Lajja (2001 film)

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Lajja poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi
Produced by Rajkumar Santoshi
Written by Ranjit Kapoor
Rajkumar Santoshi (Dialogues)
Screenplay by Ashok Rawat,
Rajkumar Santoshi
Story by Rajkumar Santoshi
Starring Manisha Koirala
Madhuri Dixit
Jackie Shroff
Anil Kapoor
Mahima Chaudhry
Sharman Joshi
Ajay Devgn
Narrated by Bharat Shah
Music by Anu Malik
Cinematography Madhu Ambat
Edited by V. N. Mayekar
Distributed by Santoshi Productions
Release date
31 August 2001 (2001-08-31)
Running time
202 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 22 crore (US$3.1 million)[1]
Box office 15 crore (US$2.1 million) Domestic[1]

Lajja (English:Shame) is a 2001 Indian Hindi social drama film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film is based on the plight of women in India. The film satirises the honour with which women are placed in society and the restrictions on them. The fact that the four women's names (Maithili, Janki, Ramdulaari, and Vaidehi) are all versions of Sita, the ideal Hindu woman's name, is a message in itself. Manisha Koirala is the main protagonist of this film.

The film was a flop at the box office in India[2] but was a commercial success outside India.[3]

Rekha and Madhuri Dixit were nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award,[4] while Madhuri Dixit won the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female award for her performance.


Vaidehi (Manisha Koirala) lives with her husband Raghu (Jackie Shroff). On the outside, she lives a sophisticated life, but behind closed doors, her husband is abusive and has extramarital affairs. When she takes a stand for herself, she is banished from the household. She goes back to her parents' house but they too reject her. Vaidehi soon finds out that she is pregnant.

Raghu gets into a car accident, which results in him being unable to father a child. When he discovers that Vaidehi is pregnant, he calls her, faking remorse, and asks for her to return. Vaidehi agrees, thinking Raghu has mended his ways. Raghu and his father plot for the child to become their heir and if Vaidehi intervenes, she will be killed. Meanwhile, Vaidehi is informed by a friend about Raghu's true intentions, and so she escapes from his henchmen. She is helped by Raju (Anil Kapoor), a petty, but kindhearted thief. He hears Vaidehi's story and gives her money from his heist to help. To hide from Raghu and his henchmen, Vaidehi gatecrashes a wedding procession.

At the wedding, she meets Maithili (Mahima Chaudhry), a bride-to-be from a middle-class family. Maithili is marrying a man who hails from a rich background. The two women witness Maithili's father being hassled by demands for an opulent wedding, which he cannot afford, and is forced to pay dowry. Vaidehi tries to convince Raju to give his money from the heist. He initially refuses but changing his mind, he returns to give his heist money to Vaidehi. The groom's friend attempts to rape Maithili. As the wedding ceremony progresses, one of the guest recognises the heist money which initially belonged to him. Moreover, the groom's friend tells the groom's family that he spotted a man (Raju) in Maithili's room. Maithili is accused of having sexual relations with Raju in return for money, which leads Raju to accept his theft as the situation worsens. Having tolerated enough, Maithili insults the groom's family and they flee from the wedding.

Meanwhile, Vaidehi is found by Raghu, and forced into going with him. On the way, they encounter a protest mob. Raghu gets out of the car, which gives Vaidehi the chance to escape. She arrives in Haripur, a small town, where she meets Janki (Madhuri Dixit), a theatre actress in love with her colleague. Janki is pregnant, but not married. She doesn't care for society's norms. She is lusted after by the theatre director, Puroshottam (Tinu Anand), an older man who keeps his wife, Lata (Jaya Bhattacharya), confined to their house. Puroshottam talks against Janki to her lover, which creates a rift between them. She is asked to abort the child by her lover, as he suspects that he might not be the real father, indirectly accusing Janki of having sexual relations with the theatre director. Janki is outraged and messes up a scene during a performance of the Ramayan. This leads to an outcry from the audience and she is assaulted by the audience, leading to her having a miscarriage. Vaidehi confronts Puroshottam, who threatens to call her husband. However, Lata intervenes and takes Vaidehi to the station and puts her on a train.

The train is robbed by bandits but the passengers are saved by Bhulwa (Ajay Devgn), a local dacoit. Vaidehi faints at the sight of blood, and Bhulwa takes her to the local midwife, Ramdulaari (Rekha). Ramdulaari bravely opposes the village leaders Virendra (Gulshan Grover) and Gajendra (Danny Denzongpa) who exploit innocent women, young and old. When her educated son Prakash (Sharman Joshi), who is trying to educate the villagers against the wishes of Virendra and Gajendra, falls in love with Gajendra's daughter, Sushma (Aarti Chhabria), all hell breaks loose. Gajendra slyly locks Ramdulaari in her house and sets out to find Prakash. When Prakash runs away with Sushma, Virendra and Gajendra, along with their goons, rape Ramdulaari and burn her alive. In a fit of rage, Bhulwa and his army kill Virendra and his goons. Vaidehi escapes with Sushma and Prakash.

Gajendra is making a move into politics, so when he is applauded by the local authorities, Vaidehi intervenes and exposes Gajendra as a rapist and fraud through a heart-wrenching speech, which drives all the women in the audience to assault Gajendra, who is later killed by Bhulwa. The speech changes Raghu's attitude towards Vaidehi and he decides to mend his ways. The two return to New York as a proper married couple. Vaidehi gives birth to a daughter who is named Ramdulaari. She meets Raju again, who is now a taxi driver and married to Maithili. She invites him to a charity dance show with Janki in the main role, wherein all the money from her shows goes to fund women's organisations in India.



The songs were mainly composed by Anu Malik. A. R. Rahman was initially signed in as the composer; but then he opted out; after he got extremely busy with his international assignment, Bombay Dreams.[5] Then, the background score for the movie was done by Illayaraja. Lyrics of all songs were also written by Sameer, except those of "Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar", which were written by Prasoon Joshi. This song was also composed by Illayaraja and was sung by Lata Mangeshkar. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 13,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's fifteenth highest-selling.[6]

1."Aaye Aajaye Aa Hi Jaiye"SameerAnu MalikAnuradha Sriram 
2."Badi Mushkil"SameerAnu MalikAlka Yagnik 
3."Jiyo Jiyo"SameerAnu MalikK.K. 
4."Kaliyug Ki Sita"SameerAnu MalikAnuradha Paudwal 
5."Kaliyug Ki Sita" (II)SameerAnu MalikShubha Mudgal 
6."Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar"Prasoon JoshiIlaiyaraajaLata Mangeshkar 
7."Saajan Ke Ghar Jana Hai"SameerAnu MalikAlka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Richa Sharma 

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2002 Madhuri Dixit Zee Cine Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Madhuri Dixit Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Rekha Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated


The film received mixed reviews however the performances from the lead actors were highly praised.[7][8]

Bollywood Hungama gave a rating of two and half out of five stars and said "On the whole, Lajja is a purposeful film within commercial parameters and the best part is that the Indian masses will be able to identify with the goings-on. An enviable star cast, a talented director and an excellent second half are amongst its strong points."[9] The Hindu stated "Unfortunately, this colourful film is a black-and-white disappointment, particularly in the second half when Santoshi loses track of his story and in a blatant bid to get the tax-free certificate brings in bits about computer education, female literacy and infanticide.".[10] The BBC gave a positive review saying "The film is well directed, excellent songs, although they should have had more realistic fights."[11]

Box office[edit]

Lajja failed commercially at the box office in India due to high budget and distribution price. However it tasted success overseas. It ranked 14th on the British box-office chart, according to the International Movie Database.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Lajja – Starcast". IBoS Network. 
  2. ^ "Box Office 2001". Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Arthur J Pais (8 September 2001). "Lajja's a hit overseas". Rediff. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Lajja: Awards and Nominations". Bollywood Hungama. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Music Hits 2000–2009 (Figures in Units)". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. 
  7. ^ "Film Review – Lajja". Planet Bollywood. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Bariana, Sanjeev Singh (2 September 2001). "Rekha, Madhuri, Manisha all the way". The Tribune. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Adarsh, Taran (29 August 2001). "Lajja: Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Film Review: Lajja". The Hindu. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Virdee, Jay (30 August 2001). "Lajja reviewed". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 


External links[edit]