Film poster
Directed byGulzar
Written byRabindranath Tagore(story)
Kailash Advani, Arun Kaul (screenplay)
Produced byLata Mangeshkar
Hridaynath Mangeshkar
Bal Phule
StarringVinod Khanna
Dimple Kapadia
Hema Malini
CinematographyManmohan Singh
Edited bySubhash Sehgal
Music byHridaynath Mangeshkar (music)
Gulzar (lyrics)
Release date
  • 11 October 1991 (1991-10-11)
Running time
171 minutes

Lekin... (transl. But...) is a Hindi drama Mystery film released in 1991, loosely based on the 1895 short story Kshudhit Pashaan Hungry Stones by Rabindranath Tagore, and directed by Hindi lyricist Gulzar. It stars Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia, Amjad Khan, Alok Nath, and Beena Banerjee, and featured a special appearance by Hema Malini.The film took 4 years to release in theaters, the muhurat clap was given by Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar on 28 September 1987.

The film was produced by Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar (Co-Producers: Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Bal Phule), whose rendition of "Yara Seeli Seeli" won the 1991 National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer. The song also won film's lyricist, Gulzar, both the 1991 National Film Award for Best Lyrics and the 1992 Filmfare Best Lyricist Award. The film's music director, Lata's brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar, won the 1991 National Film Award for Best Music Direction. Other awards included the National Film Award for Best Art Direction for Nitish Roy and National Film Award for Best Costume Design for Bhanu Athaiya.


Government officer Sameer Niyogi (Vinod Khanna) is sent to Rajasthan to take inventory of items in the abandoned haveli (mansion) of the long-deceased Maharaja Param Singh (Vijayendra Ghatge). When he arrives in Rajasthan, he meets his old friend Shafi (Amjad Khan) who is a tax collector in the area and lives with his wife Sharda (Beena Banerjee).

En-route his journey to Jasor, Sameer begins seeing what he thinks could very well be visions of another time and place, visions that he is shown by a beautiful woman he encounters by the name of Reva (Dimple Kapadia). She keeps appearing and disappearing during his stay in Jasor. The mysterious appearance and disappearance initially shakes Sameer but reassurance that spirits exist from an expert on the field gives him an unknown inner motivation to find out the truth behind Reva and his own self, as well as find out the reason he is connected with this story. According to the story revealed by Reva herself, she is a spirit stranded in a period of time, attempting to cross the desert to meet her long lost sister Tara (Hema Malini). The older sister, Tara, comes to Maharaja Param Veer's palace for a singing and dancing performance one night. The Maharaja eyes her malevolently and orders his men to not let her go out of the palace that night so he can rape her.

Ustad Miraj Ali (Alok Nath), the musical maestro in the king's court, who also happens to be Tara and Reva's music teacher, learns of the king's plan. He warns the father of Tara and Reva and advises them to run away from the town by crossing the desert. The King learns of this and imprisons Miraj Ali and Reva in the castle dungeons while Tara's camel runs ahead in the desert but is never heard of. The cruel Maharaja also orders Tara and Reva's father to be lashed till he bleeds to a near-death condition and then orders his men to put him on a camel's back and send him into the desert.

The lecherous King then turns his attention to Reva. He would wait until she would grow into a young woman. Rewa spends 8 years in captivity and one day the King wishes to sexually gratify himself with her. Ustad Miraj Ali along with the help of one of the king's servants hatch a plan to help Reva run away from prison to save herself from the King. We learn that Rewa narrowly escaped the clutches of indulgent King Param Singh. Her mentor Ustad Miraj Ali gives an oath of the Quran to one of his acquaintances, Mehru, who is supposed to help Reva cross the desert. But in the attempt to cross the desert, Mehru is caught by the King's men and punished by lashes and dropped to his village in a near-dead condition. Reva is killed in a severe desert sandstorm. She gets frozen in a moment of time. As events unfold towards the end, we come to know that Sameer is the rebirth of Mehru and that Rewa's elder sister, Tara successfully managed to cross the desert when her camel ran ahead. Tara is now older and has a daughter named after her dead, lost sister, Reva. Ustad Miraj Ali also is alive and at Tara's house although he is very old. As soon as Sameer reaches Tara's house with the news about Rewa, Ustad Miraj Ali recognises him as Mehru and dies in his arms. Sameer also discovers a skeleton of Raja Param Singh in the castle dungeons. The 2 gold teeth in the skull help establish the identity of that skeleton as belonging to King Param Singh. It remains a mystery how King Param Singh died in the castle dungeon and how Ustad Miraj Ali managed to escape.

Sameer eventually ends up fulfilling his commitment to help Reva's spirit not only cross the desert but also liberate her from the period of time in which she was stranded.



All the songs from Lekin... were composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar and the lyrics were written by Gulzar. Suniyo Ji Araj Mhario is based on the composition in Raga Vihanginee by Pt. Mani Prasad

See also