11 user 1 critic

Bhumika (1977)

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 »


Shyam Benegal


Hansa Wadkar (inspired by the book "Sangtye Aika") (as the late Hansa Wadkar), Girish Karnad (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Manthan (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Dr.Rao (Girih Karnad) is a Vetinary doc, who comes to this village with the aim of starting a Milk Co-operative society for the welfare of the villagers. But the wealthy businessman ... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil
Mirch Masala (1987)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In colonial India, subedars (tax collectors) went from village to village with soldiers, often demanding more than taxes. A subedar commands Sonbai, a beautiful and confident woman whose ... See full summary »

Director: Ketan Mehta
Stars: Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri
Nishant (1975)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Vishwam (Naseeruddin Shah) is the youngest brother of the powerful and influential village Zamindar (Amrish Puri). The Zamindar will not hesitate to do anything for the welfare and ... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Girish Karnad, Shabana Azmi, Anant Nag
Mandi (1983)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This classic film is based on a classic Urdu short story 'Aanandi' by Pakistani writer Ghulam Abbas. It deals with a brothel at the heart of a city, in an area that some politicians want ... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Laxmi lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in India along with her husband, Kishtaya, who is a deaf-mute. Both husband and wife work for the wealthy landlord. The landlord's son, Surya... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Shabana Azmi, Sadhu Meher, Anant Nag
Aakrosh (1980)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A public prosecutor discovers the harsh realities about life of the scheduled tribes in India during 1980s while defending a case of a tribesman charged of murdering his wife.

Director: Govind Nihalani
Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Amrish Puri
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

On a lazy afternoon, a man shares his memories of a storyteller friend who once narrated a convoluted love story with intertwined plots. As these plots unravel, reality mixes with fiction.

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Rajit Kapoor, Raghuvir Yadav, Siraj Ahmed
Arth (1982)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A film-maker who is having an extra-marital affair with an actress decides to leave his wife. Arth is the story of this women's search for her identity.

Director: Mahesh Bhatt
Stars: Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil
Ardh Satya (1983)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A newly appointed police rookie deals with corruption, romance, and brutality.

Director: Govind Nihalani
Stars: Om Puri, Smita Patil, Amrish Puri
Sparsh (1980)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Anirudh Parmar is blind, but he does not let this impairment bind him down. He runs a school for the blind as a Principal. He meets with social worker, Kavita. Kavita is attracted to him, ... See full summary »

Director: Sai Paranjape
Stars: Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Sudha Chopra
Junoon (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set during the 1857 War of Independence, an obsessed Indian Nawab desires to wed a young Anglo-Indian woman, but the girl's obstinate mother stands between them.

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Nafisa Ali, Shabana Azmi
Kalyug (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

This movie tells story of fierce and total competition of two related business families in the days of license raaj India.The overall plot is based on Mahabharat.This movie shows that how ... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Raj Babbar


Cast overview, first billed only:
Smita Patil ... Usha
Anant Nag ... Rajan
Naseeruddin Shah ... Sunil Verma
Amrish Puri ... Vinayak Kale
Amol Palekar ... Keshav Dalvi
Kulbhushan Kharbanda ... Film producer
Sulabha Deshpande ... Shanta
Baby Rukshana Baby Rukshana ... Young Usha (as Baby Ruksana)
B.V. Karanth B.V. Karanth ... Usha's Father
Dina Pathak ... Mrs. Kale
Mohan Agashe ... Siddharth
Kusum Deshpande Kusum Deshpande ... Shanta's Mother
Rekha Sabnis Rekha Sabnis ... Mrs. Yashwant Kale
Baby Bitto Baby Bitto ... Young Sushma
Savha Bajaj 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, then 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 (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 November 1977 (India) See more »

Also Known As:

The Role See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Blaze Film Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Contrary to the earlier popular trend of shooting a song or a cinematic sequence in colour, this was one of the first films to shoot the flashback scenes in black and white and the rest in colour. See more »


Referenced in Jhaptal See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Authentic, haunting, brilliant and fascinating!
30 November 2009 | by Peter_YoungSee all my reviews

Shyam Benegal's Bhumika: The Role is an example of superb, masterful cinema. The film relates the life story of a troubled actress named Usha Dalvi from her very childhood to her adulthood, and slowly follows her trials and tribulations, her coming of age, her relationships with different men, her despair, and finally her self-acceptance. Benegal partly adopts the style of Satyajit Ray's film-making and the film's first sequences remind me of Ray's Pather Panchali in the way it presents the childhood of Usha. These scenes are extremely well shot and let the viewer identify with the little girl and sense her simple and miserable yet memorable childhood. Benegal's direction is absolutely brilliant. Everything in the film represents his unique technique. The use of black and white photography for sequences from the past, the static camera work, the silent moments, the attention to the smallest of characters - all contribute to the film's dark, deep and serious tone and make the narrative style believable. The screenplay is fantastic and the story unfolds through undertones in a simple and natural way. It is all about subtlety and striking realism.

Smita Patil is simply exceptional as the main protagonist Usha. She gets a role which is both demanding and difficult and plays it with complete conviction, ease and intensity. Her character has many shades and that's where the film probably takes its title from. Every new phase in her personal life is similar to the previous - she virtually gets the same script, the same role. She played many roles but never could play her own self. We really feel for Usha as we witness her experiences, confusion and dissatisfaction from life, and that's thanks to Patil, who displays something very disturbing within her. She naturally shows the growth of her character and the power of her emotions through her expressive eyes and stark silence. This really is an unforgettable portrait of a celebrated yet unhappy woman from one of the most talented actresses ever. Apart from Patil, who is the film's owner, every actor without exception stands out. Sulabha Deshpande is excellent as Usha's mother, Amol Palekar is incredible as her devious husband. Naseeruddin Shah, Anant Singh, Amrish Puri and Dina Pathak are equally competent although they have much smaller parts.

All-in-all, Bhumika is an extraordinary piece. The film can be described as a drama but it is dramatic in a very different way from the usual Hindi films. As can be expected from a Shyam Benegal picture, you won't find here the dramatisation and the clichés one uses to associate with Hindi movies, there are no songs (only in film shooting scenes), no tear-jerking or larger-than-life dialogues, it is genuinely real, and although many would find it overly slow and banal, it is thoroughly fascinating and only grows on the viewer as it goes by. It not only gives us an insight into the complexity of human nature and relationships, but also a glimpse into the world of cinema and the life in the rural India with all its principles, values and difficulties, whether social or financial. It is one of the film's strongest depictions. Usha's transitions from one life to another, from one house to another, from one man to another, and the fact that every story is similar to another and that she herself does not know what she wants and how to deal with it really explain the meaning of the film. All of us have many roles to play, and at some point we will have to decide what role remains the most crucial to us and how we want to play it. This may be the main point of this rare gem.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Recently Viewed