ApunKaChoice : Bollywood

HOME | SCOOP!! & NEWS | BOLLYWOOD

Umrao JaanUmrao Jaan : Movie Review
03rd Nov 2006  21.35 IST
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi  


It depends on what bent of mind you have to appreciate a movie like J.P. Dutta's Umrao Jaan . In these times of stylish, feelgood entertainers, this tragic story of a courtesan may look like a sore thumb. Yet, the lovers of good cinema will find the movie eminently watchable.

A film like 'Umrao Jaan' is not for the laity. The movie's setting (19th century Lucknow), its story, its characters and the dialogues they speak, nothing conforms to the cinematic tastes of a contemporary viewer. Yet the heart-rending tale of Umrao Jaan stands out for a sensitive viewer to empathize with. And full credit should be given to J.P. Dutta for sensible, skillful direction and to Aishwarya Rai for her emphatic performance.




Dutta's film is certainly not a replica of Muzaffar Ali's 'Umrao Jaan' (with Rekha ), made in 1981. This movie has its own unique identity, its own tone and tempo.

Based on a book by Mirza Hadi Ruswa (a teacher in mathematics, science, philosophy and Persian), the movie tells the tale of Amiran who was abducted as a child and sold into a Lucknow kotha by Dilawar, a man seeking revenge from Amiran's father.

There, at the kotha, Amiran is re-christened as Umrao by the chief courtesan Khanum Sahib ( Shabana Azmi ). Under the tutelage of Maulvi Sahib ( Kulbhushan Kharbanda ) Umrao learns the intricacies of Urdu language and poetry. She gets motherly love from Bua Hussaini (Himani Shivpuri). She finds friends in Khurshid ( Ayesha Jhulka ) and Bismillah ( Divya Dutta ). She learns dancing under the watchful eye of Khanum Sahib.

Umrao (Aishwarya Rai) grows to be a beautiful woman with a natural talent for poetry and dancing. In her very first mujra, she wins the hearts of nawabs of Lucknow, particularly Nawab Sultan ( Abhishek Bachchan ).

A pathan, Nawab Sultan falls for Umrao as she does for him. So strong and irrepressible is their love that Nawab chooses Umrao over the wealth and lineage of his rich father. And Umrao too rebels against Khanum Sahib for her love for Nawab.

But a pauper Nawab is no longer able to fill the coffers of Khanum. Enters Faiz Ali ( Sunil Shetty ), a bandit disguised as a Nawab. He offers the asked sum for Umrao Jaan. Against her wishes, Umrao is sold to the highest bidder.

'Umrao Jaan' is the story of a woman whose life is filled with one misfortune after another. She is jilted in love, she is raped, she is turned back by her own estranged brother and mother. But Umrao Jaan forgives them all and resigns to her fate.

Arguably, Aishwarya Rai has given the best performance of her career so far in this movie. She captures the nuances of her character convincingly. She credibly brings forth the longings, unfulfilled desires and pain of Umrao Jaan. Although she spends the major part of the second half weeping and crying, never does she make it look melodramatic. A commendable performance indeed.

Abhishek Bachchan is passable as the enamored Nawab with royal mannerisms. He walks with a swagger, gazes with a glint in the eye and talks with tehzeeb befitting a nawab.

Shabana Azmi is superb playing the pragmatic, unrelenting and yet soft-at-heart courtesan. Ayesha Jhulka and Divya Dutta have marginal roles, but they play their parts with dedication.

Sunil Shetty suits the role of a bandit in love with a beauty. Puru Raj Kumar does a good job as an admirer of Umrao who eventually ends up raping her.

Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Himani Shivpuri are very natural in their performances.

It must be admitted that the movie's music lets you down a bit. After listening to the timeless compositions of Khayyam in Muzaffar Ali's movie, it is perhaps a little harsh on Anu Malik to expect something similar from him. Yet, the film seems to drag everytime a song comes up.

J.P. Dutta seems to have put his heart and soul into making this period film. Meticulous attention has been given to the ambience, sets, props, costumes and other accessories that recreate the Lucknow of 19th century. Yet the lush and splendor does not overshadow the story of Umrao Jaan.

If seen without cynicism, the movie turns out to be a touching tale. Yet its fate at the box-office might meet the same tragedy as did the courtesan whose life-story the film chronicles.

Eminently watchable if you are an Ash fan.



Related
Umrao Jaan
Aishwarya Rai
Rekha
Shabana Azmi
Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Ayesha Jhulka
Divya Dutta
Abhishek Bachchan
Sunil Shetty





Now Trending : Salman Khan | Shahrukh Khan | Ranbir Kapoor | Priyanka Chopra Aishwarya Rai | Katrina Kaif | Kareena Kapoor | Priyanka Chopra | Alia Bhatt | Surveen Chawla | New Hindi Movies

Watch: Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Ali Zafar celebrate love in song 'Nakhriley'
Check out the new ‘Kill Dil’ song ‘Nakhriley’ feat Ranveer, Parineeti and Ali Zafar
Movie Review: 'Fireflies' a well-intentioned 'Indie' film
Video: SpongeBob enters human world in ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water’
Movie Review: 'Super Nani' is loud, preachy, clichéd
You can watch 'The Shaukeens' with family: Piyush Mishra
Movie Review: 'The Best Of Me' is for romantics at heart
Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone pairing up for YRF's next?
Fab or Drab: Huma Qureshi in Nachiket Barve
Movie Review: 'Roar - Tigers Of The Sunderbans' is a bore best avoided
Rishi Kapoor doing fine, discharged from hospital
Alia Bhatt to star in 'Rock On' sequel?
First Look: Amitabh Bachchan sports pot-belly for 'Piku'
We’ve had differences; taking time off: Bipasha Basu, Harman Baweja confirm
Telly tattle: How Vatsal Sheth scared living daylights out of Sanjeeda Sheikh!
Shah Rukh Khan thanks Salman Khan for promoting 'Happy New Year'

AKC HOT INDEX

ECARDS > Valentines Day, New Year, Diwali, Birthday, Valentines, Love, Christmas
CardWeaver.com > Birthday, Holi

MOVIES


celebs wallpapers the celeb A-Z
who's in Freida Pinto | Anushka Sharma | Katrina Kaif | Deepika Padukone | Ranbir Kapoor | Dev Patel | Aishwarya Rai | Abhishek Bachchan | Imran Khan | Shahrukh Khan | Salman Khan | Aamir Khan | Hrithik Roshan | Akshay Kumar | Zayed Khan | Saif Ali Khan | John Abraham | Shahid Kapur | Kareena Kapoor | Vidya Balan | Priyanka Chopra | Rani Mukherjee | Mallika Sherawat | Bipasha Basu | Preity Zinta | Kajol | Neha Dhupia | Sameera Reddy | Juhi Chawla | Karisma Kapoor | Madhuri Dixit | Chitrangada Singh | Payal Rohatgi | Sneha Ullal | Mahima Chaudhary | Meghna Naidu | Rakhi Sawant | Bhumika Chawla | Lisa Ray | Dimple Kapadia | Ayesha Takia | Dia Mirza | Sushmita Sen | Amisha Patel | Esha Deol | Amrita Rao | Amrita Arora | Genelia D'Souza | Arjun Rampal | Amitabh Bachchan | Vivek Oberoi | Raima Sen | Riya Sen | Rekha | Rimi Sen | Nigar Khan | Tanushree Dutta | Yana Gupta | Shilpa Shetty | Celina Jaitley | Sonam Kapoor | Neha Oberoi | Nisha Rawal | Manjari Fadnis | Kamal Haasan | Rajnikant | Asin | Sanjay Dutt | Shahid Kapoor | Sherlyn Chopra | Farhan Akhtar | Prachi Desai | Mandira Bedi | Shahana Goswami | Konkona Sen Sharma | Kangana Ranaut | Mugdha Godse | Masumeh Makhija | Minissha Lamba | Nandana Sen | Malaika Arora | Shweta Kumar | Namitha | Kalki Koechlin | Mahi Gill | Shakeela | Lara Dutta | A R Rahman | Trisha | Shruti Haasan | Neetu Chandra | Shriya Saran | Padma Lakshmi | Emma Watson | Kelly Clarkson | Britney Spears | Anne Hathaway | Anjana Sukhani | Tila Tequila | Soha Ali Khan | Priyamani | Sonal Chauhan | Vaishali Desai | Jackky Bhagnani | Kristen Stewart | Robert Pattinson | Neil Nitin Mukesh | Shiney Ahuja | more...