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Laaga Chunari Mein Daag: Journey of a Woman (2007)

5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,503 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 13 critic

A woman sacrifices her own happiness and reputation to financially support her family by working as a call girl.

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Title: Laaga Chunari Mein Daag: Journey of a Woman (2007)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Rohan Varma
...
Vibhavari Sahay (as Rani Mukherji)
Konkona Sen Sharma ...
Subhavari Sahay
...
Savitri
...
Vivaan Varma
...
Shivshankar Sahay
...
Dulariya
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bharati Achrekar ...
Sahay's neighbor
Tinnu Anand ...
Rajshankar 'Rajjo' Sahay
Harsh Chhaya
Nishikant Dixit ...
Businessman
Ninad Kamat
Kamini Kaushal ...
Mrs. Verma
Ameya Pandya
Sachin Parekh ...
Cameo
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Storyline

Based in Varanasi, Shivshankar Sahay lives a poor lifestyle along with his wife, Savitri, and two daughters, Vibhavari and Subhavari. The family struggles and at times is even unable to pay the electricity charges. They attempt in vain to rent their heritage yet dilapidated home to a filmmaker. When Shivshankar's elder brother, Rajshankar, files a petition a court to take over the house, he has a stroke and is hospitalized. Vibhavari tells the family that she has managed to obtain a job in Mumbai and re-locates. She then regularly sends money and is not only able to improve their lifestyle but also has Subhavari obtain a Masters Degree. Subhavari completes her education and also re-locates to Mumbai, where she is reunited with her sister. Subhavari then meets with Vivaan and both fall in love with other. Vibhavari gets to meet Vivaan and approves of him, while Subhavari is introduced to Vivaan's grandmother. A marriage is then planned in Varanasi, and it is only at the 11th hour that ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

12 October 2007 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Der Weg einer Frau  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£246,442 (UK) (12 October 2007)

Gross:

$651,835 (USA) (26 October 2007)
 »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Connections

References Chakde! India (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Hum To Aise Hain Bhaiyan
Written by Swanand Kirkire
Composed by Shantanu Moitra
Performed by Sunidhi Chauhan, Swanand Kirkire, Pranab Biswas and Shreya Ghoshal
Courtesy of Yash Raj Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Banaras, Bombay, and strong women characters
19 October 2007 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

As anyone who has seen a trailer for this movie knows, Rani Mukherjee is a girl from a fine Banaras family on the economic downslide, who goes to Bombay intending to make money to help them out and finds herself in business as a high-class professional escort.

When her younger sister, Konkona Sen Sharma, comes to Bombay to take up her own job in an ad agency, we see the two of them in a tonga on Marine Drive, the Queen's Necklace fulfilling its promise to swirl the city in glamor. When some ladies of the night pass by the carriage, Konkona makes an unthinking provincial girl's harsh comment, and her sister rebukes her sharply for her lack of compassion.

In this passage of perfect dialogue, you have the main tension driving the story, and one of its many moments of good acting between well-drawn women characters. What is going to happen if the younger sister finds out what her big sister has done in order to secure her own future? Will Rani's sacrifice separate her forever from her sister's love and respect, and from a chance at acceptance in romance and marriage?

I gather this is a Hindi movie theme known to the Indian audience. LCMD is far from perfect -- there's a mixing of story types going on probably, the old-style melodrama and something more modern and psychological -- but the good things about it make it more than worth seeing. There are four striking women characters (Jaya as mother, and Hema Malini in a special appearance that blesses the whole movie, including a dance that should have been much longer) who all seem relatively "real" in relation to Hindi movie women. They relate to each other in a decent, normal way (in small roles we have a less-nice girl and also a friend in Bombay as well).

Another good thing: the parents are less than respect-worthy without being "bad" Hindi movie parents -- father clearly is an upper-class slacker who'd rather develop "symptoms" than get a job, rent out a room, sell the property and live within his means; and mother is interestingly ambivalent about what her daughter is doing in order to be sending home the cash.

The cinematography of Banares and Bombay is worth the trip to the theaters, and the clothes are worth taking notes on, both the subtle and stunning cotton traditional clothes of the family in Banaras and Rani's high-style nicely top-of-the-city wardrobe. You might be reminded of India as the home of the most wonderful textiles on the planet.

If the story is still Bollywoodized and Bollywood-y (how did a villain know the thing he knows? why don't we see a bit more of Rani's "work life"? why do we need a song that is actually set in Switzerland -- though maybe that's ironic/postmodern?), it nonetheless is a rich enough, fresh enough, and engaging enough experience, with great performances.

As it really is about its women, the men are fine but you wouldn't focus on them in thinking about the movie. If you see the movie, you may find it raises good questions -- it it progressive? regressive? what do we mean by these things? -- worth talking and thinking about.


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