Zubeida, an aspiring Muslim actress, marries a Hindu prince to become his second wife. Her tumultuous relationship with her husband, and her inner demons lead her to a decision which has fatal consequences for them all.

Director:

Writers:

(original story and screenplay), (dialogue) (as Javed Siddique)
Reviews
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An educated man spends his days writing letters for the varied inhabitants of his small, poor, and illiterate village, in this political and social satire.

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Ravi Kishan
Fiza (2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1993 Fiza's brother disappears during the riots in Mumbai. In 1999 Fiza is tired of waiting and goes looking for him.

Director: Khalid Mohamed
Stars: Jaya Bhaduri, Karisma Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

This is the story of Armaan Ali, a driver working for a senior executive in Mumbai. He takes a month's leave to find a husband for his teenage daughter, who lives near Hyderabad. When he is... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Boman Irani, Minissha Lamba, Sammir Dattani
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The film, which is about the last five years of the Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose's life, also includes his life's story in flashback sequences. However, it does not cover the controversy surrounding Bose's death.

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Ila Arun, Pankaj Berry, Nicolas Chagrin
Pinjar (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the days leading up to Partition, a Hindu woman is abducted by a Muslim man. Soon, she finds herself not only forced into marriage, but living in a new country as the borders between India and Pakistan are drawn.

Director: Chandra Prakash Dwivedi
Stars: Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Sanjay Suri
Junoon (1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set during the 1857 War of Independence, an obsessed Indian Nawab desires to wed a young Anglo-Indian woman, but the girl's obstinate mother stands between them.

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Jalal Agha, Nafisa Ali, Tom Alter
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A couple visits the husband's family in India and finds itself in the middle of a fratricidal battle.

Director: Krishna Vamshi
Stars: Karisma Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Sanjay Kapoor
Drama | Romance | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Raja is a poor man who lives in India. He meets with a very rich girl, and both fall in love with each other. The girl's name is Aarti, who lives with her step-mother, who is very cruel, ... See full summary »

Director: Dharmesh Darshan
Stars: Aamir Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Suresh Oberoi
Comedy | Romance | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Raja is a minor league crook who sells railway tickets on the black market at Amirpur station. Tired of his job he looks for new ways to make a quick buck. One day, along with his friend ... See full summary »

Director: David Dhawan
Stars: Anil Kapoor, Govinda, Juhi Chawla
Taal (1999)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

On a sight-seeing road trip of India, U.K. based Manav Mehta meets Mansi, the daughter of a singer, Tarababu. He is attracted to her, and makes his attraction known. She also is attracted ... See full summary »

Director: Subhash Ghai
Stars: Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aks (2001)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Raghavan Ghatge, a psychotic terrorist, and Manu Verma, the cop who tracks him down, shoot each other simultaneously, the result being that Raghavan's soul is transferred into Verma's body...

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Raveena Tandon, Manoj Bajpayee
Parineeta (2005)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The lifelong romance between Lolita (Balan) and Shekar (Khan) is upset by the arrival of another man.

Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Stars: Vidya Balan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mandira Devi
...
Raja Vijendra Singh (as Manoj Bajpai)
Rajit Kapoor ...
Riyaz Masud (as Rajit Kapur)
Surekha Sikri ...
Fayyazi (as Surekha Sikri-Rege)
...
Suleiman Seth
Farida Jalal ...
Shakti Kapoor ...
Dance Master Hiralal
...
Rose Davenport
Ravi Jhankal ...
Girivar Singh
Smriti Mishra ...
S.M. Zaheer ...
Sajid Masud
...
Nandlal Seth
Seema Bhargava
Parzan Dastur ...
Young Riyaz (as Parzaan Dastur)
Edit

Storyline

The film begins with Riyaz (Rajat Kapoor), Zubeida's son setting out to research her life, and to meet the people who knew her. The story is thus told in the form of memories/reminiscences. Zubeida is a Muslim actress, who's career aspirations are thwarted by her film-producer father (Puri) who looks down upon a woman in acting. He arranges her marriage to her friend's son, but that breaks up after the birth of her son. Zubeida is now back at her parent's home, sad and depressed. Rose (Lilette Dubey) her father's mistress tries to cheer-up Zubeida by taking her out. On one of these outings, Zubeida meets Prince Vijayendra (Victor) Singh of Fatehpur (Bajpai). Quite taken with her, the Prince woos and marries her. Zubeida, now the 2nd wife of a Hindu prince, leaves her son behind with her mother (Sikri) and comes to live at Fatehpur. Here she meets the much older Mandira Devi (Rekha) the Prince's first wife, learns about the etiquette of being a Rani, and of the duties her husband has ... Written by Amodini

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of a Princess


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 January 2001 (India)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The jewelry worn by Karisma Kapoor and Rekha in the film actually belonged to the Jaipur royal family. Both actresses were told to be very careful when wearing it. See more »

Goofs

The events of the movie are happening in the 1950s, around the time of decolonization, yet the prince Victor appears to be flying a 1982 model of Cessna 172. See more »

Connections

Follows Sardari Begum (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Dheeme Dheeme
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Music by A.R. Rahman
Performed by Kavita Krishnamurthy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Rich And Resonant Historical Romance, Though It Ends Up Feeling Incomplete
24 September 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Shyam Benegal is an international award winning film director who made his name in the 1970's with films, such as Anker (1974), that focus on controversial subjects involving the examination of fraught, complex social and cultural relationships. These films tend to concentrate on the lower rungs of Indian society. Zubeidaa is a refreshing update in this mode of film-making, as Benegal transfers his name-making qualities to a subject at the higher end of society.

It is the story of a young man, Riyaz, who goes on a journey to discover what has happened to his mysterious mother, absent for as long as he can remember. What he discovers is reenacted in scenes set not long after independence, as the naïve but headstrong young Zubeidaa is scandalised by her romance, and subsequent marriage to Prince Vijayendra Singh of Fatehpur, head of a grand Hindu ruling royal family. As a middle class Muslim divorcée with a child by another man, her relationship with the Prince is naturally complicated by socio-political and religious factors.

But not only does she become entangled in the politics of the royal circle around the Prince, particularly in her relationship with the Prince's first wife, Mandira Devi, she also gets caught up in the larger politics of India. The film is set during a time not long after Independence, a time of change and uncertainty for the traditional ruling class of India, which still laid claim to about a third of the country.

Though it is clear that this film is much more than royal watching, having such a subject naturally supports a lavish treatment, which Benegal ably supplies, as well as making the film's content rich in nuance and resonance, handling its mature romantic storyline gracefully, and skilfully embedding it into its larger historical context.

The characters are generally very well developed with empathy and without judgement or cliché. The acting matches this. Karisma Kapoor captures the strength and naivety of Zubeidaa with aplomb, and Rekha is authoritative and understated as the enigmatic Mandira Devi.

The only problem I have with the film is Zubeidaa's grown son, Riyaz. Riyaz is imperative to the film, since the viewer follows him on his journey of discovery. Seeing great characters through the eyes of other characters is a useful fictional device, most successfully utilised in Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. Nick Carraway's character is revealed by his journey in discovering Gatsby. However, in Zubeidaa, Riyaz stays enigmatic while discovering his mother, and even, at times, comes across as anodyne, feeling more like a biographer looking into an interesting episode in history, not a son trying to find his mother. Rajat Kapoor, playing Riyaz, does not manage to rise above his character's failings. And so, unfortunately, the film ends up feeling incomplete.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Zubeidaa (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?