Bhumika (भूमिका / The Role) (1977)

  • May 3, 2024 | 8:00 PM - 10:45 PM | Friday
  • Oldham Theatre


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2K Restoration
Director: Shyam Benegal
Language: Hindi with English subtitles
Country: India
Runtime: 142 min
Rating: PG


The memoirs of legendary Marathi actress Hansa Wadkar and her impassioned struggle for personal liberation, served as a source for this loosely-inspired biopic by Shyam Benegal. Parallel cinema darling, the late Smita Patel, embodies Wadkar’s spirit in the role of Usha, a fictional film star, following her life from a wide-eyed debutante to a strong-willed screen star, whose immense talent and fame is matched only by her fiery desire to lead a self-determined life.

Speaking at the Festival des 3 Continents in 1980, on the differences between commercial and independent filmmaking, Patel said “In commercial cinema, it’s always the same thing. You’re asked to do a dance scene, a love scene, a crying scene, a song. No point in tiring yourself out. Someone else sings for you. You just have to stay in the box they put you in and not move. […] For an actress, it’s very frustrating. It’s only in the young cinema that you can really give your all, put all your heart into it.”

Bhumika (The Role) is part of the film programme Parallels: Indian New Cinema (1965-1981). For the full programme, please click here

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