Can anyone looking into Umrao Jaan Ada's limpid eyes be able to look away at anywhere else....? Certainly not her paramours who are moths to the bright flame of Umrao's beauty, talent and charisma. The excellent Asha Bhosle sings the poetry of Shahryar set to the melody of Khaiyyam, thus giving voice to Rekha's exquisite persona in Muzaffar Ali's 1982 artpiece, Umrao Jaan. The winsome tawaif, Umrao Jaan, coquettishly welcomes Nawab Sultan, one of her many admirers, who, as the film progresses, becomes the love of her life.
This is one of my favorite films and to this date no one has been able to recreate the delicate nuances of Rekha's acting and Ali's direction. Add to it a perfectly created set, genuine Urdu dialogue and costumes that would make the begums of Lucknow swoon, Umrao Jaan, the film captured many hearts and audiences. The music is exquisitely timeless; though attempts have been made to copy it's essence, to those that are true worshippers of ghazal gayaki and Urdu shaayri, Ali's Umrao Jaan will forever be a masterpiece to be untouched by any other.
Nearly 13 years ago, a song from this film launched my humble musical career; years later I revisit it as an homage to my roots. I offer at your feet my simple song.