Saturday, January 20, 2007


Recereating classics seems to be the latest fad in Bollywood. Following the success of “Devdas”, most production houses are recreating old success stories. The recent “Don”, “Shiva”, and the upcoming “Sholay” are classic examples.
Based on Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa’s novel, the film is a tale of Umrao Jaan Ada, a royal courtesan in 19th century Lucknow. Kidnapped and sold at a tender age from a lower class family, Ameeran (Aishwarya Rai), is rechristened as Umrao by the brothel owner Shabana Azmi (Khanum Jaan). Therein begins Umrao’s journey into the magnificient world of elegance and flair, where her job is to entertain regal clients with her dance and poetic skills.
Comparisons to the original adaptation of “Umrao Jaan” starring Rekha are obvious, but this version holds it own and is not a frame-by-frame remake.
However the film does have its share of flaws. J.P. Dutta goes completely overboard with the development of his subplots. Nothing is left to imagination. He has paid a great level of attention to the intricacies of the film, and most of the running time is spent elaborating on those aspects. We have seen films of this grandeur in the past, with “Devdas” taking the lead, and “Umrao Jaan” offers little more.


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