|Directed by||Shyam Benegal|
|Produced by||Shashi Kapoor|
|Written by||Shyam Benegal (screenplay)|
Satyadev Dubey (dialogues)
Ismat Chugtai (dialogues)
Ruskin Bond (novella, A Flight of Pigeons)
|Narrated by||Amrish Puri|
|Music by||Vanraj Bhatia|
|Edited by||Bhanudas Divakar|
Junoon (Hindi?, translation: The Obsession) is a 1978 Indian Hindi language film produced by Shashi Kapoor and directed by Shyam Benegal. The film is based on Ruskin Bond's fictional novella, A Flight of Pigeons, set around the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The film's soundtrack was composed by Vanraj Bhatia, and cinematography by Govind Nihalani.
Its cast included Shashi Kapoor, his wife Jennifer Kendal, Nafisa Ali, Tom Alter, Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Pearl Padamsee and Sushma Seth. The film also featured Shashi and Jennifer's children Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor.
The story is set around the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Javed Khan (Shashi Kapoor) is a reckless feudal chieftain with a Muslim Pathan heritage, whose world revolves around breeding carrier pigeons. His younger brother-in-law, Sarfaraz Khan (Naseeruddin Shah) is politically awakened and actively plots the fight against the British. Freedom fighters attack the local British administrators while they are in Sunday Worship at Church, massacring them all. Miriam Labadoor (Jennifer Kendal) manages to escape with her daughter, Ruth (Nafisa Ali) and mother (Ismat Chugtai), who is a Muslim lady from the royal Nawab family of Rampur and was married to an Englishman. The three women seek refuge with the wealthy Hindu family of Lala Ramjimal (Kulbhushan Kharbanda). Lala is torn between his loyalty for India and his privileged position under the British, and also his silent love towards Miriam, who seems to also reciprocate it silently. However, matters are taken out of his hand by Javed Khan who barges into Lala's house and forcibly takes Ruth and her family to his own house. This leads to jealousy on part of his wife, Firdaus (Shabana Azmi) and anger on part of his brother, who ultimately gives in to the Pathan tradition of offering hospitality and sanctuary (Nanawatai) even to uninvited guests. Various situations ensue due to cultural misunderstandings in the domestic routine of the Muslim household with its new English guests. Javed falls in love with Ruth, and wants to marry her but is opposed bitterly by her mother. Noticing intense feelings of Javed for her daughter Ruth, Miriam Labadoor (mother) cleverly makes an agreement with Javed that she would only give her daughter's hand to Javed if British were defeated. At first instance, Javed is hesitant but accepts the offer when again Miriam asks him if he has misgivings in his war against the British. There are simmerings of a love affair under the watchful suspicious eyes of Firdaus.
Meanwhile, the Rebellion runs into problems and the British are defeating the poorly organized Indian forces. In a stormy scene, Sarfaraz destroys Javed's pigeon coops and sets his pets free after he finds out that Indian forces have lost the Battle for Delhi. There is a delayed recognition by Javed of his subjugated identity, colonised by the British. Sarfaraz dies in a battle against the British. The Labadoors return to the protection of the re-deployed British contingent, smuggled by Firdaus, who only wants to save her marriage. Javed finds out that the Labadoors have sought sanctuary in the church and rushes there to meet Ruth one last time. Surprisingly, Ruth comes out and expresses her feelings for Javed against her mother's will. However, Javed honourably keeps his word and the promise he had made with Miriam Labadoor and leaves the church without Ruth. The movie ends here with the voiceover that Javed was martyred fighting the British while Ruth and her mother return to England. Ruth dies fifty five years later, unwed.