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Rudaali (1993)

| Drama
In a small village in Rajasthan, India, a woman named Shanichari was born - so named, as shortly after her birth her father died; & her mother, Peewli, ran away with a rich lover, the owner... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bhikni (as Raakhee)
...
Shanichari
...
Thakur Lakshman Singh
Raghuvir Yadav ...
Budhwa (as Raghuveer Yadav)
...
Mungri (Budhwa's Wife)
Manohar Singh ...
Pandit Mohan Lal
Rajesh Singh
Mita Vasisht ...
Mistress of rich man
Amjad Khan ...
Thakur Ram Avtar (Lakhsman's dad)
Usha Bannerjee
Minaaz ...
(as Mehnaz)
Pramod Bala
Ravi Jhankal
Yusuf Khurram
Suneel Sinha
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Storyline

In a small village in Rajasthan, India, a woman named Shanichari was born - so named, as shortly after her birth her father died; & her mother, Peewli, ran away with a rich lover, the owner of a drama company, abandoning her. When Shanichari grew up she was married to a male named Ganju who lived with his ailing mother. Shanichari gave birth to a boy and named him Budhwa. The local Landlord, Ram Avtar's son, Lakhsman Singh, would like Shanichari to live with him as his mistress, but she must first abandon her husband and son, which she is unable to do. Her ailing mother-in-law passes away - Shanicharni is unable to weep; Years later, Ganju gets killed after consuming holy water from a temple - Shanichari is unable to weep; When Budhwa get's married to a local prostitute, Mungri, who becomes pregnant, and then subsequently aborts the child - Shanichari is unable to weep; When Budhwa runs away from home, never to be seen again - Shanichari is unable to weep. Then a woman named Bhikni ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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Drama

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The Mourner  »

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Soundtracks

Yara Sili Sili
Sung by Lata Mangeshkar
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User Reviews

'Where Are Those Tears?'
7 June 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

'Rudaali' tells the haunting tale of Shanichari, a woman who has suffered a lot from being treated like an outcast by the villagers to abandoned parents, lack of financial security, and so much more. Now at this old age, when she barely makes a living, her friend Bhekni, asks her to work with her as a 'rudaali' (hired mourner). But Shanichari has been too hardened by life that her eyes never even leak a small drop of tear. All this is changed by a revelation.

This is perhaps one movie where director Kalpana Lajmi gets it all (or most of it) right. Her other films that I have seen 'Daman' and 'Chingaari' approach unrealistic solutions to the themes that are tackled and tend to end dramatically. 'Rudaali' too ends on a dramatic note but it feels more real and fit to the theme. I loved the way the film opens with the silhouettes of four dancing 'rudaalis' and ends with a muted cry. Throughout the film, the pace is well-maintained and the platonic love between Shanichari and the young 'zameendar' and between Shanichari and Bhekni is very well portrayed. 'Rudaali' is also part satirical as we see how the mourners are also seen as a form of entertainment. The great Gulzar deserves equal credit for his screenplay as 'Rudaali' would never have turned up this way had it not been for this man's input.

The songs are beautiful and breathtaking. The great Gulzar's lyrics are simply amazingly awesome and it's quite apparent how the singers, including Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangshkar and Bhupen Hazarika have put their heart into the singing. My favourite song of the soundtrack is 'Dheere Chalo' which is introduced in the opening sequence and repeated in the film. the songs will haunt the viewer long after the end credits have rolled.

Just like the singers, the actors too have put their heart into their acting. A frighteningly obese Amjad Khan perfectly fits his part. Raj Babbar is impressive. Raghuvir Yadav, Sushmita Mukherjee and Mita Vashist are effective in their small roles. Rakhee is excellent. It's refreshing to see her after a long time in a role other than the typical Hindi film mom she was famous for playing. However, 'Rudaali' belongs to a barely recognizable Dimple Kapadia. She looks authentic as Shanichari and acts very natural. I've never liked her as an actress based on her 80s and early 90s films but she impressed me in 'Krantiveer' and 'Dil Chahta Hai' and in 'Rudaali' she proves that she can be an amazing actress and that she can act her heart out given the right role. A phenomenal performance. One of the finest of the 90s.

'Rudaali' is quite a beautiful film to watch. The cinematography and background score are simply wonderful. Lajmi's attempt is honest and she tells the sad tale very convincingly. 'Rudaali' may not appeal to all (especially those looking for sugarcoated entertainment) but to me this is a genuine piece of cinema, a film where all the parts (story, music, acting, cinematography...) fit together brilliantly.


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