The movie Umrao Jan was directed by Muzaffar Ali in 1981 and is a social drama (Muslim social) and classic film. The film featured Rekha (played as Umrao Jan), Farooq Shaikh (played as Nawab Sultan), Naseeruddin Shah (played as Gohar Mirza) and Raj Babbar (played as Faiz Ali) in the lead roles while Gajanan Jagirdar (as Maulvi) who plays a supporting role. The story of the movie is about a Lucknow courtesan (tawaif) and her growth in popularity. During 1840, a girl called Amiran who is kidnapped from her home in Faizabad and sold her in Lucknow. Later, Amiran turned into Umrao Jan and prepared to attract men of wealth and flavor of some quality. Then, Umrao Jan falls in love with Nawab Sultan, who is a high status person in society, but their love breaks up due to the family concern. Finally, she saw her mother in her birthplace, but her brother didn’t accept his sister as a courtesan so he told her to leave this place and never come back. Then, she went back where she grew up as a courtesan (tawaif) at Mehfil. The Umrao Jan’s role is comparably higher in the film and she glows up the screen, complying maturely with her character. Her acting skills touch the audiences with the natural sense of emotions such as her sadness in her eyes and suffering on her face took next level to the movie.
Muzaffar Ali used a variety of songs in his movie which included Ghazals, sad (songs of Pathos), marriage, religious and playful songs with the help of music director Khayyam. By the traditional instruments, Khayyam scored the background music to represent a situation well and smoothly carry the sequences. Also, Khayyam wants to get the attention of the viewers/audiences by his music compositions. Khayyam portrayed his music passion throughout each scenes BGM. For example, when there is a sad or happy scene, he increased and decreased the tempo of the music and the quality of the sound (timbre) to enhance the visuals based on the situation. Through the clever use of ‘raag’ and ‘ras’, Khayyam got the heart of the listening audience. All of the songs in the film have been pictured well and are a feast for the eyes and the ears.
Umrao Jan has a wonderful songs and I will be analyzing the last Pathos song of