Top 100 Bollywood Movies Of All Time: No.48 - "Umrao Jaan" Fills Us With Nostalgia

Leela Adwani |Jul 03, 2019

The one perfectly represents for the genre of tragedies is none other than "Umrao Jaan" (1981) which made it to Top 100 Bollywood Movies of All Time.

Bollywood is not just about thriller or comedy dramas, but tragedies. The fact is that it is also an indispensable part of any film chart. The one perfectly represents for this genre is none other than Umrao Jaan (1981) which made it to Top 100 Bollywood Movies of All Time.

Umrao Jaan
Umrao Jaan (1981) 

Scoring 48th in the list, the 80s film deserves to be added into the list of must-watch film any everyone. To fill you with nostalgia, today we bring some interesting facts about the film.

Based on the 1905 novel

Top 100 Bollywood Movies Of All Time Umrao Jaan
The film poster

The Indian art film was made in the early of 1980s and helmed by Muzaffar Ali. The film features Bollywood veteran actress Rekha in the lead role where she portraits an eponymous character. Umrao Jaan was the film adaptation of Umrao Jaan Ada novel (1905). The movie is about the story of a Lucknow courtesan and her journey to stardom.


In 1840, a girl whose name Amiran is abducted from her parents in Faizabad and then sold to Khanum Jaan who is a whorehouse’s madam teaching young courtesans. Amiran is then renamed Umrao Jaan and becomes a cultured woman who is trained to enthrall wealthy men. Umrao draws the attention of a man named Nawab Sultan and they fall in love with each other. However, this relationship soon comes to an end as Nawab has to get married to another woman to please his family.

Umrao Jaan 1981
Top 100 Bollywood Movies of All Time

She then moves on and become infatuated with Faiz Ali. They decided to elope with each other, but Umrao is forced to back to Lucknow post the death of Ali. Later, Lucknow is attacked by the British army and the residents are forced to flee. She and other refugees stop in a small village. After that, the miserable woman reunites with her family who thought she was dead. Her mother is very happy with her return, though her brother doesn’t. Umrao then takes a plunge to return to Lucknow in order to find the bordello deserted and looted.


The Top 100 Bollywood Movies of All Time lister created a buzz among the audiences at that time. Rekha was also all praised for her impeccable acting mettle herself. However, it couldn’t generate a hit at the box office as its collection was just average.

Speaking of the awards, the film got multiple trophies in two years 1981 and 1982 including the most prestigious ones. In the year 1981, Rekha won National Film Award for Best Actress and Muzaffar Ali received the Filmfare Award for Best Director one year later.

To be named in Top 100 Bollywood Movies of All Time, the film Umrao Jaan has proved itself as a force to be reckoned with in the film industry.


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