Mandi (film)

Mandi (English: Market Place) is a 1983 Hindi-language film directed by Shyam Benegal. Based on a classic Urdu short story Aanandi by writer Ghulam Abbas, the film narrates the story of a brothel, situated in the heart of a city, an area that some politicians want for its prime locality.[1] The film is a satirical comedy on politics and prostitution, and stars Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil and Naseeruddin Shah among others.

Mandi film.jpg
Movie poster for Mandi
Directed byShyam Benegal
Screenplay by
Story byGhulam Abbas
Based onAanandi
by Ghulam Abbas
CinematographyAshok Mehta
Music byVanraj Bhatia
Distributed byBlaze Entertainment
Release date
  • 1983 (1983) (India)
Running time
167 min

The film won the 1984 National Film Award for Best Art Direction for Nitish Roy.[2] It was selected at Indian Panorama at Filmostav, Bombay 1984, and was invited to the Los Angeles Exposition (FILMEX), the Hong Kong International Film Festival 1984, and London Film Festival 1983.[3]

Mandi is the Hindi Film with the highest number of Filmfare Award winners (12) in the cast (Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Neena Gupta, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Saeed Jaffrey, Annu Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Pankaj Kapur, Amrish Puri, Ila Arun and K. K. Raina). Additionally the film includes (4) Filmfare nominees in the cast (Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anita Kanwar, Ratna Pathak Shah and Soni Razdan).


For years, an aging Rukmini Bai (Shabana Azmi) has been the Madame of a brothel in Hyderabad, India. The women in the brothel live in harmony. Rukmini Bai takes pride in the talent of her women, especially Zeenat (Smita Patil) who is a classical singer and Basanti (Neena Gupta) who is a classical dancer. Rukmini Bai is quite possessive about Zeenat and does not let her get engaged in prostitution. She is protective of her from the customers who wish to deflower Zeenat. One day Rukmini Bai gets the news, that she, now, has a new landlord Mr. Gupta (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), whose daughter Malti (Ratna Pathak) is to marry Mr. Aggarwal's (Saeed Jaffrey) son, Sushil, shortly. Given the finesse of Zeenat and Basanti, Mr. Gupta invites Rukmini Bai with her women to perform at the engagement ceremony of his son. During the performance, Sushil is smitten by Zeenat's beauty and approaches her in the dressing room. Zeenat also gets attracted to Sushil. In the meanwhile, it is shown that the City Councillor, Shantidevi (Gita Siddharth), who also runs the Women Organisation of the town is averse to Rukmini Bai and her doings. In a Municipal Committee meeting, she proposes that the brothel should be moved out of town, in order to protect the town from getting corrupted. The committee agrees to her demands and Rukmini Bai and her women are forced to relocate to a new place in the outskirts of the city, which happens to be near the Dargah of Baba Karak Shah. This attracts a lot of people, and Rukmini Bai's brothel starts thriving.

In the meanwhile, Rukmini Bai gets to know about the budding love between Zeenat and Sushil and she forbids Zeenat from going ahead with the relationship. She reveals that Zeenat is the illegitimate child of Mr. Aggarwal and another prostitute, and Rukmini Bai had kept it as a secret for years, in order to save the face of Mr. Aggarwal. It makes Zeenat and Sushil siblings and renders their romantic relationship prohibited. The complications set in when Sushil refuses to marry Malti and runs away from his house in order to pursue Zeenat. He asks Zeenat to elope from the brothel with him in search of better existence and Zeenat accepts his proposal. The whole brothel is in a state of panic when the news of Zeenat's elopement breaks out. Rukmini Bai and Aggarwal go in search of the children. However, during the way, Zeenat is overcome by guilt as she is aware of their biological relationship and thus, runs away from Sushil as well. Sushil is heartbroken. Rukmini Bai too is unable to come to terms with the news of Zeenat's disappearance. She is sobbing in her brothel and instead of getting sympathy, she is rebuked by Nadira (Soni Razdan), a prostitute who works for her. She asks Rukmini Bai to exit the brothel as the women do not need her anymore and can run the brothel on their own. Rukmini Bai is in a state of shock and with a heavy heart, she quits the brothel with her faithful helper Tungrus (Naseeruddin Shah). On their way, due to exhaustion, they halt for water. While looking for water, Tungrus accidentally comes across a Shiv Lingam. He calls out to Rukmini Bai and they both pray to the Shivlingam for a better future. Just then, they see Phoolmani (Sreela Majumdar), a former brothel woman, running towards them. Rukmini Bai is delighted at the sight of Phoolmani and thanks the almighty.



The lyrics of the film by Mir Taqi Mir, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Insha, Makhdoom Mohiuddin and Sarwar Danda and music is by Vanraj Bhatia.

Song Singer
"Chubhti Hai" Asha Bhosle
"Ishq Ke Sholay" Asha Bhosle
"Zabanen Badalti Hain" Asha Bhosle
"Shamsheer Bhari Na Maang" Preeti Sagar

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
1983 National Film Awards Best Art Direction Nitish Roy Won
1984 Filmfare Awards Best Actress Shabana Azmi Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Smita Patil
Best Supporting Actor Naseeruddin Shah


  1. ^ "Mandi". IMDb.
  2. ^ "31st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals.
  3. ^ Shyam Benegal Awards

External linksEdit