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Zubeidaa (2001)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 1,119 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 15 critic

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)
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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
Harish Patel ...
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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Language:

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Release Date:

19 January 2001 (India)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

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

Featured in Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Hai Na
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Music by A.R. Rahman
Performed by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Majestic
28 April 2010 | by (DVD Times) – See all my reviews

Zubeidaa is the third of an unofficial trilogy of films created by Shyam Benegal in collaboration with writer Khalid Mohamed, but this colourful two and a half-hour film is a remarkable epic in its own right, worthy of being compared to Visconti at his finest and most extravagant.

The story of Zubeidaa commences with the flamboyant flourish of her red scarf falling out of the heavens onto her grave at her burial in 1982, and the remainder of the story of her life being told in flashback as it is uncovered by the son of her first marriage Riyad Masud (Rajit Kapoor), now a film journalist. The principal object of the search that will reveal much to him is a missing reel of 1952 film that Zubeidaa (Karisma Kapoor) completed before her father refused to let her undertake a career in the movies, physically removing her from the set. Her father has other ideas for his daughter, arranging a marriage to the son of a Pakistani businessman in order to form a closer alliance between the two families.

When the marriage eventually fails, despite the birth of a son, Zubeidaa's rather more free and outgoing friend Rose introduces Zubeidaa to a wealthy Raja Vijendra Singh, known as Victor, who falls madly in love with her beauty. Despite already being married to the more exotic and refined Mandira Devi (Rekha), and despite being a Muslim while Victor is a Hindu, Zubeidaa agrees to become the Maharaja's Junior Wife. The arrangement is inevitably not without difficulties, Zubeidaa feeling threatened by Victor's brother and increasingly marginalised as Victor embarks upon an election campaign to retain authority and represent the best interests of the people of his region, taking Mandy Didi (as she is known to Zubeidaa) along with him, the whole affair ultimately resulting in tragedy.

Zubeidaa is a vast and epic movie, colourfully filmed in widescreen with an eye for the opulence of the period, appropriately almost taking on the appearance of a near-fairytale for Zubeidaa's marriage to a wealthy Maharaja, breaking into lively song and dance arrangements with an impressive score by A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). There is much more to the film however than it being a beautifully photographed fantasy, the story dealing with Benegal's characteristic treatment of the diversity of Indian culture, politics, religion and tradition, showing where it clashes and complements in all its infinite variety and beauty.


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