Early Sunday morning we drove up to the Chuck Jones cinema at the top of the hill to see a tribute to Shyam Benegal, and his film Bhumika.
Shyam is a wonderful person. We crossed paths with his wonderful wife, Nira, many times over several days. They were always gracious and fascinating.
Indian melodramas generally fall into a class of films I have little patience for, but this is a genuinely good film about India’s Tallulah Bankhead, Hansa Wadkar who somewhat daringly (for the time) lived by her own rules and become a major Indian film star.
The film starts with Indian dancing girls in the Bollywood tradition, which is always fun, and goes on to tell the story of this daring woman’s life, her strong grandmother, her disapproving mother, her arranged marriage, and her genuine loves and affairs. Smita Patil is really wonderful as the lead: beautiful and funny and sweet.