Madhumati is a 1958 Hindi drama film produced and directed by Bimal Roy, and written by Ritwik Ghatak and Rajinder Singh Bedi. Its music was composed by Salil Choudhury with lyrics written by Shailendra. The film stars Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala in the lead roles with Pran and Johnny Walker. It was one of the earliest films to deal with reincarnation and had a gothic noir feel to it. The first and only collaboration between Roy and Ghatak, it was one of their most commercially successful and influential films. Madhumati won the National Film Awards for Best Feature Film in Hindi and nine Filmfare Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Music Director, Best Female Playback Singer, Best Dialogue, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematographer.
Janam Janam, the 1988 Hindi film starring Rishi Kapoor, is a remake of Madhumati. In 2007, Farah Khan and Shahrukh Khan made Om Shanti Om using some plot elements from Madhumati but did not credit the earlier film.
On a stormy night, Devendra (Dilip Kumar), an engineer, drives down a hill road with his friend to fetch his wife and child from the railway station. A landslide blocks their path and the friends take shelter in an old mansion off the road. Devendra finds the house uncannily familiar. In the large front room, he finds an old portrait which he recognises. His friend and the old caretaker join him, and Devendra, amidst flashes of memory from another life, sits down to tell his story while the storm rages outside.
Anand (Dilip Kumar) had come to Shyamnagar Timber Estate as its new manager. An artist in his spare time, he roamed the hills and fell in love with Madhumati (Vyjayantimala), a tribal girl whose songs have haunted him from a distance. Anand's employer, Ugra Narayan (Pran) is a ruthless and arrogant man and, as Anand refuses to bend down to him like others, he incurs his wrath. Anand has enemies among his staff. Sent away on an errand, he returns to find that Madhumati has disappeared. He learns that Madhumati had been taken to Ugra Narayan and confronts him, but he is beaten unconscious by Ugra Narayan's men. While the men are taking Anand's body out of the palace, they meet Madhumati's father (Jayant) who has to fight for his own daughter's deat
He does it and wins but dies lying on the road, while Charandas (Johnny Walker) hides and takes Anand's body to the hospital.
Anand's life is saved but his mind wanders. One day, he meets a girl who looks exactly like Madhumati. She says she is Madhavi but Anand refuses to believe her and is beaten up by her companions when he tries to plead with her. Madhavi finds a sketch of Madhumati and realises he was speaking the truth. She takes the sketch and learns his story. Meanwhile, Anand is haunted by the spirit of Madhumati who tells him that Ugra Narayan is her killer. He appeals to Madhavi to pose as Madhumati before Ugranarayan and help him get a confession out of him and she agrees.
Returning to Ugranarayan's palace, Anand begs permission to do a portrait of him. Next evening, with a storm brewing outside, Anand paints Ugra Narayan. At the stroke of eight, Ugra Narayan sees the pretend-Madhumati in front of him. Shaken, he confesses the truth. The police waiting outside the room come and take him away. Anand suddenly realises that the questions Madhavi asked Ugra Narayan were things she could not have known, as even Anand did not know, such as where Madhumati was buried. Madhavi just smiles and moves towards the stairs. The real Madhavi, dressed as Madhumati, then rushes into the room. She is late, for the car failed on the way. Anand realises it was Madhumati's ghost he had seen, not Madhavi. He runs up to the terrace, where the ghost beckons to him. Madhumati had fallen from the same terrace, trying to escape Ugra Narayan. Anand follows the ghost, falling to his own death.
Devendra's story is over. But he says "I finally did have Madhumati as my wife. In this life – Radha." Just then, news arrives that the train in which his wife was travelling has met with an accident. The road is cleared, and they rush to the station. Devendra's wife, Radha (Vyjayantimala) appears, unhurt with her baby.