Umrao Jaan (1981 film)

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Umrao Jaan
Umrao Jaan movie poster.jpg
Umrao Jaan film poster
Hindi उमराव जान
Directed by Muzaffar Ali
Produced by Muzaffar Ali
Written by Muzaffar Ali
Javed Siddiqui
Shama Zaidi (Dialogues)
Screenplay by Muzaffar Ali
Javed Siddiqui
Shama Zaidi
Based on Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada
by Mirza Hadi Ruswa
Starring Rekha
Seema Sathyu
Farooq Shaikh
Naseeruddin Shah
Umme Farwa
Shaukat Kaifi
Dina Pathak
Prema Narayan
Gajanan Jagirdar
Raj Babbar
Bharat Bhushan
Satish Shah (uncredited)
Music by Khayyam
Shahryar (lyrics)
Cinematography Pravin Bhatt
Edited by B. Prasad
Release date
  • 1981 (1981)
  • India (India)
Running time
145 min.
Language Hindustani

Umrao Jaan is a 1981 Bollywood film directed by Muzaffar Ali. Based on the 1905 Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada, the film tells the story of a Lucknow courtesan and her rise to fame.


In the year 1840, a girl named Amiran is kidnapped from her family in Faizabad and sold to Khanum Jaan, the madam of a brothel in Lucknow who teaches young courtesans. Renamed Umrao Jaan, Amiran turns into a cultured woman trained to captivate men of wealth and taste.

Umrao catches the eye of Nawab Sultan and the two fall in love, but the relationship comes to an end when Nawab reveals he must marry in order to please his family. Umrao then becomes infatuated with bandit chieftain Faiz Ali, who woos and wins her heart. She elopes with him, but is forced to return to Lucknow after Ali is killed by local police.

Sometime later, British soldiers attack Lucknow and the residents are forced to flee. Umrao's party of refugees stops in a small village, which Umrao recognizes as Faizabad. The residents fail to recognize her, however, and ask her to dance for their pleasure.

Afterwards, she reunites with her family, who believed her to be dead. Her mother is happy to welcome Umrao back, but her brother forbids it and orders Umrao to never return. She returns to Lucknow to find the brothel looted and deserted.



Critical reception[edit]

Rekha was praised for her acting, but the box office returns were just average.[2] The supporting characters were played by Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh, Raj Babbar and Bharat Bhushan. Critics responded favourably to the carefully done historical setting.

The soundtrack was composed by Khayyam and the lyrics were penned by Shahryar. Several songs from the film, sung by Asha Bhosle, are considered classics of filmi music: "Dil cheez kya hai", "Justuju Jiski Thi", "In ankhon ki masti", and "Yeh kya jagah hai doston".

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1981 Rekha National Film Award for Best Actress Won
Asha Bhosle National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer Won
Khayyam National Film Award for Best Music Direction Won
Manzur [3] National Film Award for Best Art Direction Won
1982 Muzaffar Ali Filmfare Award for Best Director Won
Khayyam Filmfare Award for Best Music Director Won
Rekha[4] Filmfare Award for Best Actress Nominated
1982 Best Feature Film of 1982 1st Matri Shree Media Award Won


No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Dil Cheez Kya Hai" Shahryar Asha Bhosle 6:06
2. "In Aankhon Ki Masti" Shahryar Asha Bhosle 5:42
3. "Jab Bhi Milti Hai" Shahryar Asha Bhosle 1:28
4. "Jhoola Kinne Dala" Shahryar Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Shahida Khan Nizami 2:31
5. "Justuju Jiski Thi" Shahryar Asha Bhosle 4:37
6. "Kahe Ko Byahi Bides" Amir Khusrow[5] Jagjit Kaur 4:52
7. "Raagmala" Shahryar Mustafa Khan, Runa Prasad, Shahida Khan, [ 5:22
8. "Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston" Shahryar Asha Bhosle 6:07
9. "Zindagi Jab Bhi" Shahryar Talat Aziz 4:51
10. "Pratham Dhar Dhyan"   Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan  

2006 remake by J.P. Dutta[edit]

A remake of Umrao Jaan was released on 3 November 2006. It is directed by J.P. Dutta and stars Aishwarya Rai as Umrao Jaan, Sunil Shetty as Faiz Ali, Puru Raaj Kumar as Gauhar Mirza and Abhishek Bachchan as Nawab Sultan. Shabana Azmi portrays Madam Khanum Jaan (notably, Azmi's own mother, Shaukat Kaifi, portrayed Madam Khanum Jaan in the original version of the film). The music is composed by Anu Malik and the lyrics are penned by Javed Akhtar.

In popular culture[edit]

Vanya Mishra danced to the song at Miss World 2012.


External links[edit]