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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shashi Kapoor
Gennadi Vasilyev
Written by Yu Avetikov
Bharat B. Bhalla
Valentin Ezhov
Brij Katyal
Prayag Raj
Music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Cinematography Sergei Anufriyev
Aleksandr Kovalchuk
Peter Pereira
Edited by Bhanudas Divakar
Tatyana Malyavina
Distributed by Aasia Films Pvt. Ltd.
Gorky Film Studio
Release date
12 April 1991
Running time
179 mins
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 80 million (equivalent to 480 million or US$7.2 million in 2016)
Box office 45 million (equivalent to 270 million or US$4.0 million in 2016)

Ajooba is a 1991 Bollywood fantasy superhero film, produced and directed by Shashi Kapoor and also co-directed by the Soviet filmmaker Gennadi Vasilyev. It is a fantasy film loosely based on Arabian mythology (such as One Thousand and One Nights). A Russian language dub of the film was released in the Soviet Union as Vozvrashcheniye Bagdadskogo Vora (The Return of the Thief of Baghdad).

The Afghan kingdom of "Baharistan" is ruled by a just and kind Sultan Ali Rizwan Mohhamad Dokeer Khan (Shammi Kapoor). All is well in the land except that the Sultan seemingly can't have children. An evil devil-worshipping Vazir (Amrish Puri) seeks to usurp the throne, revive his "fauladi shaitan" (a huge demon-like figure made of stone), and take over the world. The Vazir instructs his maids to strangle every child born to the Sultan. Finally, however, a spark of divine intervention (presented literally as a spark which descends from the heavens and enters the womb) renders the next newborn son immune to the poisons and strangulations administered by the maids. This Shehezada (prince) eventually becomes Ajooba (miracle).

The Sultan and his wife Malika (Ariadna Shengelaya) kick off celebrations throughout the land. The good court magician Ameer Baba (Saeed Jaffrey), recently returned from his travels to the "land of Hind" (i.e., India), presents a magic sword to the Sultan. The Sultan thrusts it into a pillar (verifying its keenness), and Ameer Baba pronounces that it may be drawn out of the stone again only by a member of the royal family (rather like the Excalibur).

  • This film was produced in association with Gorky Studios in Moscow. There are several Russian stars whose speech is not in sync with Hindi dialogues
  • The film had a budget of Rs. 8 Crores, which was amongst the highest at the time.
  • Supposedly Amitabh Bachchan worked in this film gratis, as a favor to his longtime collaborator and friend Shashi Kapoor.
  • Though flopped but still it managed to do a net business of 4.5 crs. Later by selling the satellite rights SHASHI KAPOOR able to recover all his investment and subsequently become earner as on today.


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