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The story behind <i>Umrao Jaan</i>

Courtesy: IndiaFM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Isn't Aishwarya Rai looking simply stunning in this still from JP Dutta's magnanimous opus Umrao Jaan.

While the general notion is that JP Dutta's film is remake of Muzzaffar Ali's 1981 film by the same name starring Rekha, the fact is not entirely true. Rather than a remake, JP Dutta's film is an adaptation.

Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa had originally written the novel by the title of UMRA-O-JAAN-E-ADA in the 19th century. This novel is one of the foremost literatures in Urdu and was published in the year 1899 by Mahadeo Prasad, Publishers of Lucknow.

Ever since then the novel has a quality that has inspired many generations of film-makers to recreate the enigmatic character of Umrao Jaan. And interestingly neither Muzzaffar Ali's nor JP Dutta's version is the first cinematic adaptation of the classic literature. Other films already made on the novel include Zindagi Aur Toofan and Mehendi.

More interestingly even before these films, someone else had started making a film on this novel. And the person was none other than OP Dutta, father of JP Dutta. In the 50's, O.P.Dutta was the first person to start a film on Umrao Jaan starring the then popular actress Nimmi. Unfortunately that film could not be completed.

So in a way by making this film J P Dutta has lived his father's dream.

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