Are Dharmendra and Hema Malini Muslims

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Historical film. India. Hindi & Urdu
Alternative title-

Director Kamal Amrohi
script Kamal Amrohi
production A.K. Misra
Songs Brahm Arenja
camera R.D. Mathur
choreography Gopi Krishan, Madho Krishan
actorHema Malini, Dharmendra, Pradeep Kumar, Parveen Babi,
Vijayendra Ghatge, Ajit, Veena, Sohrab Modi, Tajdar Amrohi
length 158 min.

Theatrical release 16.9.1983
Trade classification
Molodezhnaja age recommendation from 6


© Text Marco, molodezhnaja 14.8.06
© Pictures Eros, screenshots molodezhnaja

Delhi in the 13th century: The third Sultan Altamash (Pradeep Kumar) is a respected ruler, but he is plagued by the problem of finding a worthy successor. A son is disabled and Crown Prince Ferozshah is a womanizer of the worst kind. The Sultan is only proud of his daughter Razia (Hema Malini), to whom he would like to inherit the throne. This arouses the envy of Ferozshah's mother Shah Turkhan (Veena)who soon finds a target for her anger: the black African Yakut Jamaluddin (Dharmendra), whom the Sultan raised from a slave to an Amir and who is Razia's secret lover!


At the box office, "Razia Sultan" was a terrific flop. Director Kamal Amrohi (1918-1993), who only directed four films in his life, hoped to build on the success of his classic Pakeezah with the period film. But with this work the blooming phase of the "Muslim socials" ended, those often historical works with a touch of classical Persian and Arabic elements that were based on the Muslim ethos. As the first important film of this kind, "Pukar "from 1939, the ironically aBased on a screenplay by Kamal Amrohi. 32 years later, it was the same filmmaker who worked with Pakeezahstaged the last climax of the Muslim social. After that, this genre was only used as one of many elements, for example in masala films. Or the directors, who wanted to revive it anyway, fell on their faces financially. "Razia Sultan" was one of the most devastating failures and also marked the end of Amrohi's film career.

Unfortunately I can understand the flop, because "Razia Sultan" doesn’t make an impact in any way Pakeezahapproach. Rather, it is a boring historical work with relatively bland show values, mediocre acting and poor chemistry between the stars. Hema Malini, whose restrained play left me cold, hardly has a scene with her film lover Dharmendra and can therefore never work out the necessary weighting of this relationship. Dharmendra himself goes through as a bad cast, after all, the sturdy Punjabi has to paint himself black for the role of the African (with changing shades - up to green), but he makes up for it with his powerful game. Pradeep Kumar turns out to be a stroke of luck because he brings with him the gravitas and moral steadfastness that are so important for a Muslim social. Parveen Babi can never develop as a lady-in-waiting.

The slow staging is unforgivable. Of course, the scenes have to be able to settle in order to gain weight. But Amrohi consistently refuses to keep pace and instead serves up one semi-interesting scene after the other. If drama could arise, which is crucial in dealing with Sultan's son Ferozshah, the problem is often solved very quickly and the strength fizzles out again. The rest is not very interesting filling material, even the songs are hardly worth mentioning. The desert song "Ay Dil-E-Nadaan" is the most enchanting.

The unfortunate thing about the matter is that the template would actually be extremely exciting: Razia Sultan was the only female ruler in the history of Delhi and her history is not undisputed in India. For some she is still considered a sinner today, for others as the real ruler of the people. The historical Razia married Amil Altunia, but was prevented by the nobles from reassembling the throne after their deposition and was murdered by a peasant in 1240. The film shows a more cinematic ending, but not a completely satisfying one.

This is how it goes with "Razia Sultan" in some categories: The film has its strengths, but hardly anything about it seems timeless, has drama or depth. Even the sets lack stringency and expressiveness - no comparison to the elaborate backdrops Pakeezah. Only the costumes come into their own. Umrao Jaan showed two years earlier that it was still possible to shoot a Muslim socialist even in the 80s. "Razia Sultan" can only dream of its qualities and although there is a movement among film critics to rehabilitate this legendary flop and raise it as a "lost jewel", its deficits in terms of drama and content are too obvious.


Eros Entertainment (USA), code 0, NTSC
Letterboxed widescreen
Hindi / Urdu Dolby Digital 5.1 with English subtitles (songs not subtitled)
Disk Rating * ½ (Extreme blurring and trailing effects. Image format in the opening credits different from the rest of the film).


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