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Rudaali is a 1993 Indian Hindi film directed by Kalpana Lajmi, based on the short story written by famous Bengali litterateur Mahasweta Devi The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 66th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee

The film is set in a small village in Rajasthan, India It tells the story of a woman named Shanichari, who was abandoned by her mother shortly after her father's death Bad fortune follows her throughout her life


  • 1 Cultural background
  • 2 Plot
  • 3 Cast
  • 4 Awards and honors
  • 5 Soundtrack
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Cultural background

The title is a reference to a custom in certain areas of Rajasthan where women of a lower caste are hired as professional mourners upon the death of upper-caste males These women are referred to as a "rudaali" roo-dah-lee, literally translated as "female weeper" or "weeping woman" Their job is to publicly express grief of family members who are not permitted to display emotion due to social status


As the narrative begins, the dying zamindar/ Thakur translation: landlord Amjad Khan of the desert village of Barna has been shifted from his mansion to an outbuilding and is performing the rite of godaan or gifting a cow to a brahman Anticipating his imminent death, and realizing that none of his close relatives are likely to mourn him, he summons a rudaali named Bhikni Rakhee from a nearby town While waiting for her client to die, Bhikni temporarily lodges in the modest home of Shanichari Dimple Kapadia, a widow whose life has been plagued by misfortune Born on a Saturday a bad-luck day ruled by the malefic planet Shanichar or Saturn, the ill-omened girl child was blamed by villagers for the untimely death of her father, and then for her own abandonment by her mother, Peewli, who ran off to join a nautanki folk theatre troupe The tale of Shanichari’s life, told to the sympathetic Bhikni, unfolds in a series of flashbacks

Shanichari’s early marriage to a drunkard named Ganju ends abruptly when her husband succumbs to an outbreak of plague at a village fair She is left with a son, Budhua played as an adult by Raghuveer Yadav, whom she adores, though she realizes that he has inherited her mother’s penchant for irresponsible wandering Her poverty is relieved somewhat by employment at the zamindar’s haveli mansion after the master’s son, Lakshman Singh Raj Babbar takes a fancy to her She attends on his spoiled but strictly secluded wife, and periodically converses with her benefactor, who lectures her on social equality and urges her to “look up” into his eyes when speaking to him This romance leads to the master’s gift to Shanichari, one night after a singing performance, of her own house and two acres of land—a gesture that offers her a modicum of financial security within the village

One day, Budhua brings home a pregnant young prostitute, Mungri Sushmita Mukherjee as his wife Their marriage is brief, as the quarrelsome Mungri aborts their child, Shanichari’s hoped-for grandson Budhua then runs away from home

Shanichari’s painful reminiscences of these trials—throughout which, she says, she has never been able to shed a tear—alternate with scenes in the present, depicting her growing bond with Bhikni

On the very night of the old zamindar’s long-awaited death, Bhikni is called over to meet Bhimdata from the neighbouring village As Shanichari bids adieu to Lakshman Singh, who plans to leave the village after his father's death, a messenger comes from Bhimdata The messenger tells her of Bhikni's untimely death due to the plague, and of how in her dying breath she had asked Shanichari to be informed of how she was actually Peewli, her mother This unleashes Shanichari’s pent-up emotions and transforms her, too, into a rudaali


  • Dimple Kapadia as Shanichari
  • Amjad Khan as Ram Avtar, the zamindaar
  • Raj Babbar as Lakshman Singh, Ram Avtar's son
  • Rakhee as Bhikni, a rudaali
  • Raghuveer Yadav as an adult Budhua
  • Sushmita Mukherjee as Mungri, Budhua's wife
  • Mita Vashisht
  • Manohar Singh
  • Minaaz

Awards and honors

Dimple Kapadia won a National Film Award for her role of Shanichari in the film Khan died before the film's release, and the film is dedicated to him in the beginning credits Samir Chanda won National Film Award for Best Art Direction Simple Kapadia won the National Film Award for Best Costume Design


The film has music by folk musician Bhupen Hazarika

All lyrics written by Gulzar; all music composed by Bhupen Hazarika

No Title Artists Length
1 "Dil Hoom Hoom Kare Part-1" Raga: Bhoopali Lata Mangeshkar  
2 "Dil Hoom Hoom Kare Part-2" Raga: Bhoopali Bhupen Hazarika  
3 "Jhuti Mooti Mitwa" Raga: Vrindavani Sarang Lata Mangeshkar  
4 "Samay O Dhire Chalo Part-1" Raga: Bhimpalasi Asha Bhosle  
5 "Samay O Dhire Chalo Part-2" Raga: Bhimpalasi Bhupen Hazarika  
6 "Moula O Moula" Bhupen Hazarika  
7 "Samay O Dhire Chalo Part-3" Raga: Bhimpalasi Lata Mangeshkar  

See also

  • List of submissions to the 66th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
  • List of Indian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film


  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ Frook, John Evan 30 November 1993 "Acad inks Cates, unveils foreign-language entries" Variety Retrieved 25 August 2008 
  3. ^ "Rudaali" University of Iowa Retrieved 2014-09-01 
  4. ^ Rudaali Production Details | Box Office - Yahoo! Movies

External links

  • Rudaali on IMDb

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