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Bhumika: The Role (1977)

 -  Drama  -  11 November 1977 (India)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 264 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 1 critic

Coming from a poor and destitute family, Urvashi is encouraged by her mother, Shanta (Sualbha Deshpande) to be on more than friendly terms with a much older male, Keshav Dalvi (Amol Palekar... See full summary »



(inspired by the book "Sangtye Aika"), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Bhumika: The Role (1977)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anant Nag ...
Sunil Verma
Vinayak Kale
Amol Palekar ...
Keshav Dalvi
Film producer
Sulabha Deshpande ...
Baby Ruksana
B.V. Karanth
Dina Pathak ...
Mrs. Kale
Mohan Agashe
Kusum Deshpande
Rekha Sabnis
Baby Bitto
Savha Bajaj


Coming from a poor and destitute family, Urvashi is encouraged by her mother, Shanta (Sualbha Deshpande) to be on more than friendly terms with a much older male, Keshav Dalvi (Amol Palekar). Keshav takes a liking to young Urvashi, and encourages her to explore her talents in films, which she does, and does gain popularity, starting as a singer, than accomplishing herself as an actress/singer. She decides to marry Keshav, only to be discouraged by her own mother, but she is strong-willed, and does marry him. She has a baby girl after the marriage, but feels stifled and oppressed with Keshav, and has affairs with her co-star Rajan (Anant Nag), a film producer, Sunil Verma (Naseeruddin Shah), but ends up dissatisfied. Then she meets wealthy Vinayak Kale (Amrish Puri), and decides to settle down with him, little knowing that he is already married to another woman, and also has a son. By the time she finds out it is too late, she has already been accepted in his household, and any woman, ... Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

11 November 1977 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Bhumika: The Role  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Was the first film after the rural oppression trilogy by Benegal. See more »


Referenced in Jhaptal See more »

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User Reviews

Smita Patil, Amol Palekar, Shyam Benegal at their best!
6 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Bhumika (1977) - A film by Shyam Benegal Sahab

'Bhumika - The Role' is probably the best role ever played by Smita Patil in her career. 'Usha' the character played by her is throughout her life seeking happiness but she never attains. She falls in love and romantic liaisons with a number of men each of whom ends up unsatisfying her emotionally. One is weak and lacks confidence, another is too over the top philosophically who even hates the concept of 'love', another one almost deceives her with charm and confidence only later letting her realize that she will be a prisoner of his family traditions and their culture which won't even allow a women to step outside his house after death.

In the end she is rescued by the man called Keshav, superbly played by Amol Palekar. He is in the first place the reason for all her misery to begin with. He has his own personal needs and agendas. He sees an opportunity to exploit young Usha's charm and abilities and gets her into the film business, convincing her mother with perhaps deceiving arguments and assurances. A young Usha was only supposed to be in the profession for three or fours years but we are introduced to her character when she is her late 30s or early 40s and still in the same business.

Shyam Benegals Sahab has made a brilliant film which for majority of its running time runs in the flashbacks. A shoot is taking place. A mild twisting of an ankle by one of the background dancers halts the shoot where Usha is the lead. Since the scene cannot be completed the director decides to call for packup.

Usha doesn't have any scenes so she can go home. From the this early moment in the film one can start to see her unhappiness. She was delightfully cheerful for the eyes and the mind while she was in front of the camera. As soon as she is back in the real world, she looks sad and disturbed and a bit gloomy. This is further established by an un- importantly tiny gesture that his fellow actor makes for her by giving her a lift back home which irritates Keshav, her much older husband.

It is at this moment in story when the character Keshav is introduced. By his very looks and super makeup and costume, and on top his brilliant performance by Amol Palekar, we can anticipate and predict that the forthcoming interaction between the two characters is not going to be pleasant.

Director Sahab doesn't waste any time in any illogical and unnecessary melodrama and instead take the story right to the point. After this brief interaction and her expression of angst and frustration we come to know that this is a common occurrence in her life. This leads to an argument which is followed by Usha walking out of the house and taking a refuge in hotel.

It is at this familiar hotel in her familiar room that the flashbacks start. The very first flashback is of Usha's childhood which is brilliantly shot in black and white. A much younger looking Amol Palekar and Sulabha Deshpande who plays Usha's mother and a young Usha played by little girl (sorry couldn't find her name) perform with such sheer brilliance and conviction that you are suddenly taken back in their times and you get a feeling of actually being there.

I can keep on going about this film with its wonderful cinematography, direction, editing and performances but I'll cut the chase out and get climax of my point!


I feel like punching myself in face for not having seen this film earlier!

Hats off to Shyam Benegal Sahab, Smita Patil and a very brilliant Amol Palekar sahab.

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