Judaai (English: Separation) is a 1997 Indian melodrama comedy film directed by Raj Kanwar in a screenplay written by Prakash Raj, S.V. Krishna Reddy and Jainendra Jain and produced by Boney Kapoor. The film stars Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Urmila Matondkar in lead roles. Kader Khan, Farida Jalal, Johnny Lever, Paresh Rawal, Upasana Singh and Saeed Jaffrey are featured in supporting roles; while Poonam Dhillon makes a special appearance. The film was a remake of the 1994 Telugu film Subhalagnam. In the film, lured by wealth, poor housewife Kajal asks her husband, Raj, an honest engineer, to marry Janhvi, the rich niece of his boss. Little does she know about the problems that await her. After an active career of 30 years, Judaai marked Sridevi’s final film appearance before she took a fifteen-year sabbatical from film acting.
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When Kajal (Sridevi) marries Raj (Anil Kapoor), an Engineer by profession, she and her dad (Kader Khan), automatically assume that he is rich, wealthy, and corrupt. Her father is very happy that his daughter does not have any in-laws, and that she’ll get to rule the roost in her new house. But that is not the case. Raj does not have an air-conditioner, a car, not even a refrigerator. This infuriates Kajal, and in her mind, she creates a separate world, where she is rich, wealthy, has several cars, and lives lavishly in a big bungalow. Even the birth of two children (a young son and a little daughter) and several years of marriage do not change her. An example of this occurs when Kajal meets her old friend Nisha (Poonam Dhillon), who Kajal feeds a pack of lies that her husband is a business magnate, her family owns several cars and lives in a big bungalow, but Nisha, who is wealthy, offers to give her a lift. Kajal lies about where she lives and is exposed when the bungalow she points out as her own turns out to be Nisha’s. She tells Kajal not to take her life or her husband for granted and that no matter how little you have, your house is your home. When Jahnvi (Urmila Matondkar), Raj’s boss Sahni’s (Saeed Jaffrey) niece, comes from overseas, she meets Raaj at the airport and assumes he is the car driver. After she is rude to him, he leaves her stranded on the road with her luggage, not caring what his boss would say. Jahnvi reaches the office well in time and praises Raj’s attitude, but when she learns that he’s an engineer working for her uncle’s construction company, she apologizes to him. Sahni introduces Jahnvi to Vikram Khanna, a handsome young guy, who is his business partner. Vikram observes Jahnvi and likes the young, naturally vivacious girl. One day, Vikram and Jahnvi go to see Jahnvi’s guest house, at the new property. Sahni gets worried as the weather is getting worse; and they have not returned to the office. As Raj is about to leave, Sahni asks him to check on them and bring Jahnvi back, while Vikram has been drinking and casually discusses the prospect of marriage. But Jahnvi rejects his advances. Vikram grabs her but Jahnvi slaps him. Angered by the slap, Vikram throws her on the bed and tries to rape her. But Raj arrives in the nick of time and saves Jahnvi. Vikram threatens him with the loss of his job, but he doesn’t care. Jahnvi remembers how earlier, Raj had rejected a job and an apartment offer from a rival company due to Mr. Sahni’s help. She starts liking Raj from that moment and falls in love with him thereafter. When she learns that he is a married man, she is adamant about marrying Raj.
She first meets Kajal by accident, at a shop where they are both going to buy a cassette player for Raj. Not knowing Kajal is Raj’s wife, she offers Kajal the money to buy a more expensive set if she can buy the smaller cassette (which is also the last one in the shop). Kajal agrees and buys it for Raj. They listen to the tape Jahnvi had given, where she confesses her love, which angers them. In an attempt to marry Raj, Jahnvi meets the greedy Kajal inside the city’s Ganesh temple, she offers two crore rupees in exchange for marriage to Raj. Then Kajal, seeing this as her opportunity to gain wealth and easy life, she suddenly accepts her proposal.
Kajal forces Raj into the agreement and gets a reluctant Raj and Jahnvi married and divorces Raj herself, to comply with the Hindu Marriage Act; thinking that she and Jahnvi will happily live together and share Raj.
She then uses the money she got in the bargain to buy a huge mansion and cars. The bungalow she buys ends up being that of Nisha. She briefly returns to her old home to collect a picture of her husband. Kajal then proceeds to taunt her that she has fulfilled her dreams, whereas Nisha’s dreams are now shattered having lost everything. Nisha reminds Kajal that she sold her house and possessions to pay for the treatment of her ill husband, whereas Kajal has sold her husband for riches; and that to some extent, Kajal is all the poorer for that. Kajal moulds herself into a socialite and this leads to Kajal neglecting her family. Raj initially feels rejected by Kajal and does not get close to Jahnvi, feeling objectified at the thought of being bought and sold between his two wives. But the children and Raj find companionship with Jahnvi, who showers them with love and affection. She changes herself and becomes a typical middle-class type Indian housewife. She gets up early, does pooja, and then cooks tasty food for her family. She does not mind tiring herself all day learning new dishes and rituals as she finds solace in this quiet, peaceful life.
She even travels happily in crowded buses and autos to make Raaj and the kids feel secure and happy around her. She abandons all the luxury and comforts she grew up with. The children call Jahnvi “Maa”, something that Kajal would previously reprimand her children for calling her; insisting that they call her “Mummy” as this sounded high society.
Now Kajal realizes how far she has drifted from her family. She forgets her wedding anniversary and throws a birthday party for her daughter’s birthday, not realizing that Raj has never been attracted to a lavish lifestyle and thus further pushing him away from her and towards Jahnvi. After frequent reminders from her mother, Kajal tries to make amends. When nothing works, Kajal shocks her husband when she slaps Jahnvi and accuses her of stealing her husband and tries to make Jahnvi leave. Kajal offers Jahnvi all her money back in exchange for Raj again, only to be told by Raj that she is the poorest relation despite having all the riches she ever dreamed of. On the advice of her friend, Kajal seeks legal advice which also states that the only way she can legally marry Raj if he and Jahnvi divorce – an impossible task. She then forcibly tries to throw Jahnvi out of the house, but to no avail, as Raj decides to leave with Jahnvi claiming that in the present circumstances, this is the fairest thing to do. The kids decide to stay with Janhvi and their father – heartbroken as they learn that their father was sold, prompting the son to ask Kajal about the prospect of them being sold to another family at an agreed price.
Kajal on the other hand, distraught by her family abandoning her, donates all her riches, to pay her dues. When she learns that Raj and the kids are leaving for the US, she runs to the airport for one final visit. She finds them ready to depart. But at the last minute, Jahnvi turns to Raj and tells them that she is leaving for the US alone, but she is not alone. She is expecting Raj’s child. Jahnvi accepts that although Kajal sold her husband, it was her who offered to buy him and thus she too should pay her dues. So, the movie ends with Kajal getting her family back, learning of the importance of family over money, and Jahnvi leaving for New York forever.
Anil Kapoor as Raj Verma
Sridevi as Kajal Verma (née Jindal)— Raj’s first wife
Urmila Matondkar as Janhvi Verma (née Sahani)— Raj’s second wife
Saeed Jaffrey as Mr. Randhir Sahani— Janhvi’s uncle
Paresh Rawal as Hasmukhlal Singh Bhagat— Raj’s landlord
Farida Jalal as Mrs. Aruna Jindal— Kajal and Harry’s mother
Omkar Kapoor as Romi Verma— Raj and Kajal’s son
Alisha Baig as Preiti Verma— Raj and Kajal’s daughter
Johnny Lever as Harry Jindal— Kajal’s brother
Upasana Singh… Vaani Jindal (née Bhagat)— Harry’s wife and Hasmukhlal’s daughter / Seema Devi Bhagat— Hasmukhlal’s wife and Vaani’s mother
Kader Khan… Mr. Ramkishore Jindal— Kajal and Harry’s father
Poonam Dhillon… Nisha— Kajal’s friend (special appearance)
Dinesh Hingoo… Dr. Shivesh Chopra (special appearance)
Mehmood Jr…. Champak