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Shyam Benegal, director of ANKUR, NISHAANT, BHUMIKA, MANTHAN, JUNOON, MANDI, KALYUG, MAMMO and SARDARI BEGUM, is now ready with his latest film ZUBEIDAA. It is a tale of a young man's quest to uncover the life and times of his mother, Zubeidaa (Karisma Kapoor), who has been more of a mysterious stranger to him.

ZUBEIDAA's story is set in the early 1950s, a period when the princely states had just merged into the new republic of India. Zubeidaa is the only daughter of filmmaker Suleman Seth (Amrish Puri). Unknown to her father, Zubeidaa acts in a film. When her father learns of this, he forbids her from pursuing a film career and hastily arranges for her to marry Mehboob Alam, without consulting Zubeidaa.

Soon after they are wedded, Zubeidaa and Mehboob have a son, Riyaz. Tragedy strikes when due to a misunderstanding, Mehboob divorces Zubeidaa and the shocked girl retreats into a shell.

Zubeidaa's life undergoes a sea change when she is introduced to Maharaja Vijayendra Singh (Manoj Bajpai) at a polo match. The Maharaja is besotted by her beauty and invites her to a celebration ball. At the ball, he shocks Zubeidaa by proposing to her.

A hesitant Zubeidaa eventually succumbs to his charms and entrusting her son, Riyaz, to her mother's care, she accompanies the Maharaja to Fatehpur as his second wife. In Fatehpur, she is confronted by Mandira (Rekha), the Maharaja's first wife.

Mandira introduces Zubeidaa to the customs and etiquette of the palace life. Initially, Zubeidaa is gloriously happy. However, she soon discovers that the Maharaja's interests are increasingly veering towards matter of the state. Zubeidaa is further upset when the Maharaja selects Mandira to go along with him on his election campaign.

ZUBEIDAA is the saga of the trials and tribulations faced by the ravishing beauty Zubeidaa, as she dares to lead life on her own terms. The film culminates into a breath-taking finale.

Produced by Farouq Rattonsey, ZUBEIDAA has music by A.R. Rahman, lyrics by Javed Akhtar, story by Khalid Mohamed and cinematography by Rajan Kothari.

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