Current Date:10 December, 2022
Umbertha

Movie 4 D Week : Umbartha(1982)

Language : Marathi
Director : Dr.Jabbar Patel
I could watch just any film with Smita Patil in it. ‘Umbartha’ (‘Subah’ in Hindi) is Smita from the beginning right unto the end. Sulabha Mahajan (Smita Patil) is married to a lawyer, Subash (Girish Karnad), a family that is highly respected and supposedly liberal. Sulabha’s  mother-in-law is a social worker and wants her to join her group. Sulabha, a social-sciences degree holder, gets an offer to work in an NGO. She leaves home, and her six-year old daughter and husband, and joins the Mahila Ashram. Like ‘most’ NGOs it turns out that this too is an NG or a ‘No Good Organization’. It is a cover for money laundering, prostitution and other such illegal activities. Sulabha soon begins to set things right but figures everyone in the system, the Chairman of the Mahila Ashram to the local Corporator to the Ashram staff are all hand-in-glove. Destitutes, Lesbians, abused Housewives, Sexually-abused women, Criminals, Divorcees and other section of women not acceptable to ‘Modern Society’ end up in the Ashram. They have nothing to look forward to in life. In her fight against the system, Sulabha has to sacrifice herself. She goes back home only to find her daughter is secure in her sister-in-law’s company and doesn’t have any attachment whatsoever to her anymore. Her mother-in-law isn’t quite amused with Sulbha coming back either. Her husband reveals that while she was away he gave in to a physical need and has been sleeping around with another woman. He also tells Sulabha that there is no choice now but for her to make a small adjustment and life can go on like before. The film ends with Sulabha leaving on a train, her situation no better than any of the inmates of the Mahila Ashram she was trying to resurrect. The character of Subash is a little weak as written in, particularly so where he is discussing a case where he will make sure the woman, against who he is arguing a case, has no choice but to accept that her character is suspect. Watch this one just for Smita Patil and the subject it takes on. A middle-class woman fighting to hold her own, in a male-dominated society,  played so well by Smita Patil.
Screenplay by Vijay Tendulkar, based on Shanta Nisal’s novel ‘Beghar’.  Good music by Hridaynath Mangeshkar and some brilliant numbers sung by Lata Mangeshkar. ‘Sunya sunya maifilit maazya’, whatever that means, being my favourite. ‘Umbartha’ bagged two National Awards, one for Best Film and another for Best Director.
Been on a Marathi trip after my Tamil trip recently. Some interesting stuff happening in both these languages at the moment. ‘Valu’, ‘Natarang’ being good watch. And ‘Tingya’ still pending. Can’t seem to think of one new Hindi release I am dying to watch. ‘Rajneeti’, well… maybe. As for English, watched a disaster, ‘Bounty Hunter’. Even fab company didn’t make it any better. Thanks to two good friends I watched ‘Salesman Ramlal’, a play based on Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a salesman’. Role of a lifetime for the very under-utilized Satish Kaushik. Sure will visit Prithvi again and again.
Watched ‘Barah Aana’ and ‘Diksha’. Both fab. What an amazing film, ‘Diksha’. Easily Nana Patekar at his best. Also watched Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Broken Flowers’ last night. What a film and what an actor, Bill Murray. The Greenhornes* number that appears in the opening and end credits stays on in my mind. Attaching it below.
Useless trivia : Some trivia on one of my favourites, Smita Patil. Smita Patil was cast initially in Silsila along with Amitabh Bachan and Parveen Babi, before Jaya Bhaduri and Rekha, apparently recommended by Amitabh himself, were finalized. If I recall right from an old Yash Chopra interview on TV, Amitabh supposedly said “He’d talk to Rekha but it was upto Yash Chopra to convince Jaya”.:-)
 
Smita Patil was upset at being replaced in ‘Silsila’ and it is said it was at Amitabh’s behest that she was cast in ‘Namak Halal’.
NB : The long break is thanks to my directorial debut ‘Where the gods give up caste’ a 26 minute documentary funded by Films Division. Shoot done. Edit done, Rough Cut that is. Waiting for them Gods (FD) to revert.
The Greenhornes*
Words disappear
Words once so clear
Only echoes passing through the night
The lines on my face
Your fingers once traced
Fading reflection of what was
Thoughts rearrange
Familiar now strange
All my schemes drifting on the wind
Spring brings the rain
With winter comes pain
Every season has an end
I tried to see through the disguise
But the clouds were there
Blocking out the sun
Thoughts rearrange
Familiar now strange
All my schemes drifting on the wind
Spring brings the rain
With winter comes pain
Every season has an end
There’s an end
There’s an end
There’s an end
There’s an end
There’s an end

2 Comments

  1. Deep

    i had seen a moive on DD in FTII film show. Smita patil was unrecognizable in that movie! But she was looking extremely good. Movie was black and white. I don’t remember more. Name was like “teevra madhyam”
    it is right name?

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