name = Lajja
caption = Film poster
Ranjit Kapoor Rajkumar Santoshi
Manisha Koirala Madhuri Dixit Rekha Jackie Shroff Anil Kapoor Ajay Devgan
Ilaiyaraaja Anu Malik
V. N. Mayekar
Eros International Ltd.
released = start date|2001|09|19
runtime = 165 min.
imdb_id = 0293342
"Lajja", a movie in
Hindi, released in 2001directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, is based on the plight of women in India. The movie recounts the story of four women, and stars some of the best known names in Bollywood, including Rekha, Madhuri Dixit, Manisha Koirala, Mahima Chaudhry, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoorand Ajay Devgan. Urmila Matondkarand Sonali Bendreperform item numbers.
The movie satirizes the honor with which women are placed in society and the restrictions on them. The fact that the four women's names (
Maithali, Janaki, Ramdulhari, and Vaidehi) are all versions of Sita, the ideal Hindu woman's name, is a message in itself.
Santoshi says the idea for the story came to him when he read the story of a woman who was gangraped, but he felt no one would watch a movie based on one woman therefore he added the other storylines.
Manisha Koirala) lives in New York with her husband Raghu ( Jackie Shroff) and in-laws. On the outside she lives a modern sophisticated life, but behind closed doors her husband is a wife-beater and regularly cheats on her. When she takes a stand for herself, she is banished from her husband's household. She goes back to her parent's house in India, but they too reject her, saying that if she returns to her maternal home, she would bring shame on the family. Vaidehi soon finds out that she is pregnant.
Meanwhile in New York, Raghu is involved in a car accident, which results in him being unable to father a child. However, he soon discovers that Vaidehi is pregnant, so he calles her, faking remorse, and asks for her to come back. Vaidehi agrees, thinking that Raghu has amended himself. He and his father plot for the son to become their new heir and if Vaidehi intervenes, then they will kill her. So Raghu sends out some of his henchmen to India to escort Vaidehi back.
However, when Vaidehi is at the airport, she gets a call from a friend who overheard Raghu and his father planning to kill Vaidehi. She then escapes from the airport via a bathroom window and hitches a lift on a truck. However, the truck is stopped by Raghu's men, forcing Vaidehi to flee. She is helped by Raju (
Anil Kapoor), a petty thief who is in the process of robbing a store. He hears Vaidehi's story and gives her money from his heist to help her. To hide from the police, Vaidehi gatecrashes a wedding procession.
At the wedding, she meets Maithili (
Mahima Chaudhary), a bride to be from a poor family. She is marrying her college sweetheart who hails from a rich background. She witnesses her father being hassled by demands for an opulent wedding which he cannot afford and being forced to pay a dowry, with the threat that the wedding will be broken. Vaidehi also hears this and tries to talk to the groom who is revealed to be a spineless fool. At the wedding, Vaidehi meets Raju again, she tries to convince him to give his money from the heist. He initially refuses and leaves, however at a roadside bar he sees a prostitute demanding for money from her customer, explaining that she is only doing this to pay for her sister's dowry. Raju gets the whore her money back and returns to the wedding to give his heist money which he was saving to get a job in Dubai to Vaidehi. However when Maithili's father presents the dowry to the groom's father, the store owner intervenes saying that part of the money is his. Adding to this, the groom's friend says that he saw Maithili in a room with Raju. Leading to Maithili to be questioned. However Maithili's has tolerated enough humilitation and rebels against the groom's family, socially degrading them. They flee from the wedding dais, and Raju is captured by the police, but manages to escape.
However, Vaidehi is found by her husband and forced into a car. On the way, the car encounters a protest mob, Raghu gets out to sort the problem out. However, Vaidehi causes disruption in the crowd and manages to escape. She arrives in Haripur, a small town. Raju had given her a letter to give to his mother who lived there. However she finds out that Raju was just giving her a place to stay, and his mother had decesed years before.
In Haripur Vaidehi meets Janki (
Madhuri Dixit), a theatre actress in love with her colleague. She, like Vaidehi is pregnant, but she isn't married. Janki is a carefree character, who doesn't care for the norms in society. However she is lusted by the theatre director called Puroshottam, an older man who keeps his wife Lata ( Priya Bhattacharya) confined in her house. Puroshottam tells Janki's boyfried that he has slept with Janki, leading her fiance to question her on her integrity. Janki is outraged, and during a performance of the Ramayan she refuses to take the Agni Parikshaperformed by Sita. This leads to an outcry from the audience and Janki is branded to be mentally unstable. She is carted of to the mental asylum after being assaulted by the audience, leading her to miscarry her child. Vaidehi confronts Puroshottam and he threatens to call her husband. However, Lata intervenes and thrashes her husband. She takes Vaidehi to the station, and puts her on a train.
The train is robbed by bandits, however, the passengers are saved by Bhulva (
Ajay Devgan). A local dacoit, who kills all the bandits. However Vaidehi faints at the sight of blood and Bulwa takes her to a local midwife Ramdulaari ( Rekha).
Ramdulaari educated the women in her society and bravely oppresses the village leaders Virendra and Gajendra (
Gulshan Groverand Danny Dezongpa)who hold orthodox beliefs. However when her son falls in love with Virendra's daughter Sushma, all hell breaks loose. Virendra threatens to castrate Ramdulaari's son. When Sushma tells her this in the dark of night, Ramdulaari is fearful for her life and sons. Virendra locks her up in her house and sets out to find her son. When her son gets away, and Bulwa. Virendra, Gajendra and their henchmen gangrape Ramdulaari and burn her alive. In rage, Bulwa and his men pillage the village, killing all of Virendras men, including Gajendra. Vaidehi escapes with Sushma and Ramdulaari's son.
Virendra is making a move into politics, so when he is applauded by the local authorities, Vaidehi intervenes and exposes Virendra as a rapist and fraud through a heart wrenching speech which initiates all the woman in the audience to assault Virendra who is later killed by Bulwa.
Raghu hears Vaidehi's speech and decides to amend his ways. The two return home to New York as a proper married couple. Some time later, Vaidehi gives birth to a daughter who she calls Ramdulaari. She meets Raju, who is now a taxi driver and is married to Maithili. She invites him to a charity dance show with Janki as the main role. She tells him that all the money from her shows goes to fund women's organizations in India. [http://www.planetbollywood.com/Film/Lajja/]
Box Office and reviews
"Lajja" did average business at the box office and was critically acclaimed. Though all actors were appreciated, it was Rekha, Madhuri Dixit, Manisha Koirala and Ajay Devgan who were most applauded. [http://www.planetbollywood.com/Film/Lajja/]
Manisha Koirala... Vaidhehi
Madhuri Dixit... Janki
Mahima Chaudhary... Maithali
Jackie Shroff... Raghuveer
Anil Kapoor... Raju
Ajay Devgan... Balwa
Dina Pathak... Bua
Sonali Bendre... Dancer (Special Appearance) - 'Mujhe Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana Hai'
Urmila Matondkar.... Special Appearance
Danny Denzongpa... Gajendra
Gulshan Grover... Virender
Aarti Chhabria... Sushma (Gajendra's daughter)
Sharman Joshi... Prakash (Ramdulaari's son)
Anjan Shrivastav... Nekchand (Maithili's Dad)
Farida Jalal... Saroj (Maithili's Mom)
Beena Banerjee... Vaidehi's Mother
Govind Namdeo... Hazarilal
Rohini Hattangadi... Mrs. Hazarilal
Suresh Oberoi... (Raghuveer's Dad)
Tinu Anand... Purshotam
Ritu Shivpuri... Anita
Johnny Lever... Fakhruddin (Raghuveer's stooge)
Razak Khan... Francis (Raghuveer's stooge)
Jagdeep... Bansidhar Chakkiwala
Asrani... Gulab Chand
Viju Khote... Damodar [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293342/]
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