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Lajja (English:Shame) is a 2001 Indian Hindi social drama film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film is based on the plight of women in India. The film satirises the honour with which women are placed in society and the restrictions on them. The fact that the four women's names (Maithili, Janki, Ramdulaari, and Vaidehi) are all versions of Sita, the ideal Hindu woman's name, is a message in itself. The film stars Manisha Koirala as Vaidehi, the mistreated woman, and Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit, Mahima Chaudhry, Ajay Devgn, and Sharman Joshi appear in supporting roles.

Lajja poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byRajkumar Santoshi
Produced byRajkumar Santoshi
Written byRanjit Kapoor
Rajkumar Santoshi (Dialogues)
Screenplay byAshok Rawat,
Rajkumar Santoshi
Story byRajkumar Santoshi
StarringManisha Koirala
Madhuri Dixit
Jackie Shroff
Anil Kapoor
Mahima Chaudhry
Sharman Joshi
Ajay Devgn
Narrated byBharat Shah
Music byAnu Malik (songs)
Ilaiyaraaja (background score)
CinematographyMadhu Ambat
Edited byV. N. Mayekar
Distributed bySantoshi Productions
Release date
31 August 2001 (2001-08-31)
Running time
202 minutes
Budget22 crore (US$3.2 million)[1]
Box office80 crore (US$12 million)[1]

The film was a flop at the box office in India[2] but was a major commercial success outside India.[3]

At the 47th Filmfare Awards, the film was nominated for 3 awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Devgn, and Best Supporting Actress for Rekha and Dixit. The latter also received a nomination for the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female and eventually won it.



Vaidehi (Manisha Koirala) lives with her husband Raghu (Jackie Shroff). On the outside, she lives a sophisticated life, but behind closed doors, her husband is abusive and has extramarital affairs. When she takes a stand for herself, she is banished from the household. She goes back to her parents' house, but they too reject her. Vaidehi soon finds out that she is pregnant.

Raghu gets into a car accident, leaving him unable to father a child. When he discovers that Vaidehi is pregnant, he calls her, faking remorse, and asks for her to return. Vaidehi agrees, thinking Raghu has mended his ways. In reality, Raghu and his father are plotting for the child to become their heir, and if Vaidehi intervenes, she will be killed. Meanwhile, a friend informs Vaidehi of Raghu's true intentions, and so she escapes from his henchmen. She is helped by Raju (Anil Kapoor), a petty but kindhearted thief. He hears Vaidehi's story and gives her money from a recent heist to help. To hide from Raghu and his henchmen, Vaidehi and Raju gatecrash a wedding procession.

At the wedding, Vaidehi meets Maithili (Mahima Chaudhry), the bride-to-be, who is from a middle-class family but is marrying a man hailing from a rich background. The two women witness the groom's father harassing Maithili's father with demands for an opulent wedding which he cannot afford and forcing him to pay dowry, failing which his reputation in society will be ruined. Vaidehi tries to convince Raju to give Maithili's father his money from the heist. He initially refuses and is soon forced to escape from the wedding because somebody has recognized him as a gatecrasher. However, changing his mind, he soon returns to give his heist money to Vaidehi. The groom's friend attempts to rape Maithili. As the wedding ceremony progresses, one of the guests recognises the heist money which Raju had stolen from him. Moreover, the groom's friend tells the groom's family that he spotted a man (Raju) in Maithili's room. Maithili is accused of having sexual relations with Raju in return for money, which leads Raju to publicly acknowledge his theft. Having tolerated enough, Maithili insults the groom's family, and they flee from the wedding.

Meanwhile, Raghu finds Vaidehi and forces her into going home with him. On the way, they encounter a protest mob. Raghu gets out of the car to investigate, giving Vaidehi the chance to escape. She arrives in the small town of Haripur, where she meets Janki (Madhuri Dixit), a theatre actress in love with her colleague. Janki is pregnant, but not married, and does not care for society's norms. The theatre director, Puroshottam (Tinu Anand), an older man, lusts after Janki, but keeps his wife, Lata (Jaya Bhattacharya), confined to their house. Puroshottam badmouths Janki to her lover, creating a rift between them. Janki's lover asks her to abort the child, as he suspects that he might not be the real father, indirectly accusing Janki of having sexual relations with Purshottam. Janki is outraged and intentionally botches a scene during a performance of the Ramayan. The angered audience assaults Janki, causing her to suffer a miscarriage. Vaidehi confronts Puroshottam, who threatens to call her husband. However, Lata intervenes and puts her on a train at the train station.

Vaidehi's train is robbed by bandits but the passengers are saved by Bhulwa (Ajay Devgn), a local dacoit. Vaidehi faints at the sight of blood, and Bhulwa takes her to the local midwife, Ramdulaari (Rekha). Ramdulaari bravely opposes the village leaders Virendra (Gulshan Grover) and Gajendra (Danny Denzongpa) who exploit innocent women, young and old. When Ramdulaari's educated son Prakash (Sharman Joshi), who is trying to educate the villagers about what Virendra and Gajendra are doing, falls in love with Gajendra's daughter Sushma (Aarti Chhabria), all hell breaks loose. Gajendra slyly locks Ramdulaari in her house and sets out to find Prakash. When Prakash runs away with Sushma, Virendra, and Gajendra, along with their goons, rape Ramdulaari and burn her alive. In a fit of rage, Bhulwa and his army kill Virendra and his goons. Vaidehi escapes with Sushma and Prakash.

Gajendra is attempting to enter politics, so when he is applauded by the local authorities, Vaidehi intervenes and exposes Gajendra as a rapist and fraud through a heart-wrenching speech. This drives all the women in the audience to assault Gajendra, who is later killed by Bhulwa. The speech changes Raghu's attitude towards Vaidehi and he decides to mend his ways. The two return to New York City as a proper married couple. Vaidehi gives birth to a daughter, who is named Ramdulaari. She meets Raju again, who is now a taxi driver and married to Maithili. She invites him to a charity dance show with Janki in the main role, wherein all the money from her shows goes to fund women's organisations in India.



The songs were mainly composed by Anu Malik. A. R. Rahman was initially signed in as the composer; but then he opted out; after he got extremely busy with his international assignment, Bombay Dreams.[4] Then, the background score for the movie was done by Illayaraja. Lyrics of all songs were also written by Sameer, except those of "Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar", which were written by Prasoon Joshi. This song was also composed by Illayaraja and was sung by Lata Mangeshkar. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 13,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's fifteenth highest-selling.[5]

1."Aaye Aajaye Aa Hi Jaiye"SameerAnu MalikAnuradha Sriram 
2."Badi Mushkil"SameerAnu MalikAlka Yagnik 
3."Jiyo Jiyo"SameerAnu MalikK.K. 
4."Kaliyug Ki Sita"SameerAnu MalikAnuradha Paudwal 
5."Kaliyug Ki Sita" (II)SameerAnu MalikShubha Mudgal 
6."Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar"Prasoon JoshiIlaiyaraajaLata Mangeshkar 
7."Saajan Ke Ghar Jana Hai"SameerAnu MalikAlka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Richa Sharma 

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2002 Ajay Devgn Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Madhuri Dixit Zee Cine Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Madhuri Dixit Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Rekha Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated


The film received mixed reviews however the performances from the lead actors were highly praised.[6][7]

Bollywood Hungama gave a rating of two and half out of five stars and said "On the whole, Lajja is a purposeful film within commercial parameters and the best part is that the Indian masses will be able to identify with the goings-on. An enviable star cast, a talented director and an excellent second half are amongst its strong points."[8] The Hindu stated "Unfortunately, this colourful film is a black-and-white disappointment, particularly in the second half when Santoshi loses track of his story and in a blatant bid to get the tax-free certificate brings in bits about computer education, female literacy and infanticide.".[9] The BBC gave a positive review saying "The film is well directed, excellent songs, although they should have had more realistic fights."[10]

Box officeEdit

Lajja failed commercially at the box office in India due to high budget and distribution price. However it tasted success overseas. It ranked 14th on the British box-office chart, according to the International Movie Database.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Lajja – Starcast". IBoS Network.
  2. ^ "Box Office 2001". Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b Arthur J Pais (8 September 2001). "Lajja's a hit overseas". Rediff. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Music Hits 2000–2009 (Figures in Units)". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008.
  6. ^ "Film Review – Lajja". Planet Bollywood. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  7. ^ Bariana, Sanjeev Singh (2 September 2001). "Rekha, Madhuri, Manisha all the way". The Tribune. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  8. ^ Adarsh, Taran (29 August 2001). "Lajja: Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Film Review: Lajja". The Hindu. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  10. ^ Virdee, Jay (30 August 2001). "Lajja reviewed". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2011.

External linksEdit