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Umrao Jaan (1981)

In Faizabad, British India, Dilawar is sentenced to several years in prison after Amiran's Daroga dad testifies against him. After his discharge around 1840, he extracts his vengeance by ... See full summary »


Muzaffar Ali


Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa (novel) (as Mirza Hadi Ruswa), Shama Zaidi (screenplay and dialogue) | 2 more credits »

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Rekha ... Amiran
Farooq Shaikh ... Nawab Sultan (as Farouque Shaikh)
Naseeruddin Shah ... Gohar Mirza
Raj Babbar ... Faiz Ali
Shaukat Azmi Shaukat Azmi ... Khanum Jaan (as Shaukat Kaifi)
Ishtiaque Khan Ghilzai Ishtiaque Khan Ghilzai ... (as Khan Ghilzai)
Prema Narayan ... Bismillah
Akbar Rashid Akbar Rashid
Gajanan Jagirdar Gajanan Jagirdar ... Maulvi
Dina Pathak ... Husseini
Rita Rani Kaul Rita Rani Kaul ... Ramdei
Shaheen Sultan Shaheen Sultan
Umme Farwa Umme Farwa ... Young Amiran
Seema Sathyu Seema Sathyu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Farrukh Jaffar Farrukh Jaffar ... Played Umrao Jaan's biological mother


In Faizabad, British India, Dilawar is sentenced to several years in prison after Amiran's Daroga dad testifies against him. After his discharge around 1840, he extracts his vengeance by abducting Amiran and selling to a brothel madam. It is here Amiran will be re-named Umrao Jaan. Years later, Umrao has grown up and is an accomplished poetess as well as dancer extraordinary. She has many patrons, chief amongst them are Nawab Sultan and his father. The young Nawab is smitten by Umrao's beauty and her poems, but is finally forced to marry a girl of his mother's choice, leaving behind a heart-broken and devastated Umrao, who seeks solace in the arms of Faiz Ali and finally elopes with him, only to find out that he is a wanted bandit, and is shot down and killed by guards. Umrao re-locates to Kanpur where she establishes herself as a Poet and dancer, but is hunted down by brothel-keepers, Gohar Mirza and Husseini and brought back, where she is told that she must marry Gohar. Watch what ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Musical







Release Date:

21 June 2005 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

Umrao Jaan, a kurtizán See more »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Rekha wore her own costumes and jewelry for the movie due to budget constraints. The success of Khubsoorat and Umrao Jaan established Rekha, with whom Amitabh had stopped signing movies, as the top heroine of the first half of 1980s. The mantle would be later taken over by Sridevi, in 1986. See more »


Referenced in Chameli (2003) See more »


Dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan leejiye
Lyrics by Shahryar
Music by Khayyam
Sung by Asha Bhosle
See more »

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User Reviews

Muzaffar Ali introduces her on screen but Rekha immortalizes her
26 June 2007 | by ChrysanthepopSee all my reviews

Though 'Umrao Jaan' has been re-brought to screen just last year. Muzaffar Ali's adaptation of Mirza Hadi Ruswa's novel remains the most memorable. Ali does not exaggerate with lavish set designs and his adaptation is of a rather lower budget. He gracefully shows us Umrao mastering the art of poetry and dance. The songs are beautiful and poetry is itself a character in Umrao's life, like a traveling companion. In some of the songs we are shown flashes of old elegant paintings, old fashioned settings and what Lucknow may have looked like. takes us back in time to what the late 1800s may have resembled.

The performances are subtle except of Khanum Jaan's character. Muzaffar really Farooq Sheikh is brilliant as the young naïve prince and Nasseeruddin Shah is superb as Gohar Mirza. Shaukat Kaifi and Dina Pathak are adequate. Prema Narayan is decent.

However, Umrao Jaan clearly belongs to Rekha. With subtlety and grace she underplays her part. There is no melodrama or unnecessary loudness and this allows us to really feel for Umrao. We see that Ramdei, who was kidnapped like her but sold to slavery, has now become a happy wife of a Nawab. We see her friend and fellow dancer Bismillah finding happiness in her life. Finally we see Umrao moving along the path of life: trying to forget the past, trying to find happiness and love or trying to escape from it all. She manages to independently make a living reciting poetry, ghazals and dancing but though people yearn to hear her sing and watch her dance, they refuse to give her the respect of a 'decent' woman. As we see Umrao travelling through life trying to find her own place, in the end she returns to that very place (now abandoned) picking up from where she left as she has no place else to go. She looks in the mirror that reflects her destiny

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