Bhumika : The Role

This is another movie Naseeruddin has mentioned in his autobiography. He has a very short role in this one.
Bhumika stars Smita Patil, Amol Palekar, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Dina Pathak, Anant Nag and  Kulbhushan Kharbanda and has been directed by Shyam Benegal.
It won Filmfare Award for Best Movie and two National awards.
The movie is based on the memoirs of a Marathi actress 'Hansa Wadkar'. It is a very bold movie for its times. In 2014, the story does not seem unique or earth shattering but in 1977 it was probably first of its kind.

Smita Patil led a difficult childhood. Her grandmother was a famous singer, her father an alcoholic and mother was strict. After the death of her father when she is still a teenager she is taken to Mumbai for a career in films since she can sing very well. Amol Palekar is a family friend and very much older to Smita in the movie but he wishes to marry her and helps build a career.
Smita's mother does not like the bonhomie between Amol and Smita but the more she puts restrictions the more Smita is attracted to Amol. Ultimately she has to let them marry because Smita is pregnant. Smita wants to give up her successful movie career and become a housewife but Amol is still struggling in his business and rejects the idea. Their relationship becomes abusive with Amol depending on her for money, becoming egoistic, jealous and even hitting her at times. For some reason, Smita does not throw him out of the house. Maybe because something like that would be blasphemous in 1977.
Smita has an affair with Naseeruddin Shah, a director but he is a thinker and does not believe in marriage. She moves out of her house and starts living apart where she meets Amrish Puri who is her neighbour. She moves to Amrish's hometown as his mistress. He has a bed ridden wife, son and mother living with him but Smita is welcomed with open arms. For sometime, she has everything she wants- status of a wife, taking care of the house, love and compassion of the child and mother. But once when she wants to go out alone Amrish does not allow it. He tells her clearly that she has to stay within the four walls of the house. This is unacceptable to her and she asks Amol to come pick her up. Which he does.
Like Amrish's first wife tells her; "The beds change, the kitchens change. Men's masks change, but men don't change".
Yes.. very cynical and different from today's times. But definitely a reality in those times.
An excellent movie and well ahead of its time. Imagine showing a married woman having affairs in the 70s. Way ahead of its times.
A must watch.


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