|Directed by||Balu Mahendra|
|Produced by||Raj N. Sippy|
Romu N. Sippy
|Story by||Balu Mahendra|
|Edited by||D. Vasu|
Sadma (transl. Trauma) is a 1983 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film written, directed and filmed by Balu Mahendra. It stars Kamal Haasan and Sridevi in the lead roles along with the music composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The film tells the story of Nehalata Malhotra, a young woman who regresses to childhood as result of retrograde amnesia after suffering a head injury in a car crash. Lost, she ends up trapped in a brothel before being rescued by Somu, a lonely school teacher who falls in love with her. The film was initially released on July 8, 1983 and then 2 weeks later released on July 22 in Delhi and other areas.
The film was a remake of Mahendra's own 1982 Tamil film Moondram Pirai, which also starred Kamal and Sridevi. Sadma was widely acclaimed by critics for its direction, screenplay, music and performances. Sridevi's performance as an amnesiac woman was widely praised and is considered as one of the finest performances in Indian film history. Although a commercial failure upon release, Sadma over the years has gained a cultural following and cult status and is considered to be one of the finest Indian movies to be ever made.
Nehalata, a young woman, has a car accident while returning from a party and is hospitalized with severe head injuries. When she recovers, she is diagnosed with retrograde amnesia. Having mentally regressed to the state of her 6-year-old self, she fails to recognize her elderly parents. While she is undergoing treatment, she is kidnapped and sold to the madam of a brothel. Somprakash, also known as Somu, visits the brothel with his old friend to relax. The madam sends Nehalata, renamed Reshmi, to his room. Somu realizes that she is mentally a child and pities her upon learning how she came to the brothel. He questions her about her family and background, but due to her condition she is unable to reveal enough information for him to locate her parents.
Somu rescues Reshmi from the brothel, under the pretense of a pleasure trip. He takes her to his home in Ooty, where he works as a school teacher. His elderly neighbor, whom he refers to as Nani (Grandmother), helps him care for Reshmi. Although Somu is aware of Reshmi's physical beauty, their relationship is strictly that of a child and protective caregiver, and she becomes trusting of him. Their bond is briefly threatened when Reshmi accidentally spills ink over Somu's documents, angering him, but they reconcile. Later, a local woodcutter named Balwant lusts for Reshmi and nearly assaults her, but she manages to save herself. When Somu learns of it, he becomes livid with rage and almost kills Balwant. In a side plot Soni, the lonely younger wife of Somu's middle-aged headmaster, repeatedly attempts and fails to seduce Somu, who does not reciprocate her feelings.
Reshmi's father, who was searching for her through the police, releases a newspaper advertisement about her. He is given a lead by a co-passenger of the train that Somu and Reshmi had taken to Ooty. Meanwhile, Somu takes Reshmi to a medicine man and leaves her with him for a day's treatment. The police arrive at Somu's house searching for Reshmi, eventually tracing her to the medicine man's home. Somu, fearing police action, does not follow them there. The treatment is successful, with Reshmi (now Nehalata again) regaining her memory, recognizing her parents, and completely forgetting the period between her accident and recovery. She and her parents rejoice and prepare to leave Ooty. The medicine man informs her father that the man who had brought her to him had been taking good care of his daughter; her father withdraws his police complaint and the family begin their journey home.
After the police leave, Somu chases the car in which Reshmi is traveling, falling and severely injuring himself in the process. Covered in mud, he limps after them to the railway station and tries to get Reshmi's attention at her train seat window, but she does not remember him. Somu repeatedly calls out to her and tries to mimic a dancing monkey that she had developed a liking for but Reshmi, unable to comprehend, thinks he is insane and begging for food. He continues his futile attempts, but the train eventually leaves with Reshmi not recognizing him. Somu is left alone at the station, heartbroken.
- Kamal Haasan as Somprakash "Somu"
- Sridevi as Nehalata Malhotra "Reshmi"
- Gulshan Grover as Balua
- Silk Smitha as Soni
- Paintal as Paintal
- Arvind Deshpande as J. K. Malhotra
- Viju Khote as Police Inspector David
- Birbal as Shamu
- Leela Mishra as Somu's Neighbor "Nani"
- Ashalata Wabgaonkar as Rajeshwari Malhotra
- Shreeram Lagoo as Dr. Khandeparkar
- Padma Chauhan as Madam
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|1||"O Babua, Yeh Mahua"||Asha Bhosle|
|2||"Yeh Hawaa, Yey Fiza"||Asha Bhosle, Suresh Wadkar|
|3||"Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le"||Suresh Wadkar|
|4||"Surmayee Ankhiyon Mein" (Happy)||K. J. Yesudas|
|5||"Surmayee Ankhiyon Mein" (Sad)||K. J. Yesudas|
|6||Ek Dafa Ek Jungle Tha||Kamal Haasan, Sridevi|
- 'Sadma' marked Ilaiyaraaja's debut in Bollywood.
- Music director A. R. Rahman worked as an keyboard player for this film.
- Ilaiyaraaja retained two of his compositions from the original Tamil version.
- The song "Vaanengum Thanga Vinmeengal" was tuned differently for the Hindi version as "Yeh Hawa Yeh Fiza".
- The song "Narikkathai" was replaced with the song "Ek Dafa Ek Jungle Tha" in the Hindi version.
- The cult song "Poongatru Puthithanathu" was replaced with slightly different "Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le" which itself went on to become a cult song in Hindi after which it was used in 1984 Tamil movie "Thambikku Entha Ooru" sung by SPB. Ae Zindagi Gale laga Le was remade for the movie Dear Zindagi(2016) by Amit Trivedi.
Sadma was released on 8 July 1983. In 2015, Sadma was screened at the Habitat Film Festival.
Sadma received widespread critical acclaim with major appreciation drawn towards Sridevi's performance. On IMDb, the film has a high score of 8.5/10. It is included in iDiva's list of '10 Must Watch Movies That Weren't Blockbusters'. Sridevi's performance as a child-woman suffering from amnesia was called by Indian Express "a milestone in her illustrious career". Sridevi also featured in the Mid Day list of 'Challenging Roles played by Bollywood Actors' describing her act in the film as "her best performance ever". In 2012, Adil Hussain, Sridevi's co-star in English Vinglish revealed that he became a fan of the actress after watching her in Sadma. The Sridevi-Kamal Haasan pair also appeared on the CNN-IBN list of 'Greatest Romantic Couples on Celluloid'. The climax of Sadma is included in the CNN-IBN list of 'Bollywood's 50 Most Memorable Scenes of All Time'.
Awards and nominations
- Filmfare Award for Best Story - Balu Mahendra
- Filmfare Best Actor Award - Kamal Haasan
- Filmfare Best Actress Award - Sridevi Kapoor
- Biswas, Soutik (15 July 1993). "A creative flowering". India Today. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Gulzar on his first meeting with A.R. Rahman |". Tanqeed. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- "The 10th Habitat Film Festival 2015" (PDF). Habitat Film Club. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
- idiva.com. "10 Must Watch Movies That Weren't Blockbusters".
- Indian Express. "The Forbidden Love".
- Mid-day. "Challenging Roles played by Bollywood actors".
- Bollywoodtrade.com. "Adil Hussain: I became Sridevi's fan after watching SADMA".
- "100 Years of Indian Cinema: The greatest romantic couples on celluloid". CNN-IBN.
- "100 Years of Indian Cinema: Bollywood's 50 most memorable scenes of all time". CNN-IBN.