The Blue Umbrella

Film Synopsis: The Blue Umbrella

Director: Vishal Bharadwaj

UTV Classics (Ronnie Screwvala)

Vishal Bharadwaj

Shreya, Pankaj Kapur

Vishal Bharadwaj


‘The Blue Umbrella’ is a heart warming adaptation of the beloved novella of the same name by Ruskin Bond. It is a film about desire, about the zealous attempt to fulfill it and finally its conquest.


The story unfurls with the discovery of a vibrant blue umbrella by Biniya, a ten-year-old girl from an idyllic mountain village in North India. She has never seen anything more striking and beautiful.


Neither has Nandkishore Khatri.


Nandkishore Khatri runs a small tea stall in the village. He is a miserly old man who likes to eat pickle and swindle kids off their little possessions. Nandkishore is smitten helplessly by the beauty of the blue umbrella and goes to remarkable lengths to acquire it but fails repeatedly. He gives up all hope and declares that he will forsake it and move on…


However, Nandkishore is not the only one to covet the umbrella. The umbrella’s arrival disturbs the tranquility and harmony of the whole village. Biniya’s secret weapon gives her an enviable power over the small town, as the umbrella now acquires a mythical status.


One find day the umbrella goes missing! The villagers are sympathetic to her misery but are convinced that Biniya’s carelessness has resulted in the loss. Alone and betrayed Biniya decides to take over.


What follows is a journey of Biniya and Nandkishore to a discovery, which is bitter-sweet and has wisdom far beyond the blue umbrella.


‘the blue umbrella’ being a metaphorical tale, is yet so contemporary. It questions the basic premise of mankind’s quest for superiority over others. It raises pertinent questions on the concept of material happiness and futility of the whole process.


Vishal Bhardwaj


With success like ‘Makdee’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Omkara’ behind him, Vishal has sealed his position as one of the more respected cinematic auteurs in the country today. He has shown an impressive range in screenwriting and visualization which have displayed his competence as a filmmaker. His films have had tremendous scope and variety to tackle themes varying from a children’s film (Makdee) to searing adaptations of Shakespearean classics ‘Macbeth’ (Maqbool) and ‘Othello’ (Omkara). These films received rave reviews and performed well at the box office. ‘Makdee’ won the Audience Award at the Chicago Children’s Film Festival and ‘Maqbool’ enjoyed rave reviews on the festival circuit from Berlin to Toronto. The latter also fetched actor Pankaj Kapur, one of the lead actors in ‘the blue umbrella’, a National Award.




Born in Deena (now in Pakistan) in August 1934, Gulzar is a key figure in the history of Indian cinema. His contribution to poetry, screenwriting and film direction in India is phenomenal.


Gulzar began his career as an assistant to the acclaimed filmmaker Bimal Roy. His first film as a lyricist was ‘Bandini’ which established his reputation as a sensitive lyricist in the 60’s. Since then he has written scripts for over 60 films and has directed 17. His talent extends to the small screen as well. Gulzar has won 16 Filmfare Awards in various capacities.


Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj is a much respected lyricist – music composer combination with approximately 10 films and various other music album collaborations behind them.


Shreya Sharma as Biniya


A sweet, unassuming 10-year-old girl, Biniya leads a simple life in her village up in the mountains. She loves her family dearly and worships her older brother, Bijju, a local wrestler and village champ.


Like all children, she is loyal and values her friends dearly and will defend them when they are in trouble. Wise beyond her years, Biniya possesses a maturity, which places her above the villagers, as she is the only person who can see through Nandkishore’s tricks. The blue umbrella makes her popular in the village but it does not take away any of her innocence. The umbrella comes to represent her whole world. But when it goes missing, she plunges into deep despair; alienated from her perceived source of popularity, only to discover that the friends and family she has all along is what makes her so special.


Pankaj Kapur as Nandkishore Khatri


Nandkishore Khatri is an obstinate, pickle-loving 60 year-old-man who owns a tea stall in a village. He is like a child who is constantly at war with village kids and invariably tries to fleece off their little possessions.


That being said, he is also a shrewd businessman, who knows the value of each rupee. He often cuts deals with the villagers, selling biscuits and toffees on credit in order to get what he wants. Although he has no real family to speak of, he has an affinity to the people of the village and treats them as his surrogate family. What he lacks in the way of education, he makes up for with his ability to charm the locals and foreign tourists. As soon as the blue umbrella crosses Nandu’s eyes, his desire for it and his constant need to be the centre of attention in the village, overtakes him and clouds his rational thinking. To possess it, he is willing to risk almost anything.

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