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After the passing of her husband, Mrs. Mahajan takes care of four institutions, and lives a comfortable lifestyle with her two sons - Dr. Mohan and his wife, Maya; and Advocate Subhash Mahajan, his wife, Savitri, and their daughter, Rani. Savitri is unhappy as she wants a career for herself. She finally gets a chance to prove her skills in social services when she gets a job offer as Superintendent of a Women's Reformatory Home in distant Sangamwadi. Although Rani and Subhash as well as the rest of the family oppose her going, she has made up her mind. She arrives there and soon gets actively involved in the day to day activities of the institute, which is home to many women with a criminal background; who have been abused and beaten by their husbands; those who have been sexually assaulted; and even some with mental problems. After several months of her active involvement, Savitri is faced with a crisis when the Managing Committee, led by Chairperson Sheela Samson blames her for the ... Written by
Jabbar Patel has predominantly depicted political issues on the screen (with success too), but in UMBARTHA he doesn't only do that. While he has handled the issue of how the rehabilitation centres meant for desolate women are "actually" run (sex racket, money minting), he has also portrayed the sensitivities of a woman as a wife, a mother, as a member of her family, as a qualified social worker and as a head of the one of the many rehabilitation centres.
The protagonist (Smita Patil) has excelled in portraying her character to perfection. Also the support cast, as is the case with almost all the Jabbar movies, has done a good job. Hrudaynath Mangeshkar has beautifully woven the lyrics of Vasant Bapat, Suresh Bhatt and Narendra Sharma into his music. Songs are used brilliantly to portray emotions - 'Chaand maatala..' has subtle undercurrents of the same-sex relationship between the two women of the rehabilitation centre, Smita Patil recollects the beautiful moments with her husband through 'Sunya sunya maifilit..', and equally good is the prayer song 'Gagan tejomay..', voices being rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Ravindra Sathe.
All in all, definitely a message-driven movie. A sure trigger to the thought process!
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