Swami (1977)

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Shortly after Saudamani's birth, her dad passes away, leaving her in the care of her widowed mom, who re-locates to live with her elder brother in a small town. It is here that Saudamini ... See full summary »



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Director: Sai Paranjape
Stars: Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Sudha Chopra


Credited cast:
Saudamini 'Mini'
Suresh Chatwal ...
Charu's prospective groom
Nautanki dancer ( Special Appearance)
Utpal Dutt ...
Mini's maternal uncle
Vinita Dutt ...
Preeti Ganguli ...
Charusheela 'Charu' Devi
Ritu Kamal ...
Dheeraj Kumar ...
Nautanki dancer ( Special Appearance)
Shashikala ...
Ghanshyam's step-mother
Sudha Shivpuri ...
Mini's mom
Vikram ...
Narendra 'Naren'


Shortly after Saudamani's birth, her dad passes away, leaving her in the care of her widowed mom, who re-locates to live with her elder brother in a small town. It is here that Saudamini grows up, goes to school, and attends arts college. She is in love with her neighbor, Narendra, and hopes to marry him soon. But her mom and uncle have chosen Ghanshyam, a matriculate, who lives in another town. Her uncle passes away, and shortly thereafter Saudamini gets married & re-locates to Ghanshyam's house, who lives with his step-mother; step-brother, Nikhil, and his wife, Shobha; and an unmarried step-sister, Charusheela. Saudamani detests Ghanshyam at first, but feels sorry for him after she witnesses that while he does all the work, he is ignored by the rest of the family and the servants. She changes all that and slowly starts to admire, respect, and fall in love with him, and Ghanshyam also reciprocates. Everything changes when Narendra comes to visit with a hope of reviving his romance ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







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Ka Karoon Sajani
Sung by K.J. Yesudas
Music composed by Rajesh Roshan
Lyrics by Amit Khanna
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User Reviews

'A sin is no longer a sin when you ask for forgiveness with a pure heart'
22 August 2011 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Basu Chatterjee's 'Swami' may initially feel like another typical family drama from the 70s. Against her will, the heroine, Saudamini, is married off to the eldest son of the family. Her new home turns out to be dominated by her stepmother-in-law and stepsiblings-in-law who ill-treat Saudamini's husband. Sound familiar? However, what really makes the difference is the writing. It's no surprise that the film is adapted from Sharatchandra Chatterji's novel as the content is rich in character, depth and poetry. The characters are brilliantly defined and the story is well layered. Saudamini's in-laws are greedy, self-centered and gossipmongers but they are portrayed as humans rather than caricatures. Even their mistreatment towards Ghanshyam is depicted quite differently. They are nice and 'sweet' to him while taking advantage of his naivety and ignoring him when convenient.

Most of Chatterjee's films (Sharatchandra Chatterji's novels) have a strong female lead and so does 'Swami'. This is the highpoint of the film and the main reason that makes it stand out among other films of its kind. Saudamini is no pushover and she doesn't let her cruel in-laws walk all over her. Nor does she refrain from protesting against those who insult her. At the same time, she isn't shown to be the typical Bollywood heroine who fights back through calculating means.

Chatterjee's use of subtlety contributes beautifully. The dialogues are outstanding. 'A sin is no longer a sin when you ask for forgiveness with a pure heart' is one that echos at the end of the film and lingers in mind. With the exception of the Dharmendra - Hema Malini item number, the songs work splendidly adding to the lyrical flow and are used efficiently. The art direction is solid as the sets and costumes look authentic.

Shabana Azmi delivers yet another tour du force subtle performance. As good as her fellow co-stars are (Girish Karnad and Utpal Dutt are brilliant) Azmi very much carries the film with strong, nuanced and quiet acting. She also looks incredibly beautiful. 'Swami' is easily another film that showcases this immensely gifted actress's talent.

Told and lead by a strong young lady, this is a superb little film that deals with themes like acceptance, forgiveness, stamina, truth and strength. Basu Chatterjee has made another fine piece of cinema.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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