Down 4,320 this week

Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 275 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 31 critic

Umber Singh is a Sikh who loses everything during the separation of India in 1947 and is forced to leave his homeland. He obsessively wishes for a male heir. When his fourth daughter is born, he decides to wage a fight against destiny.


0Check in

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 304 titles
created 01 May 2012
a list of 1980 titles
created 13 Oct 2012
a list of 368 titles
created 03 Jun 2013
a list of 376 titles
created 7 months ago
list image
a list of 31 titles
created 2 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost.
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Anup Singh
Stars: Shiboprosad Mukherjee, Shami Kaiser, Supriya Choudhury
Rahasya (2015)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Only child of a doctor couple is murdered in her sleep inside their large duplex apartment.

Director: Manish Gupta
Stars: Tisca Chopra, Farida Dadi, Ramesh Deo
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The Film tells the story about You-lim whose only daughter Eun-ah commits suicide after a rape by a group of male students. Because all of the suspects are minors, they can leave without ... See full summary »

Director: Yong-han Kim
Stars: Hyun-Sang Kwon, Bo-ra Nam, Yoo Oh-Seong
Ugly (2013)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A terrible tale of corruption, indifference, and systemic violence starts when 10 year old daughter of an aspiring actor disappears.

Director: Anurag Kashyap
Stars: Rahul Bhat, Aliya Bhatt, Surveen Chawla
The Xpose (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

This is a dramatic chain of events in the most glamorous ,swinging era of Hindi films... the 1960s. It was a decade when film stars tasted success and carried their larger than life screen ... See full summary »

Director: Anant Mahadevan
Stars: Himesh Reshammiya, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Irrfan Khan
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A marriage is arranged between a slim guy and an over-weight girl.

Director: Sharat Katariya
Stars: Ayushmann Khurrana, Sanjay Mishra, Kumar Sanu
Badlapur (2015)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After his family is killed during a bank robbery, a man tries to avenge their death.

Director: Sriram Raghavan
Stars: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Varun Dhawan, Radhika Apte
Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Home Minister Janardhan Jagirdarand chief Minister Anna Saheb are much concerned over the criminal activities of underworld dons Rawal and Rauf Lala. Rawal is operating from Bangkok while ... See full summary »

Director: Ejaz Gulab
Stars: Mohan Agashe, Bobby Bedi, Vikram Gokhale
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A poor road worker sets off a chain of events that bring karmic balance to seven very troubled strangers. KARMAYA simplifies the complexities of the karmic mechanisms that bind present ... See full summary »

Director: Venod Mitra
Stars: Arjun Rampal, Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A Delhi boy meets a Mumbai girl who has came to Delhi to meet a boy for Marriage. Her mobile, Address of the boy, all went lost. And boy help that girl due to circumstances, because they ... See full summary »

Director: Satish Rajwade
Stars: Shiv Pandit, Piaa Bajpai
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Amit sahani is an investment banker, single and ready to mingle. Mala is a free spirit who takes life as it comes. When Amit meets Mala sparks fly even though Mala is against all odds not ... See full summary »

Director: Ajay Bhuyan
Stars: Ntasha Bhardwaj, Vir Das, Anindita Nayar
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man is stabbed to death in Tokyo's Nihonbashi area. The victim staggers with the knife still in the wound for eight minutes before collapsing under the winged statues of two Kirin on the ... See full summary »

Director: Nobuhiro Doi
Stars: Hiroshi Abe, Yui Aragaki, Junpei Mizobata


Cast overview, first billed only:
Umber Singh
Rasika Dugal ...
Danish Akhtar ...
Young Kanwar
Sonia Bindra ...
Faezeh Jalali ...
Dhami ...
Village Elder
Jitendra Kaur ...
Sukhwinder Virk ...
Sarabjit ...
Infant Sohni
Bhavya ...
Little Kulbir
Riyaz Aulakh ...
Little Baali
Nakul Arora ...
Boy On the Hill
Sejal ...
Young Baali


During the 1947 partition of India, Umber Singh and his family are forced to leave their village. After two girl children, his wife gives birth to a third girl child as they flee their village much to the displeasure of Umber Singh. After moving to a new place, Umber stabilizes and his wife is pregnant again. While the fourth child is also born as a female, Umber convinces himself and his wife to raise the girl child as a son throwing up complications aplenty. Written by PipingHotViews

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy



Official Sites:


| | |


Release Date:

10 July 2014 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Qissa: The Ghost is a Lonely Traveller  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


The script was written in late 90's keeping Balraj sahni in mind as the lead character See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Folk, fact or fiction? Storytelling. Not as you know it.
22 July 2014 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Part fairytale, part fantasy, part folklore; Qissa weaves together historical ties, family bonds, issues of identity, belonging and the supernatural, to create a film that takes you on a journey that's unlike any cinematic adventure you've embarked on before.

Set in the Punjab and beginning at the start of Independence in 1947, the film is a metaphor for many of the experiences that Indians and Pakistani's faced during this bleak period, but rather than presenting the situation from a political perspective, it focuses on the tale of one family and the deep, dark secret that haunts them.

The moment she is born Kanwar's father declares her to be a boy, bringing her up as his son. With such a lie there comes burden and over the years we see Kanwar develop and grow, trying to come to terms with his/her alternate gender while the father figure (played by Irrfan Khan) deals with the weight of his actions.

From the moment Qissa begins, through to its conclusion, every part of your senses are engaged. Visually the production is stunning. The landscape of the Punjab is depicted as beautiful yet barren. The washed out colourisation adds an ethereal feel, giving the film its fairytale quality. The haunting soundtrack is the soul of the movie, melodic yet mystical, it alludes to the unearthly feelings that engulf each character. Emotionally this films entwines you physically and mentally

  • there's an urgency to reach out onto the screen and put your arms

around Kanwar, knowing there is no one she can turn to, and morally it questions your beliefs about what is acceptable when it comes to upholding family values.

To pick out an actor and praise them for their performance would make the others seem insignificant when in truth, every member of this ensemble cast is worthy of a mention. It's not as easy as saying 'the best performance of Irrfan's career' or 'Tillotama Shome masterfully plays a boy and a girl': these are actors who are defining the boundaries of acting itself, presenting to what is largely a conservative audience in Indian, new possibilities.

The casting of Irrfan Khan, a Muslim actor who does not speak Punjabi into such a robust Sikh character while Tillotama who plays Kanwar is herself Bengali, again taking on a language that was unfamiliar to her, gives this film an additional layer of intelligence. The language used in the film alters in dialect to reflect different time periods, which itself brings another dimension to contemporary Punjabi filmmaking.

One of the highlights of Qissa is the tender depiction of friendship and love between Kanwar and Neeli, the girl that he marries. The portrayal of the warmth, respect and desires the two women have for each other is both honest and sensitive.

The folklore element of the movie is at times hard to spot because it feels so natural. Even though the subheading to the film is 'The Tale Of A Lonely Ghost', when you are watching it you don't always recognise the spectres and shadows that accompany each character. Dealing with the supernatural may seem far-fetched, yet because it's done so in context, at no point do you question the authenticity; it is engrained in the script.

12 years in the making, Anup Singh's courageous production Qissa is part funded by Indian, German, French and Dutch investors and as a result it contains the essential ingredients that will make this a crossover success for Western and non-Western audiences. Pushing the boundaries of Indian and Punjabi pictures, it's an example of cinema that has the power to define modern filmmaking.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: