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DVD cover of Rudaali.
Directed by Kalpana Lajmi
Produced by Ravi Gupta
Ravi Malik
Written by Mahasweta Devi (story)
Starring Dimple Kapadia
Raj Babbar
Amjad Khan
Music by Bhupen Hazarika
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
Dharam Gulati
Release dates
  • 18 June 1993 (1993-06-18)
Running time
128 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi

Rudaali is a 1993 Hindi film directed by Indian director Kalpana Lajmi, based on the short story written by famous Bengali litterateur Mahasweta Devi. The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 66th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[1][2]

Cultural background[edit]

The title is a reference to a custom in certain areas of Rajasthan where women of a lower caste are hired as professional mourners upon the death of upper-caste males. These women are referred to as a "rudaali" (roo-dah-lee), literally translated as "female weeper" or "weeping woman".[3] Their job is to publicly express grief of family members who are not permitted to display emotion due to social status.


The film is set in a small village in Rajasthan, India. It tells the story of a woman named Shanichari, who was abandoned by her mother shortly after her father's death. Bad fortune follows as she marries an alcoholic, who leaves her with little hope of a brighter future for herself and her mentally challenged son.

Throughout Shanichari's lifetime of misfortune she has never cried. This creates great difficulty once she is called to become a rudaali until Bhinkni, an experienced mourner, enters her life.[4] Shanichari and the local landlord's son fall in love with each other, but Shanichari is reluctant to ask the rich lover for money as she does not want to lower her love even for the sake of getting out of poverty and misery.

Awards and honors[edit]

Dimple Kapadia won a National Film Award for her role of Shanichari in the film. The film also features Raakhee, Raj Babbar and Amjad Khan in one of his last films. Khan died before the film's release, and the film is dedicated to him in the beginning credits. Samir Chanda won National Film Award for Best Art Direction. Simple Kapadia won the National Film Award for Best Costume Design.


The film has music by folk musician Bhupen Hazarika.

All lyrics written by Gulzar, all music composed by Bhupen Hazarika.

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Dil Hoom Hoom Kare (Part-1)" (Raga: Bhoopali) Lata Mangeshkar  
2. "Dil Hoom Hoom Kare (Part-2)" (Raga: Bhoopali) Bhupen Hazarika  
3. "Jhuti Mooti Mitwa" (Raga: Vrindavani Sarang) Lata Mangeshkar  
4. "Samay O Dhire Chalo (Part-1)" (Raga: Bhimpalasi) Asha Bhosle  
5. "Samay O Dhire Chalo (Part-2)" (Raga: Bhimpalasi) Bhupen Hazarika  
6. "Moula O Moula"   Bhupen Hazarika  
7. "Samay O Dhire Chalo (Part-3)" (Raga: Bhimpalasi) Lata Mangeshkar  

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ Frook, John Evan (30 November 1993). "Acad inks Cates, unveils foreign-language entries". Variety. Retrieved 25 August 2008. 
  3. ^ "Rudaali". University of Iowa. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  4. ^ Rudaali Production Details | Box Office - Yahoo! Movies

External links[edit]