HS Rawail's cinematic version of this moving tale of the original star-crossed lovers, Laila Majnu, starring Rishi Kapoor and Ranjeeta, does full justice to this enduring tale. It has the intense pangs of love, the painful obstacles that lie in its path and a soul-stirring performance by its lead actors as they bring Laila and Majnu alive. The musical score was composed by maestro Madan Mohan, who died before completing the film, and hence the baton was carried forward by Jaidev, seamlessly.
To recount the story, Laila and her lover Majnu, better known as Qais, were born to rival clans, the Amaris and the Sharwaris. The two loved each other as children. Their love was such that if one was hurt, the other started bleeding. The film recounts, how as kids at the madarsa, the maulvi asks them to write the name of Allah on their slates. Qais, who is lost in thoughts of Laila, inscribes her name instead. In return, an incensed maulvi canes him on the hand. But it is Laila's hand which starts bleeding. Incidents such as this, spread like wild fire and Laila's father, scared for his daughter's reputation, decides to stop her from going to school. The two clan heads decide to separate their children as it is impossible for them to conceive of the Sharwaris and the Amaris ever being joined by love instead of blood. Lalila and her Majnu grow up in different places.
Many years later, Qais and his friends visit Laila's town to buy camels and the stage is set for the two lovers to meet again. One day at the marketplace, they encounter each other and it is love at first sight for both of them. They start meeting each other secretly, all over again. But the villain makes his entry in the form of Laila's hot-tempered brother Tabrez (Ranjeet). He has already had a spat with Qais, with neither knowing the other's true identity. In the turn of events that follow, Qais's father dies at the hands of Tabrez. Qais in turn, avenges his father's murder by killing Tabrez. He is exiled from the town and wanders about in the dunes, like a madman, thirsting for just a look of his beloved. Meanwhile, Laila is married off to a prince, Bakhsh (Danny). Learning of her love for Qais, he promises to keep his distance until such time that he is not able to replace Majnu in Laila's heart. Like all others before him, he is unable to understand the almost divinely ordained love of Laila and Majnu. When he does, it is too late.
The film was written by Abrar Alvi, a longtime associate of Guru Dutt.
- Genre: Romantic
- Runtime: 141 Minutes
Laila Majnu is a 1976 Hindi movie based on the legendary story of Layla and Majnun. This film version is directed by Harnam Singh Rawail ( H.S. Rawail) and stars Rishi Kapoor, Ranjeeta, Danny Denzongpa, Aruna Irani, Asrani, Iftekhar, Tom Alter and Ranjeet. The film's music is by Madan Mohan and Jaidev.
Layla and Majnun, also known as The Madman and Layla - in Arabic مجنون و ليلى (Majnun and Layla) or قيس وليلى (Qays and Layla), in Persian: لیلی و مجنون (Leyli and Madjnun), (Leyli və Məcnun) in Azeri - is a classical Arabic story of star-crossed lovers. It is based on the real story of a young man called Qays ibn al-Mulawwah (Arabic: قيس بن الملوح) from the northern Arabian Peninsula. In one version, he spent his youth together with Layla, tending their flocks. In the other version, upon seeing Layla he fell passionately in love with her. In both versions, however, he went mad when her father prevented him from marrying her; for that reason he came to be called Majnun Layla, which means "Layla's Lunatic."