Sharda and her sister Poornima alias Nima live with their widowed father. Since both have come of age, he first arranges Sharda's marriage with a businessman named Balraj Kohli. Subsequently, Poornima also marries a wealthy young man. But fate has other plans for Nima, for her husband tragically passes away in an accident, leaving her widowed. When Sharda sees her sister in a widow's garb, she loses her mental balance and is institutionalized in Pune Mental Hospital. After approximately 14 years, an inmate strikes Sharda on her head, she loses consciousness for several days. When she regains her senses, she remembers everything that happened 14 years ago, but is unable to recollect her life in the mental hospital. Her treating psychiatrist is ready to discharge her to the care of her husband and her family. Sharda comes home, everything is about the same, except that her son, Sagar, has grown up and is about to be engaged to Sarita Sethi, and Nima still wears a widow's garb. A few ... Written by
A heartbreaking tale of love, marriage, and sacrifice
Very few Indian writers can script movies as well as Gulzar. This film is a realistic story of lifelike situations narrated beautifully on-screen. There is no such thing as bad, malicious or villainous in Gulzar's films, there are people who become victims of their own acts. This story is about two loving sisters, Sharda and Poornima, played by Raakhee and Rekha. Sharda loses her mental balance and goes into coma upon seeing her sister get widowed on her wedding night. After she is taken to a mental hospital, Poornima takes it upon her shoulders to look after her sister's family and her little son, and she ultimately marries her sister's husband. But alas, after over ten years, Sharda recovers and comes back. And then starts a dramatic chain of lies.
Every character in this extraordinary picture is greatly written and is given importance. The average viewer will find it hard to sympathise with Rekha's character, because it's naturally disgusting that a woman can in her own mind get married to her sister's husband. But if you look at it from another perspective, she did that because she was already living in this house and if she was to marry someone else (after all she had to get married again one day), it would mean she had to leave her sister's child all alone. So it's even logical she chose to do it. She did it solely for her sister, to save her family, and I personally see it as a major sacrifice.
Master R.D. Burman's music for the film is beautiful, the sets are appropriate and well designed, and the actors are well-cast, each in their own role. My favourite song is "Jahan Pe Sawera Ho Baseraa", which is breathtaking and perfectly performed by the divine Lata Mangeshkar. The story flows brilliantly without unnecessary drama or redundant subplots. The film quite clearly belongs to the two ladies, Raakhee and Rekha, who are amazingly convincing as two sisters. They actually resemble each other in their general appearance. Both were given amazing roles to play: sisters who sacrifice themselves for each other, just that it doesn't come across explicitly in the film.
Rekha quite owns the film and enjoys a bigger part and a role of much more substance and essence of character. She is compelling as a woman who is forced to do unconventional things by circumstances. She expresses anxiety and fear before her sister's comeback and suffering and pain when she is like a stranger in her own home wonderfully. But the winner is Raakhee, partly because, as said, it's hard to like Rekha's character, and partly because of her character's sacrifice at the end of of the film. This is one of Raakhee's most memorable performances and she is thoroughly believable and moving.
One of the most powerful scenes is the penultimate scene between Poonam Dhillon and Raakhee. Poonam acts intelligently and gently and Raakhee is top-notch. Their interaction is so real, that the scene shocks you at first, but ends up breaking your heart. From then on, the film is more of a typical tear-jerker, but there too it was presented in a very authentic sort of way. Baseraa is clearly one of the greatest Hindi family drama movies ever made on relationships, love and sacrifice.
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