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Amrapali is a 1966 historical Hindi film directed by Lekh Tandon, starring Vyjayanthimala and Sunil Dutt as leads. Music of the film was by Shankar-Jaikishan. The rights to this film are owned by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment.

Directed byLekh Tandon
Produced byF.C. Mehra
Written byStory & screenplay: Omkar Sahib
Dialogue: Arjun Dev Rashk
Balbir Singh (Additional dialogue)
Sunil Dutt
Prem Nath
Music byShankar-Jaikishan
CinematographyDwarka Divecha
Edited byPran Mehra
Eagle Films [1]
Release date

It was based on the life of Amrapali (Ambapali), the nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of Vaishali in present-day Bihar, the capital of the Licchavi republic in ancient India around 500 BC and Ajatashatru, the Haryanka dynasty king of the Magadha empire, who falls in love with her. Though he destroys Vaishali to get her, she in the meantime has been transformed by her encounter with Gautama Buddha, of whom she becomes a disciple and an Arahant herself. Her story finds mention in old Pali texts and Buddhist traditions.[2][3]

The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[4] Though the film wasn't a commercial success, in time it started being seen as classic and is remembered not just for its dramatic cinematography of war scenes by Dwarka Divecha,[5] and Bhanu Athaiya's costumes for which she travelled to the Ajanta Caves, to seek references in Buddhist frescoes of the era, to create period costumes that subsequently became a template for costumes of that era, but also for the strong Anti-war sentiment the film reveals in the end.[6][7][8]





Another highlight of the film was its music by the duo Shankar Jaikishan, then at the peak of their career, who gave a highly restrained yet fully Indian classical music-based score in the four songs, another rarity in the period film of the era to have so few songs. All the songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar who also has some of her career's finest among them, including, "Tumhen Yaad Karte Karte", "Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein" and "Jao Re Jogi".[9]

Track listEdit

# Title Singer(s) Lyricists
1 "Jao Re" Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra
2 "Tumhen Yaad Karte Karte" Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra
3 "Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein" Lata Mangeshkar Hasrat Jaipuri
4 "Tadap Yeh Din Raat Ki" Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra
5 "Nacho Gao Nacho Dhoom Machao" Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra

In popular cultureEdit

A scene clipping from the film, was used in the Dhoom tana song dance sequence in film Om Shanti Om (2007), wherein Deepika Padukone dances as Vyjayantimala, who was digitally removed from the frames, as Deepika was playing an actor of the 1970s.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Office Office maker passes away". Screen. 31 July 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
  2. ^ History of Vaishali
  3. ^ Ambapālī (Ambapālikā) in Buddhist Dictionary of Pali names
  4. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  5. ^ "V.K.MURTHY: Lens and Sensibility". Screen. 3 February 2006.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Are they calling the shots?". Screen. 29 March 2002.
  7. ^ "Clothes maketh the film". The Hindu. 25 February 2010.
  8. ^ What if Amrapali were remade today? Movies, 4 March 2004.
  9. ^ "MUSIC DIRECTOR: Down Melody Lane". Screen. 22 March 2010.
  10. ^ "Magical music video". Screen. 23 November 2007.

External linksEdit