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Umrao Jaan (2006)

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J.P. Dutta's adaption of the Urdu novel "Umrao Jan Ada" by Mirza Haadi Ruswa (1905).



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ameeran / Umrao Jaan (as Aishwariya Rai)
Faiz Ali (as Suneil Shetty)
Bikram Saluja ...
Ayesha Jhulka ...
Khurshid Jaan
Puru Rajkumar ...
Gauhar Mirza (as Puru Raj Kumar)
Parikshat Sahni ...
Ameeran's father (as Parikshit Sahani)
Bismillah Jaan
Himani Shivpuri ...
Maya Alagh ...
Ameeran's mother
Dilawar Khan (as Viswajeet Pradhan)
Javed Khan ...
Pir Baksh
Anwar Madeem ...
Mirza Hadi Ruswa


Ameeran lives a poor-lifestyle with her mom, dad, and brother, Jamal, in Faizabad, British India. When her dad testifies against the local corrupt cop, Dilawar Khan, Khan swears to avenge this humiliation, and several years later, abducts Ameeran, holds her for ransom. When no money is forthcoming, he sells her. Ameeran ends up in a brothel run by Lucknow's Madame Khanum Jaan, where she is taught dance and poetry, and is subsequently re-named Umrao Jaan. Years later, Umrao has matured, is a well-known Courtesan with many patrons, chief amongst them are Nawab Sujat Ali Khan and his son, Sultan. Umrao and Sultan fall in love with each other, much to the chagrin of Sujat, who instructs Sultan either to give up Umrao or to lose his inheritance, and Sultan chooses Umrao. He gives up his father's palatial house and goes to live in the brothel, but re-locates to live with his uncle in Gadi after being taunted by Khanum Jaan. Umrao has a new admirer, Nawab Faiz Ali, who proposes to take her ... Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance






Release Date:

3 November 2006 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Umrao Jaan: Losy pieknej kurtyzany  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£136,011 (UK) (3 November 2006)


£296,784 (UK) (10 November 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(European Film Market)


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Did You Know?


Kareena Kapoor was eventually signed to play Abhishek Bachchan's fiancé in the film. Later she opted out. See more »


The movie is set in the period of the late 19th century but the hand pump shown is of India Mark II which came into existence much later. See more »


Version of Umrao Jaan (1981) See more »


Bekha Diya Hamein
Written by Javed Akhtar
Music by Anu Malik
Performed by Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam
Courtesy of T-series
See more »

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User Reviews

Comparisons are unavoidable, and the result is clear
5 July 2010 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

J.P. Dutta directs Umrao Jaan, the second film adaptation of Mirza Hadi Ruswa's 1905 novel "Umrao Jaan Ada", which tells the story of the famous Lucknow courtesan. Although Dutta claimed to have based the film on the novel, it is clearly more a remake of the 1981 film version, directed by Muzaffar Ali and starring Rekha. The 1981 film was lavish, powerful and beautiful and is a famous musical classic. Rekha's heartfelt performance as Umrao Jaan remains till date one of the finest performances of not only her career but of Indian cinema in general. So obviously one would go on to compare the two versions, and needless to say, the 1981 film is and will always be associated with this title. This new version is not very bad. It is pleasing to the eye, it has some nice songs, great costumes, and Aishwarya Rai looks impossibly beautiful. However, the film is lacking in substance, in emotion and it lacks the power to excite.

In comparison to Rekha, Aishwarya Rai is frankly more of an amateur (and I'm not one of those who hate her). Rekha's line delivery, her non-verbal emotions, her pain, her expressive eyes being occasionally filled with tears, and above all her dance numbers which are some of the most memorable in the history of Indian films, were so soulful. Aishwarya, though stunning in looks and evidently trying to do her best, simply does not have the ability to recreate this magic. She does have her moments, but that's as far as it goes and it is hardly a good performance. Moreover, her dance numbers are overly mechanical. Anu Malik's soundtrack is good and the great Alka Yagnik sings the songs beautifully, but then again, when compared to Khayyam's unforgettable songs performed to perfection by Asha Bhosle in the original version, is nothing exceptional.

Another much talked about role in the film is that of Khanum Jaan, played by Shabana Azmi. Azmi plays a role her own mother, Shaukat Azmi, played in the original version. She seems to have a lot of fun with the minimal job her character lets her do and surprisingly does not really take her role seriously, as she rightly admitted in an interview. That's okay, even accomplished actors like Azmi are allowed to have fun, and that's what actually makes her portrayal the more so entertaining. As for Abhishek Bachchan, the less said about him, the better. Even on its own, Umrao Jaan does not hold water. It is melodramatic, uninspiring and poorly directed. Aishwarya's presence and the film's visuals cannot save it from being just another unsuccessful and forgettable attempt to remake a classic.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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