 
  4. ^ a b "The Khayal Saga". MovieFix. 
  5. ^ "The Khayal Saga". Channel 4. 
  6. ^ "Khayal Gatha Awards Page". IMDb. 

External links[edit]