Umrao Jaan takes off on a positive note. The story of the little Amiran, who is kidnapped and sold to a kotha in Lucknow, is sensitively depicted. The entire track -- sequences with her parents and also with Khanum [Shabana] and Bua [Himani] -- unravel beautifully. Then Sultan walks in Umrao's life. Love is in the air. You begin to ponder: Umrao Jaan is akin to a poem on celluloid.
Romance takes over and the story comes to a grinding and screeching halt. Two/three songs flow in one after the other. You start getting restless and impatient. Agreed, J.P. had to be faithful to Ruswa's literary work. But the songs are completely unwanted and only add to the extra length. The sad part is, Anu Malik's music, although in sync with the film, comes across as an unwanted guest in the narrative.