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.

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(original story and screenplay), (dialogue) (as Javed Siddique)
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Cast

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

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Release Date:

19 January 2001 (India)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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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

Main Albeli
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Music by A.R. Rahman
Performed by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Sukhwinder Singh
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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable
14 February 2001 | by (Delhi) – See all my reviews

Zubeidaa was a real person. Shyam Benegal has tried to portray her story through the movie. When Indian films graduated from the silent era to the talkies, Zubeida starred in the first Indian talkie - Alam Ara. She was a divorcee who fell in love with the then maharaja of Jodhpur. They got married but Zubeida never earned the status of a queen. She always remained the 'other woman'. Zubaida married the late Maharaja of Jodhpur Hanwant Singh, a high- flier who fell for her beauty. Both the Maharaja and Zubaida were killed in an air crash near Jodhpur 48 years ago. Their son, Hukum Singh, popularly known as Tutu Bana, was murdered fifteen years ago under mysterious circumstances at Jodhpur. Well known film journalist Khalid Mohammed, Zubaida's son from her first marriage, wrote a story on her late mother. Originally, it is a love story, but for the film version, little changes have been made. Now the film - Karishma Kapoor has matured as an actress. She was known as Govinda's heroine. Now with movies like Fiza and Zubeidaa, Karishma has shown that she can act. Rekha is wonderful in her short but important role as the King's elder wife, Mandira Devi. The only flaw I found was casting of Manoj Bajpai as the king. The Rajput kings were really majestic looking - tall and fair and very cultured. Manoj Bajpai did not have that in his personality though he made for it by his acting talent. This is not a typical Shyam Benegal film. People expecting a serious thought provoking movie would be disappointed. This is Shyam Benegal's first attempt to bridge the gap between Commercial cinema and the 'art' cinema.

The movie is a love story of a journalist talking to people trying to find out all he can about a mother he never knew. He meets people and through them Zubeidaa's story unfolds. I enjoyed the movie and give it 7 out of 10.


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