Movie Review: Sadma

This Kamal Haasan-Sridevi starrer will leave you shocked and speechless

Film: “Sadma” (1983)

Director: “Balu Mahendra”

Actors: “Kamal Haasan”, “Sridevi”

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 behaviour, 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 colours 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 realise 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!

[One of my Buzz Reccos on Buzz18]

Movie Review: Chhoti Si Baat

15 Responses to “Movie Review: Sadma”

  1. 1 Shibani
    December 10, 2009 at 05:20

    Crazy movie….till the end u dont know wats gonna happen and then its unbelievable…..
    i was shocked on kamal hassan’s behalf…too tragic an ending


  2. 2 Poonam
    December 10, 2009 at 10:23

    Loved the movie.
    Nice review. 🙂


  3. 3 ritesh mayekar
    December 10, 2009 at 11:43

    I cried during the ending.

    The song Surmayee Ankhiyon Mein (Sad) sung by Dr K. J. Yesudas is beautifully picturised.

    Good review but some mention of the songs was also expected.


    • December 10, 2009 at 11:46

      Saw the movie years ago and don’t remember any of the songs. I will check out the music since you’re talking so much about it.

      The ending really fucking hit me, man!


      • 5 Devdutt
        December 11, 2009 at 00:33

        Aye Zindagi Gale Laga Le is a quintessential whisky song, man! And that final scene is all you said it is; still sends goosebumps down my spine.


  4. 6 Nishant
    December 11, 2009 at 04:10



  5. 7 Roy
    December 11, 2009 at 13:56

    I watched it as a child, laughed my heart out throughout at Kamal and Sridevi’s funny moment, and bitterly cried in the end…I remember.

    This review is refreshing dude.


  6. 8 Jenny
    December 12, 2009 at 05:55

    Wont be watching this movie because I hate sad endings!!!
    THANX for the warning LOL



  7. 9 NPR
    February 26, 2011 at 16:36

    Yes, a simple story told cleanly, effectively. Any movie which touches your heart and characters with whom one can identify with — always lingers in your memory for a long time!

    Anybody who has seen Sadma, can never forget it in their lifetime!


  8. 10 Rinkel
    June 7, 2011 at 22:15

    recently saw the movie…developed a crush on it…stll in daze over it….the movie is a master piece!…….

    i jusssssss sooooooo fell in love with ‘somu’…….

    kamal hassan has such seductive voice……

    the movie is so far one of the best i have seen…..the ending….which i hve seen earlier too at different occassions [ never the whole film tll last week] gave me goos bumps even thinking abt it……i soo desperately wnted to see wht happens in their lives next. asequel shud hve been made…god! jus wnt to enter tht era and that world!


  9. 11 Rasim
    September 19, 2012 at 23:00

    Class performance by the great actor Kamal Hassan and the beautiful Sreedevi. “Surmayee Ankhiyon Mein” by Dr. Yesudas was marvellous.


  10. May 25, 2014 at 06:10

    They still looks like he’s twenty-five. Amazing.


  11. 13 Anonymous
    April 5, 2015 at 10:38

    very best movie what i had early saw.kamalhsan has done marvellous action in ending.everybody must watch it.


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