|Directed by||Rajkumar Santoshi|
|Produced by||Rajkumar Santoshi|
|Written by||Ranjit Kapoor|
Rajkumar Santoshi (Dialogues)
|Screenplay by||Ashok Rawat,|
|Story by||Rajkumar Santoshi|
|Narrated by||Bharat Shah|
Anu Malik (6 songs)
Ilaiyaraaja (1 song)
|Edited by||V. N. Mayekar|
|Distributed by||Santoshi Productions|
|31 August 2001|
|Budget||₹22 crore (US$3.1 million)|
|Box office||₹28 crore (US$3.9 million)|
Lajja (transl. Shame) is a 2001 Indian Hindi-language drama film produced and directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. Based on the plight of women and feminism in India, the film satirizes the honor with which women are placed in society and the restrictions on them. The fact that the four women's names (Maithili, Janki, Ramdulaari, and Vaidehi) are all versions of Sita, the ideal Hindu woman's name, is a message in itself.
The film features Manisha Koirala in the lead role as Vaidehi, the mistreated woman, while an ensemble cast of Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Mahima Chaudhry, Johnny Lever, Madhuri Dixit, Rekha, Ajay Devgn, Suresh Oberoi, Sharman Joshi, Danny Dengzongpa, Razak Khan, Gulshan Grover and Aarti Chhabria appear in supporting roles. The film failed commercially in India but was a major commercial success in the overseas.
At the 47th Filmfare Awards, the film was nominated for 3 awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Devgn, and Best Supporting Actress for Rekha and Dixit. The latter also received a nomination for the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female and eventually won it.
Vaidehi is married to the wealthy Raghu. On the outside, she lives a sophisticated life, but behind closed doors, her husband is abusive and has extramarital affairs. When Vaidehi takes a stand for herself, she is banished from the household. She returns to her parents' house, but they too reject her since their daughter running away from her husband taints their family's reputation. Vaidehi soon finds out that she is pregnant.
Raghu gets into a car accident, leaving him impotent. When he discovers that Vaidehi is pregnant, he calls her, faking remorse, and asks for her to return. Vaidehi agrees, thinking Raghu has mended his ways. In reality, Raghu and his father are plotting for the child to become their heir, and if Vaidehi intervenes, she will be killed. A friend informs Vaidehi of Raghu's true intentions and she escapes from his henchmen. She is helped by Raju, a petty but kindhearted thief. He hears Vaidehi's story and gives her money from a recent heist to help. To hide from Raghu and his henchmen, Vaidehi and Raju gatecrash a wedding procession.
At the wedding, Vaidehi meets Maithili, the bride-to-be, who is from a middle-class family and marrying a man hailing from a rich background. The two women witness the groom's father harassing Maithili's father with demands for an opulent wedding which he cannot afford and forcing him to pay dowry, with his reputation in society being ruined if he fails. Vaidehi tries to convince Raju to give Maithili's father his money from the heist. He initially refuses and is soon forced to escape from the wedding because somebody has recognized him as a gatecrasher. However, changing his mind, he soon returns to give his heist money to Vaidehi. The groom's friend attempts to rape Maithili but is stopped. As the wedding ceremony progresses, one of the guests recognizes the heist money which Raju had stolen from him. Moreover, the groom's friend tells the groom's family that he spotted a man (Raju) in Maithili's room. Maithili is accused of having sexual relations with Raju in return for money, which leads Raju to publicly acknowledge his theft. Having tolerated enough, Maithili insults the groom's family, and they flee from the wedding.
Meanwhile, Raghu finds Vaidehi and forces her into going home with him. On the way, they encounter a protest mob. Raghu gets out of the car to investigate, giving Vaidehi the chance to escape. She arrives in the small town of Haripur, where she meets Janki, a theatre actress in love with her colleague. Janki is pregnant, but not married, and does not care for society's norms. The theatre director, Puroshottam, an older man, lusts after Janki, but keeps his wife, Lata, confined to their house. Puroshottam badmouths Janki to her lover, creating a rift between them. Janki's lover asks her to abort the child, as he suspects that he might not be the real father, indirectly accusing Janki of having sexual relations with Purshottam. Janki is outraged and intentionally botches a scene during a performance of the Ramayan. The angered audience assaults Janki, causing her to suffer a miscarriage. Vaidehi confronts Puroshottam, who threatens to call her husband. However, Lata intervenes and puts her on a train at the train station.
Vaidehi's train is robbed by bandits but the passengers are saved by Bhulwa, a local dacoit. Vaidehi faints at the sight of blood, and Bhulwa takes her to the local midwife, Ramdulaari. Ramdulaari bravely opposes the village leaders Virendra and Gajendra who exploit innocent women, young and old. When Ramdulaari's educated son Prakash, who is trying to educate the villagers about what Virendra and Gajendra are doing, falls in love with Gajendra's daughter Sushma, tensions escalate. Gajendra locks Ramdulaari in her house and sets out to find Prakash. When Prakash runs away with Sushma, Virendra, and Gajendra, along with their goons, rape Ramdulaari and burn her alive. In a fit of rage, Bhulwa and his army kill Virendra and his goons. Vaidehi escapes with Sushma and Prakash.
Gajendra is attempting to enter politics, so when he is applauded by the local authorities, Vaidehi intervenes and exposes Gajendra as a rapist and fraud. She delivers a heart-wrenching speech how women are only treated as burdens to be married off by their families or ways to get dowry and male heirs from their in-laws. This drives all the women in the audience to assault Gajendra, who is later killed by Bhulwa. The speech changes Raghu's attitude towards Vaidehi and he becomes a better person. The two return to New York City as a proper married couple. Vaidehi gives birth to a daughter, who is named Ramdulaari. She reunites Raju, who is now a taxi driver and married to Maithili. Vaidehi invites him to a charity dance show with Janki in the main role, wherein all the money from her shows goes to fund women's organizations in India.
- Rekha as Ramdulaari
- Madhuri Dixit as Janki
- Anil Kapoor as Raju
- Manisha Koirala as Vaidehi
- Ajay Devgn as Bhulwa
- Mahima Chaudhry as Maithili
- Jackie Shroff as Raghuveer, aka Raghu
- Danny Denzongpa as Gajendra
- Gulshan Grover as Virender
- Nasirr Khan as Gullu
- Aarti Chhabria as Sushma, Gajendra's daughter
- Sharman Joshi as Prakash, Ramdulaari's son
- Beena Banerjee as Vaidehi's mother
- Suresh Oberoi as Raghuveer's father
- Johnny Lever as Fakhruddin, Raghuveer's stooge
- Razak Khan as Francis, Raghuveer's stooge
- Anjan Srivastav as Nekchand, Maithili's father
- Farida Jalal as Saroj, Maithili's mother
- Tinu Anand as Purshottam
- Jaya Bhattacharya as Lata
- Asrani as Gulab Chand
- Dina Pathak as Maithili's Bua
- Govind Namdeo as Hazarilal
- Jagdeep as Bansidhar Chakkiwala (cameo)
- Ritu Shivpuri as Anita
- Rohini Hattangadi as Mrs. Hazarilal
- Viju Khote as Mama,Brother In law of Hazarilal
- Ghanashyam Nayak as Tiku , Prompter at Puroshottam Drama Company
- Suhas Bhalekar as member of Puroshottam Drama Company
- Samir Soni as Manish
- Subrat Dutta
- Sonali Bendre as Special Appearance in song "Mujhe Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana Hai"
- Urmila Matondkar as Special Appearance in song "Aahiye Aajaiye"
The songs were mainly composed by Anu Malik. A. R. Rahman was initially signed in as the composer; but then he opted out; after he got extremely busy with his international assignment, Bombay Dreams. Then, the background score for the movie was done by Illayaraja. Lyrics of all songs were also written by Sameer, except those of "Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar", which were written by Prasoon Joshi. This song was also composed by Illayaraja and was sung by Lata Mangeshkar. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 13,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's fifteenth highest-selling.
|1.||"Aaye Aajaye Aa Hi Jaiye"||Sameer||Anu Malik||Anuradha Sriram|
|2.||"Badi Mushkil"||Sameer||Anu Malik||Alka Yagnik|
|3.||"Jiyo Jiyo"||Sameer||Anu Malik||K.K.|
|4.||"Kaliyug Ki Sita"||Sameer||Anu Malik||Anuradha Paudwal|
|5.||"Kaliyug Ki Sita" (II)||Sameer||Anu Malik||Shubha Mudgal|
|6.||"Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar"||Prasoon Joshi||Ilaiyaraaja||Lata Mangeshkar|
|7.||"Saajan Ke Ghar Jana Hai"||Sameer||Anu Malik||Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Richa Sharma|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result|
|2002||Filmfare Awards||Ajay Devgn||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|Rekha||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Zee Cine Awards||Madhuri Dixit||Best Supporting Actress||Won|
Bollywood Hungama gave a rating of two and half out of five stars and said "On the whole, Lajja is a purposeful film within commercial parameters and the best part is that the Indian masses will be able to identify with the goings-on. An enviable star cast, a talented director and an excellent second half are amongst its strong points." The Hindu stated "Unfortunately, this colourful film is a black-and-white disappointment, particularly in the second half when Santoshi loses track of his story and in a blatant bid to get the tax-free certificate brings in bits about computer education, female literacy and infanticide.". The BBC gave a positive review saying "The film is well directed, excellent songs, although they should have had more realistic fights." ref>
Lajja failed commercially at the box office in India due to high budget and distribution price. However it tasted success overseas. It ranked 14th on the British box-office chart, according to the International Movie Database.
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- Bariana, Sanjeev Singh (2 September 2001). "Rekha, Madhuri, Manisha all the way". The Tribune. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
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