Umrao Jaan (1981 film)
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Umrao Jaan film poster
|Directed by||Muzaffar Ali|
|Produced by||Muzaffar Ali|
|Written by||Muzaffar Ali
Shama Zaidi (Dialogues)
|Screenplay by||Muzaffar Ali
|Based on||Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada
by Mirza Hadi Ruswa
Satish Shah (uncredited)
|Edited by||B. Prasad|
Umrao Jaan (Urdu: امراؤ جان, Hindi: उमराव जान) is a 1981 Bollywood film, directed by Muzaffar Ali. It is based on the Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905), written by Mirza Hadi Ruswa based on the famous Lucknow courtesan. The film starred Bollywood actress Rekha and Farooq Shaikh as leads.
In the year 1840, a girl named Amiran (Seema Sathyu) is kidnapped from her family in Faizabad, Oudh by their neighbour, Dilawar Khan (Satish Shah), and sold to Madam Khanum Jaan (Shaukat Kaifi) who owns a brothel in Lucknow where she trains courtesans (tawaif). Amiran, renamed Umrao Jaan, learns to read, write, dance, and sing. She is a cultured woman trained to captivate men of wealth and taste.
She meets a dashing bandit chieftain, Faiz Ali (Raj Babbar), who woos and wins her. She flees with him, hoping to marry him and leave the world of the courtesan far behind. But her lover is killed by local police and she is left alone, with no choice but to return to her old life.
Soon, the British attack the city of Lucknow and the residents are forced to flee. Umrao's party of refugees stops in a small village near Lucknow. The residents ask the courtesan to sing and dance. Umrao, looking about her, realizes that this is her town, Faizabad, the place from which she was kidnapped.
She sings the song, "Yeh kya jagah hai doston?" (What kind of place is this, friends?) a veiled reference to her feelings of dismay at being treated like a pariah entertainer by her own people. Afterwards, she meets her mother and younger brother, who had thought that she was dead. Her mother would be happy to welcome her back into the family, but her brother forbids it — she is tainted by her profession and must not return to embarrass them.
At the end of the film, Umrao returns to the now-deserted and looted brothel in Lucknow and finds she is left alone, with nothing but her profession and her poetry.
Rekha was praised for her acting, but the box office returns were just average. 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″.
- Rekha as Amiran
- Seema Sathyu as Young Amiran
- Farooq Shaikh as Nawab Sultan
- Naseeruddin Shah as Gohar Mirza
- Raj Babbar as Faiz Ali
- Gajanan Jagirdar as Maulvi
- Shaukat Kaifi as Khanum Jaan
- Umme Farwa as Young Amiran
- Dina Pathak as Husseini
- Prema Narayan as Bismillah
- Bharat Bhushan as Khan Saheb
- Mukri as Parnan Aziz
- Satish Shah as Daroga Dilawar
- Art Direction: Muzaffar Ali, Bansi Chandragupta, Manzoor
- Choreography: Gopi Krishna for the song " Dil Cheez Kya Hai ", Kumudini Lakhia 
- Costume Design: Subhashini Ali
Awards and nominations
|Year||Recipient / Nominated 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 ||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||Filmfare Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|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||2:31|
|5.||"Justuju Jiski Thi"||Shahryar||Asha Bhosle||4:37|
|6.||"Kahe Ko Byahi Bides"||Amir Khusrow||Jagjit Kaur||4:52|
|7.||"Raagmala"||Shahryar||Mustafa Khan, Runa Prasad, Shahida Khan, Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan||5:22|
|8.||"Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston"||Shahryar||Asha Bhosle||6:07|
|9.||"Zindagi Jab Bhi"||Shahryar||Talat Aziz||4:51|
2006 remake by J.P. Dutta
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