Even in our parents' generation, out-of-the-box thinking was around the corner. The story of the award winning movie Bhumika portrays the character of a film actress who seems thrown into that life,sucks it up and loses her innocence in the process.
A simple story but the surprise factor isn't Smita Patil. It's Amol Palekar. The few movies he has acted has all been subtle comedy and simple feel good movies like Golmaal, Baaton Baaton Mein and Choti Si Baat amongst others. In Bhumika, he plays the confused,forceful husband of Smita forcing her to work in movies when she wants a simple life. Totally against the picture we had of him after being fed with the innocence of his earlier mentioned movies :)
What it's all about
Directed by Shyam Benegal, Bhumika delves deep into the mind of a woman from humble origins and her path to success although short lived,her life as a woman,her expression of freedom and ofcourse society. The character of Smita is from a Brahmin background where her grandmother is a known singer. Frowned upon by society the family, comprising of her mother,drunkard father and odd job man Palekar, isn't very happy about the influence of arts but enjoys it in their sublty hypocritical manner ,typical of society then (and now? ).
Financial problems of the family lead them to be dependant on Palekar's suggestion that Smita should work in movies. The story takes on from there how her life changes amongst gossip with a fellow actor,Palekar's sort-of influential relationship,constant pressure on her about bread-earning for the family and affairs with a director (Naseeruddin Shah ) and Amrish Puri. In the end she is back to her loneliness,despite life offering her chances from all sides. The sides being,her husband and attached-by-gossip actor friend.
I think for a movie of that time to boldly come up with such a theme is brilliant and thought provoking. Woman being a bread winner,portraying the life of an actress sans the glam is nicely shown.
Using Palekar and portraying his acting abilities as opposed to comedy is again worth mentioning.
I am not sure if the character of Smita is how Sridevi and Rekha's lives have been,though only the rise to stardom.
The affair with Puri may have been a last chance for Smita's character to show that she wanted a chnace to a simple life as a wife,mother and daughter in law.although she got all these as being a mistress allowed to live in his house.
Her resentment shown to Puri for not being allowed to go out of the house may have been the simmering protest in her and the way men in her life has treated her.