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Sati (1989)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 47 users  
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Close to the holy River Ganga, an ancient tree provides shelter and comfort to Uma, a mute, orphan, Brahmin girl. Treated like a drudge by her cruel aunt, Uma is also cursed by a horoscope ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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Title: Sati (1989)

Sati (1989) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Uma
Arun Bannerjee ...
(as Arun Bandopadhya)
Kali Bannerjee ...
(as Kali Bandopadhya)
Pradip Mukherjee ...
(as Pradip Mukopadhya)
Arindam Gangopadhyay ...
(as Anndam Ganguli)
Shakuntala Barua
Ratna Ghoshal
Ketaki Dutta
Menaka Das
Ajit Banerjee ...
(as Ajit Bandopadhya)
Bimal Deb ...
(as Dev Bimal)
Monu Mukherjee ...
(as Manu Mukopadhya)
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Storyline

Close to the holy River Ganga, an ancient tree provides shelter and comfort to Uma, a mute, orphan, Brahmin girl. Treated like a drudge by her cruel aunt, Uma is also cursed by a horoscope that portends widowhood. This might not be such a bad thing as this is 1828 and it will be next year before the British outlaw the religiously enforced burning of widows on their husbands' funeral pyres ("sati/suttee"). However, the priest thinks it a sin that a girl over the age of puberty is not married and tradition has it that a younger member of the family cannot marry before an older one. A solution is found: Uma is married to the tree. When she becomes pregnant (the victim of an assault by the local schoolteacher) not even the superstitious villagers believe that the tree is the father and Uma is ostracised for having been unfaithful to her "husband". Sent to live in the cowshed, Uma is forced to shelter in her tree when the cowshed is blown away during a violent storm. Lightning blasts the ... Written by van Goethem

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Details

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Release Date:

23 November 1989 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Widow Burning  »

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User Reviews

Heartbreaking and Harrowing
3 January 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

'Sati' tells a simple but disturbing story of a mute village girl who is mostly neglected by her family and asked to do household chores. As tradition would have it, she's seen as a burden by her family because of her inefficiency and who in the village would want to marry a mute girl? She's forced to marry a tree and things only get worse when she's pregnant. Aparna Sen carefully directs the film. The sets are all very simple and the background score is minimal, adding rawness to the village environment. Shabana Azmi is cast in the main lead and the actress does nothing short of giving an excellent heartbreaking performance. Her Uma is one of the most tragic figures in Indian cinema. The look on Uma's face that we see through the drapes, in the final storm scene when everyone lock themselves inside (to protect from the storm) is unforgettable. Almost two decades later Sen would cast her again in the marvelous '15 Park Avenue'. Here too Sen uses a lot of symbolic elements, an obvious one being Uma's muteness which reflects the silent suffering of society's helpless women suffering. Another contrast for gender preference is shown in how pleased the people are that the cow gives birth to a female calf but how disappointed hey are when a woman gives birth to a daughter. The supporting cast range from adequate to wooden. 'Sati' is a wonderful but heartbreakingly harrowing film. One needs to have the mental preparation to sit through it as it deserves to be watched.


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