Amrapali

Amrapali , India, 18 February 1966

  • Genre: Romantic
  • Runtime: 120 Minutes
  • Director: Lekh Tandon
  • Awards: Indian submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Story

Amrapali is a 1966 historical Hindi film, directed by Lekh Tandon, starring Vyjayanthimala and Sunil Dutt as leads.

It was based on the life of Amrapali (Ambapali), the nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of Vaishali in present day Bihar, the capital of the Licchavi republic in ancient India around 500 BC and Ajatashatru, the Haryanka dynasty king of the Magadha empire, who falls in love with her. Though he destroys Vaishali to get her, she in the meantime has been transformed by her encounter with Gautama Buddha, of whom she becomes a disciple and an Arahant herself. Her story finds mention in old Pali texts and Buddhist traditions.

The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.Though the film wasn't a commercial success, in time it started being seen as classic and is remembered not just for its dramatic cinematography of war scenes by Dwarka Divecha, and Bhanu Athaiya's costumes for which she travelled to the Ajanta Caves, to seek references in Buddhist frescoes of the era, to create period costumes that subsequently became a template for costumes of that era, but also for the strong Anti-war sentiment, the film reveals in the end.