Durected by: Balu Mahendra
Starring: Kamal Haasan, Sridevi, Gulshan Grover, Silk Smitha
I mainly rented this movie to catch a glimpse of Paintal, but I also ended up thoroughly enjoying this. I had to double-check the year it was released, because honestly…the film quality, and especially for an Indian film made in the early 80’s, it is incredibly crisp. Possibly one of the best-preserved Hindi films over the age of 20 that I’ve ever seen. It’s even managed to bump the 80’s up a notch in my list. Sadma is a remake of an earlier Tamil film (by about a year) ‘Moondram Pirai.’
It begins with Nehalata (Sridevi) on the beach singing with her friends. Nothing really to gab about, not even a very good song either. Then she gets into a car accident in the middle of the song (I was almost glad, I was beginning to worry it would be a long number) and ends up at the hospital not knowing her parents. The doctor explains that she has what medical professionals would call ‘Amnesia’. Search me why an average person, especially any average middle class Indian who’s probably seen several films with Amnesia plots by the time he or she is in their mid-50s wouldn’t know what amnesia is. Anyway, the doctor promises that in time she will recover her memories. But for the present, she thinks she’s 7 years old. The doctor advises that they take her to a psychiatrist and put her in a nursing home for the time being.
And then we meet Somu (Kamal Haasan) and his friend, Paintal (Paintal). Somu is a nice, timid, virginal schoolteacher. Paintal is a friend of his who hasn’t seen him in awhile…and as you can see, is absolutely dumb-founded that Somu hasn’t had the ‘company of a lady’ as of yet.
I’m not too surprised, though. They’re listening to Abba for god’s sake…
So it’s off to the wonderful land of brothels. What totally shocks me is the lack of dancing girls. Generally you always see them spinning about with groups of men surrounding them…but this place looks somewhat empty and ‘professional’. It’s almost like they’re running a business…but that’s crazy. We all know brothels are pleasant places, where young women willingly entertain men without expecting any form of remuneration in turn. Right?…right?
Since Somu ends up being terribly nervous, shy, and awkward…the madam decides to pair him up with Reshmi. When Reshmi shows her little head, we find out…big shocker, this isn’t Reshmi at all! It’s Nehalata. But how on earth did she end up here?
Somu and ‘Reshmi’ end up alone together in a bedroom. When Somu tries to politely ask her to sit down, she bashes him on the head with a silver cup. Understandably, he’s a bit upset about this. It definitely wasn’t the romantic gesture he was expecting…she apologizes, and begins to cry. And Somu, well…not one for awkward exchanges with innocent prostitutes…decides to leave.
Back at home, we find out how she ended up there. Though her parents have no idea that she’s in a brothel of all places…apparently, Nehalata ran away from the nursing home.
Somu returns and decides to give it another try to get to know Reshmi better. No, not in…that…sort of way. He just feels sorry for her, and a friendship begins to blossom between the two. She even tells him her real name, and explains that a man took her away from the doctor and told her he would take her to see her mother, but instead left her there at the brothel. Watching her tell this story is really heart-breaking. After a bit of thought, Somu decides to pay the madam to take Neha away for the evening…but really, he’s taking her away from that awful place forever. They flee on a train, with ice cream (and Iftekhar too)…never to look back…
Back at Somu’s home in the country, we meet his next door neighbor…a nice little old lady, and Soni (Silk Smitha) who obviously really has a thing for Somu. Now, while she speaks in a ‘smoldering’…I can’t help but wonder if she got ‘sexy’ and ‘strepp throat’ mixed up. She’s his wife’s boss, fyi.
Cue a sweet song with Somu and Neha, which is much better than the first musical number in this movie, it’s really obvious that the two are growing very close. Not in a perverted way, Somu isn’t a jerk…
One day, Somu goes to school and leaves Neha to spend the day alone…but that’s when she meets Balua (Gulshan Grover) and…needless to say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Just look at those conniving eyebrows…I‘m a proponent of the ‘judge people by the bushiness of their facial hair‘ school of thinking. And if that’s anything to go by, then this guy is definitely one of the bad eggs, if you know what I mean. Anyway, afterwards is a dancing monkey to cool the troubled minds of the distressed audience members…so it’s all good.
After a little spat between Neha and Somu, much later…Iftekhar returns to the picture, spotting an ad for the missing Neha in the newspaper. So, alas…the peace in their house with Neha and Somu will not last forever. But what happens next? Watch it yourself and find out, or read another review written by someone else which completely spoils the ending…I’d prefer you watched the movie, but it’s not up to me. Now, I’m going to have to give this movie 8 out of 10 bindis. I’d give it more, but the subtitles were mixed up (for some reason the bottom and top were reversed…) and I just couldn’t stand Soni.
Entry filed under: 5 and more Bindis, Exceptionally good (8-10), Film Reviews, Hindi, Languages. Tags: balu mahendra, bollywood, gulshan, gulshan grover, hindi, Iftekhar, kamal, kamal haasan, paintal, remake, silk smitha, sri devi, sridevi.