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Irrfan Khan’s 1989 gem Kamla Ki Maut is MUBI’s ‘film of the day’

The Basu Chatterjee masterpiece also featured Pankaj Kapur, Supriya Pathak, Roopa Ganguly and Ashutosh Gowariker

Irrfan Khan’s 1989 gem Kamla Ki Maut is MUBI’s ‘film of the day’

Kamla Ki Maut featured an ensemble cast, including Roopa Ganguly and the late Irrfan Khan

Last Updated: 07.06 PM, May 10, 2023


Regarded as a masterpiece by legendary filmmaker Basu Chatterjee, Kamla Ki Maut (Death of Kamla) was released in 1989 to critical acclaim. The movie had an ensemble cast - featuring a slew of noted actors including Pankaj Kapur, Supriya Pathak, Roopa Ganguly, Mrinal Kulkarni, Asha Lata, Ashutosh Gowariker and the late Irrfan Khan. Now more than three decades after its release, the cinematic gem is once again garnering attention, as it’s being showcased on MUBI India as the ‘film of the day’.


Considered way ahead of its time back in the late 80s, the 90-minute narrative focussed on modern-day relationships in India, touching upon the subjects of love and premarital sex. The movie was set at a chawl in Mumbai. “A master chronicler of everyday life, Basu Chatterjee mirrors the maze-like setting of a chawl residence with a complex web of secrets and lies. Featuring an early-career appearance from Irrfan Khan, this nuanced and progressive drama exposes the gendered taboos around sex and love in urban India,” described the streaming platform.  

As the title suggests, the plot revolves around a supposedly pregnant, young unmarried woman, named Kamla, who shocked the neighbourhood when she jumped to her death at the chawl. Her friends Geeta and Charu spend the night wondering if they might one day find themselves in a similar situation. Their parents, on the other hand, recall the follies and misdeeds of their early days in life. The story was written by Swaraj Bandyopadhyay. 

Often lauded as a rare cinematic gem that ‘unapologetically talked about sex’, a digitally re-mastered print of the award-winning film was released in 2013 under the ‘Cinemas of India’ category, marking 100 years of Indian cinema. It was a joint effort by the National Film Development Corporation of India and Shemaroo.

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