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Directed by Balu Mahendra
Produced by Raj N. Sippy
Romu N. Sippy
Written by Balu Mahendra (screenplay)
Gulzar (lyrics)
Story by Balu Mahendra
Starring Sridevi
Kamal Haasan
Gulshan Grover
Silk Smitha
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Balu Mahendra
Edited by D. Vasu
Release date
8 July 1983
Running time
141 mins
Country India
Language Hindi

Sadma (Hindi: सदमा; English: Trauma) is a 1983 Indian drama movie directed by Balu Mahendra which stars Sridevi and Kamal Haasan in the lead with music composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The film tells the story of Nehalata (Sridevi), a young girl who regresses to childhood after suffering a head injury in a car crash. Lost, she ends up trapped in a brothel before being rescued by Somu (Kamal Haasan), a lonely school teacher who falls in love with her.

The film is a remake of the 1982 of Balu Mahendra's own Tamil Film Moondram Pirai, starring Sridevi and Kamal Haasan. Sridevi's autistic child-woman performance was widely praised and is considered one of the finest performances and also brought her nominations in the Filmfare Best actress award category as well as State awards and National Awards. Kamal's performance in the film's climax won him the National Award in the Tamil original. The film flopped at the box-office, but achieved cult status and is regarded as an all time classic featuring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi's best performances. Sridevi's role was initially offered to Dimple Kapadia, but she could not accept the role due to other commitments.[1]


Nehalata (Sridevi) is a young, modern girl who meets with an accident. The parents are concerned as their daughter is unable to recognise them. The doctor diagnoses her with retrograde amnesia that leaves her with the memory and intelligence of a six or seven-year-old. Circumstances lead her into prostitution, and in the brothel she meets Somu (Kamal Haasan). He realizes that she has been tricked into the trade. He rescues her and takes her to his home in Ooty where he lives with his grandmother and begins to take care of her. He knows Nehalata as Reshmi, which was the pseudonym given to her at the brothel. Reshmi reciprocates Somu's care as they spend several months together sharing an amazing and innocent relationship that treads the tender line between affection and love. The sub-plot of the film follows the wife of Somu's boss who is attracted to Somu, though Somu doesn't reciprocate her feelings. It depicts how the outside world succumbs to carnal desires which have no place in Somu and Reshmi's relationship. Somu takes Reshmi to the village's medical practitioner who cures her and brings her back to sanity as she regains her memory up to the point of her accident. She boards a train that day back home with her parents. When Somu comes to meet Reshmi later that day, she is unable to identify or remember him. Despite his efforts to make her understand that he was the one who had taken care of her for several months, she is indifferent to him and leaves Ooty for her hometown, thus abandoning Somu and the life and relationship that she once had with him.



The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, who retained two of his compositions from the original Tamil version except "Vaanengum Thanga Vinmeengal", "Narikkathai" and "Poongatru Puthithanathu" which were tuned differently as "Yeh Hawa Yeh Fiza", "Ek Dafa Ek Jungle Tha" and "Aye Zindagi Gale Laga Le" respectively. The film marked the composer's debut in Bollywood.

Critical reception[edit]

Sadma is included in iDiva's list of '10 Must Watch Movies That Weren't Blockbusters'.[3] Sridevi's performance as a child-woman suffering from amnesia was called by Indian Express "a milestone in her illustrious career".[4] Sridevi also featured in the Mid Day list of 'Challenging Roles played by Bollywood Actors' describing her act in the film as "her best performance ever".[5] In 2012, Adil Hussain, Sridevi's co-star in English Vinglish revealed that he became a fan of the actress after watching her in Sadma.[6] The Sridevi-Kamal Hasan pair also appeared on the CNN-IBN list of 'Greatest Romantic Couples on Celluloid'.[7] The climax of Sadma is included in the CNN-IBN list of 'Bollywood's 50 Most Memorable Scenes of All Time'.[8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Filmfare Awards[edit]



External links[edit]