Sadma, directed by Balu Mahendra, is perhaps the film that best captures the tragedy of loving unconditionally and losing everything in the end. Sadma means trauma in Hindi, and the film is about Nehalata (Sridevi), who has suffered a head injury in a car crash. As a result of this, she loses her memory and regresses to childhood. She is trapped in a brothel, and is rescued by K Somprakash (Kamal Haasan). K Somprakash is a lonely schoolteacher who is not interested in getting emotionally or physically involved even with a sexually frustrated woman called Soni (Silk Smitha), who attempts to seduce Somprakash at every opportunity. Somprakash lives in a small hill-town, and his life is very monotonous. He decides to take care of Nehalata, who no longer remembers her identity or her past and needs to be taken care of like a child. Somprakash, at first, gets easily irritated by Nehalata's behavior, but gradually starts getting used to it. His intentions noble, he starts 'raising' Nehalata. He feeds her, bathes her, sings to her and monkey-dances for her. Somprakash knows he must do everything for Nehalata till she regains her memory, and only till then. But despite himself, he falls in love with her. He names her Reshmi, and she calls him Somu
Balu Mahendra has extracted above-par performances from Kamal Haasan and Sridevi. Kamal Haasan is perfect as K Somprakash, the lonely schoolteacher whose dull life is lit up and filled with colors by the child-woman's presence. Somprakash is a mild-mannered, docile fellow, but displays a rare streak of anger when saving Reshmi/ Nehalata from the clutches of Balua (Gulshan Grover). Kamal Haasan perfected the role of a simple man who falls for the beautiful Sridevi, more through expressions than by way of words. Sridevi's performance in Sadma is easily one of her finest. As Nehalata/ Reshmi, Sridevi portrays the character of a child-woman suffering from memory loss with stupefying brilliance. Reshmi is the portrait of innocence – watch how she welcomes a stray dog into their fold and christens him Hari Prasad. The childlike manner in which she calls Somprakash 'Somu' will warm your heart first, and then tear it apart when you see how the movie ends. The best scene in the movie – and one of the absolute best in cinema – is the ending of Sadma. Reshmi regains her memory and becomes Nehalata again, and remembers nothing about the time she has spent with her Somu. At the railway station when she is being taken back to where she belonged before her car crash, Somprakash, outside the train, monkey-dances for her
before the trauma of losing her hits him and insanity takes over
Kamal Haasan is electrifying as the madly-in-love man, frantically trying to make the once-innocent girl remember him and the wonderful time they spent together, to make her realize she belongs completely and only to him. The story is very captivating, and if the ending of Sadma doesn't break your heart, you should get yourself checked to see if you have one. Never before or after have heartbreak and trauma been captured in a film this way, so avoid if you're feeling depressed or suicidal!
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