Rudaali (1993) Poster


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A Tale of Dried Tears
Vishv Jeet13 March 2005
Rudaali is one of the haunting movie that comes from remote villages in Rajasthan. Shanichari is a beautiful girl born in lower cast and her life is full of sufferings because of lower cast, poor finances, lost parents, drunken husband, mischievous son. In her old age, she has become like a stone which doesn't complain and doesn't weep. Even a sharp eye drop that brings artificial tears in the eyes of a Rudaali (a rented mourner) cannot bring tears in her eyes. Her mother (A old professional Rudalli) lives with her for couple of days but doesn't tell her that she is her mom. She suggests her to become a fellow Rudaali with her. But the problem is that Shanichari can't weep.

After Shanichari's mom dies and she comes to know that she was her mother, Shanichari's tears come back to her eyes after long years and she becomes a famous Rudaali taking over her mother's profession.

The movie along with sadness of Shanichari's life also contains a story of platonic love between village landlord and Shanichari. The movie also ridicules the practice of renting mourners by rich class in the village who are so bad that they even rent mourner for show at the time of their deaths.

The movie also has 8 haunting melodies in Hindi. Best ever songs.
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'Where Are Those Tears?'
Chrysanthepop7 June 2008
'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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Honest look at a culture within the Indian society.
DesiBaba14 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I grew up in India but never knew there were professionals who worked as "Rudaali". It was an interesting story with lot of interesting characters, from that of Amjad Khan who is scared of his mortality while on his death bed, enough to summon a Rudaali ('cos he knew no one would be sad enough to shed a tear when he is gone) to Rakhee, (her daughter) Dimple, Raj Babbar, Raghuvir Yadav, and Shushmita Mukherjee, they all play interesting characters. A lot of issues and themes are brought up-- the class structure, exploitation of poor/weak, infidelity, prostitution, culture of hypocrisy and double standard, etc.
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Shows the true life of villagers in India
Sagar Bhatt5 September 2015
Rudaali is set in a village in Rajasthan, but the village life shown in this movie reflects the reality of rural life across most of the rest of India. TV shows and Bollywood movies often choose Rajasthan or nearby states if they need to set something because the language of these states is similar enough to Hindi for Hindi-Urdu speakers to understand it without it being modified too much.

It reveals the tough and sad life villagers go through, focusing on topics like the caste system, poverty, the ज़मीदार ("Landlord") system, prostitution, disease (cholera): in general, the backward and limited life in villages in comparison to cities.

These issues are concluded intelligently when the protagonist of the movie decides to live the rest of her life as a rudaali after she can finally cry out all the grief she's been through in her life.

A rudaali is a professional mourner who's paid to cry at peoples' death.
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'perfect Mix of Tradition and Artistic Talents'
rameshkompella-16 July 2007
Ruddali is one such movie that did succeed in bringing out the perfect portrayal of ancient traditional roots of Rajathan in India.

The success is not only visible in the Story.. the picturisation. but Kalpana Lajmi's directional skills are far augmented by the very Music that perfectly suited to the story ( and may be the first time in Indian Cinema ).. given by none other than one of the Most talented Volk Music Director Bhupen Hajarika. Yet times, even if the Audience are so engrossed in the story.. the drama that is going-on on the screen, it makes me feel that without the support of Bhupen hajarika's Music talents the film would have ended somewhere half the way than what it did finally achieve in the Critics' views.

Yes, I must finally say that .. this movie is one that is far from any typical of Bollywood Movies ..even it had all the elements a typical Bollywood movie would attribute itself with ! The success of this movie is doesn't end with the creative side os a film making .. but an inherent power which it might trigger in the minds of History lovers and thinkers of Traditions and evolved social cultures.

the movie is worth 1000+ usual bollywoods movies that get churned out every year !
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