Madhuri Dixit's performance and the re-write of the Ramayana almost saved this movie (which should have ended three characters earlier than it did).
Heavyhanded dialogue, a ridiculous plotline, waaaaay too many characters, and DULL direction drag down good work by Mads and Rekha.
Most infuriatingly, it continues to promote gender roles; women are the keepers of parampara and the izzat of the family, and of course they can't be happy unless they're happily married.
I have always thought Bollywood capable of doing more with its 3-hour stories than present love-triangles or run-around trees. This movie is an example of that. It is a happy medium between the typical over-the-top melodrama common to Bollywood with its song and dance numbers and the message movies that were often given "tax-free" status by the Indian government to encourage viewer-ship (this never worked).
The main story is that of Vaidehi (Koirala) who in her journey to escape her husband comes across four other oppressed women. The film has a happy ending but not before it lambasts a religious epic and its god-hero and rails at society. All a bit over-the-top, especially as Koirala also turns sappy and forgives her mean husband who goes from conscienceless to loving in a quite implausible turn. Still, movies like this should be made more often heroine role-models are few and far-between in Indian cinema.