indian cinema heritage foundation

Tawaif (1985)

  • Release Date1985
  • GenreRomance, Musical
  • FormatColor
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time142 mins
  • Length4087.25 metres
  • Number of Reels15
  • Gauge35mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate Number4068
  • Certificate Date16/03/1985

'TAWAIF' is the story of a prostitute who enters into the life of a young man who already loves a beautiful innocent girl and if you think it makes a triangle, you are wrong.

So let cask the man himself what it is all about.

The handsome young man smiles: OK, Here we go! 

I am Daud, age 26 by calendar, Muslim by faith. Though educated I have not raised much steam out of this accomplishment, because I have ended up as just a salesman in a bookshop owned by our boss Nigam Seth. And I live in a ten by twelve room in Aminabai's chawl, because that is all I can afford and sometimes not even that.... But thank God for Aminabai because she loves me like a mother and overlooks my default if I sometimes skip rent.

By a queer coincidence I come across a manuscript of a novel which leads me to the author Kayenet Mirza a ravishingly beautiful girl. I decide to fall in love with her and to prove it, I try to sell her novel to the boss of Kitab Ghar. The General Manager Suleman who was to screen the novel himself got infatuated by her. This could be a triangle but it is not.

 Meanwhile one late night as I sit up reading Kayenet's manuscript, I hear some commotion outside and the next moment I find a fearsome looking man barge into my room with a beautiful girl and brandishing a knife ordering me to let her stay overnight in my room. He says that he will return in the morning to take her. 

Next morning, however, I hear that the fearsome man who was none other than Rahim Sheikh a most feared goonda, was arrested. As I was wondering what I should now do with the girl, Aminabai comes in with my morning cup of tea and jumps to the conclusion that I had brought home the wife I was often hinting about whenever she protested against my single state. 

Later, however, to my stark horror I learn that the girl I had led Aminabai and other chawl dwellers to believe was my wife was a "tawaif'. 

This then is the triangle if you wish to call it so. On one side a prostitute passing as my wife and on the other a dainty young girl whom I love. 

You can understand and appreciate my discomfiture. Where will all this lead to? I could not get rid of the prostitute (Sultana) for fear of Rahim Sheikh. Nor could I get to ask Kayenet for her hand in marriage. 

Into this conflict enters Suleman who asks me to carry his message of marriage to Kayenet. Now this really breaks the camel's back. I have no solution. CAN YOU HELP ME?

(From the official press booklet)



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