The forbidden Love

Kamal Haasan with Sridevi

A psycho- emotional drama, Sadma traverses a path rarely trod upon. The film highlights the many facets of human relationships— tenuous and fragile

Indescribable in its sublimity, the relationship that Kamal Haasan's character shares with Sridevi is reified in anecdotal nuggets captured by the director in motions of sheer poetry

Sridevi could emote a wide range of expressions for every scene. The director simply had to choose. In Sadma, the choice was far less spectral. Sridevi had to play the character as childlike without overdoing it

By Subhash K Jha

The skill with which Sridevi essayed the role of a 20 year old with a mind of a seven year old remains to this day a milestone in her illustrious career. This Kamal Haasan-Sridevi starrer, Sadma was the first of its kind that had ever been attempted in Hindi cinema. Earlier, director Balu Mahendra had directed Moondram Pirai in Tamil, which told the story of a 20-year old girl who regresses to a seven year old after a road accident and is looked after by a reticent school teacher, Somprakash, played by Kamal Haasan.

Sridevi spent months preparing for her part. Speaking about the versatility of the actress, Shekhar Kapur had commented during Mr India that Sridevi could emote a wide range of expressions for every scene. The director simply had to choose. In Sadma, the choice was far less spectral. Sridevi had to play the character as childlike without overdoing it. Since it was an adult woman playing a child, the risk of the role turning cute or worse, hammy hovered over the part.

A versatile actress

Balu Mahendra let Sridevi control the character's regression in ways that made the transition look utterly convincing. But what holds the film's delicate structure in place is Kamal Haasan's masterful portrayal of Shomu, a man who finds himself drawn to the child-woman who has entered his life. The sexual undercurrents between the unlikely pair had to be kept completely out of the script's reach. What had to shine through was Kamal's nurturing instincts.

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