Rajkumar Santoshi’s controversial film Lajja is based on the plight of women in rural India – a hackneyed theme -- which has been ‘flogged’ umpteen times on the Indian screen. The film narrates the story of four women who have either been tormented or exploited by men for their selfish gains. It begins from the opulent city of New York and ends at a remote village in Uttar Pradesh.Rekha plays Ramdulari, who tries to make her village women self-sufficient. This progressive woman becomes a victim of the most regressive and darkest side of humanity, in death, that is. Madhuri Dixit is Janaki, who dares to live by her own unconventional rules.Then there is Vaidehi played by Manisha Koirala, who walks out on her husband and sets out on a significant journey. It is through her agonized eyes that the film is seen.No, we are not through yet. There is Mahima Chaudhary too. She is Maithili, who is a bride-to-be. Her helpless father bows to the demands and humiliation of the groom's parents. Maithili the daughter takes it all, until the woman in her takes over. Then she rebels.The first half of the film looks like a serial. But the plot thickens in the second half. The three memorable characters – Madhuri Dixit, Ajay Devgan and Rekha – are introduced in this half and the film picks up pace.Santoshi’s direction is OK. But Anu Malik's music is a curate’s egg –good in parts. 'Aaeeye, Aa Jaeeye' – Urmila Matondkar, 'Mujhe Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana Hai' – Sonali Bendre and 'Badi Mushkil Baba Badi Mushkil' – Madhuri and Manisha stand out for their skilful picturization.The film celebrates the coming together of four talented actresses. But it is veteran actress Rekha who walks away with the acting honors. It’s Rekha at her riveting and ravishing best. Madhuri Dixit is just fantastic. The ease with which she emotes this complex character reveals her mastery of the medium. Manisha Koirala has done a good job, too. while Mahima Chaudhary – a single-scene performer -- does it with verve and élan. Amongst the male leads, it is Ajay Devgan all the way. Anil Kapoor is, as always, his competent self. Macho man Jackie Shroff does not disappoint either. Danny Denzongpa, Gulshan Grover, Johny Lever and Tinnu Anand have also done justice to their roles.Urmila Matondkar and Sonali Bendre excel in their special appearances via the dance numbers.Overall, it’s a good film but suffers for want of a good script.