One of Rekha’s best on screen performances is Umrao Jaan, a story of a courtesan, poetess of the 19th century.

The movie is based on a novel of the same name. The novel written by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. Mirza tells the story of the real Umrao Jaan who lived in Faizabad and she recounts her life. She was a courtesan and a poet.

Umrao Jaan, the movie, is the story of a innocent child who is kidnapped for revenge and trained in classical music and dance to become a courtesan in Lucknow. Umrao becomes a famed courtesan whose poetry in Urdu gained a lot of fame. Umrao falls in love twice but her love is destined to be a failure, due to the skewed morals of the society. She first falls for a Nawab, who first promises to marry her but abandons her to please his family and its honour. Then she falls in love with a daredevil bandit, but he gets arrested by the police. She is later reunited with her family. Though her mother is delighted to get her back, her other family members think that she is a disgrace to the society and Umrao is drawn back to being a courtesan.

I saw this one on DD (the good old Doordarshan, with its Sunday 5.30 pm slot has been the main reason why I have seen so many movies 😀 ). The first time I saw the movie, I was moved by the fact that an innocent young child being kidnapped and sold. The fact that her family think that her being kidnapped and becoming a prostitute is her fault made me sort of angry. But at that age, I did not know what I was angry for. Now I think it was directed at the society at large which is patriarchal and the status of women has not undergone much change from the times of Umrao Jaan till date.

Rekha’s portrayal of the vulnerable woman is accentuated by the music score by Khayyam and exquisitely sung by Asha Bhonsle. All three of them won the National Awards for their work that year. Some of the songs are memorable till date. Some of them are:

  1. Dil cheez kya hai
  2. In Ankhon ki masti ke
  3. Justju jiski thi
  4. Yeh kya jagah hai doston

Catch this old one for Rehka’s work and for the music.


The A2Z challenge 2019 is going to be all the movies that have left an impact on me someway or the other. Some have made me think. Some that I like a lot, some that I really hated. But all of them have left a memory behind which makes the movie more special than the rest. They may not be all classics or iconic but they are close to my heart.

A is for Andhadhun. B is for Bazaar. C is for Conan, the Barbarian. D is for Dushman. E is for Enter the Dragon. F is for Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them.G is for Galimathu.H is for Hidden Figures. I is for Ishq.J is for Jaane bhi do yaaron.K is for Kshana Kshanam.L is for La La Land.M is for Mirch Masala. N is for Newton.O is for Once More. P is for Preminchukundam Ra.Q is for Qurbani. R is for Roja.S is for Saudagar.T is for Terminator 2- Judgment Day.

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