Songs of Sati

Shabana Azmi and Arun Bannerjee starred movie ‘Sati’ is a drama movie which was directed by Aparna Sen. The movie was released in 1989 under the banner of National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC). Other starcast included Kali Bannerjee, Pradip Mukherjee, Anndam Ganguli, Shakuntala Barua, Ratna Ghoshal, Ketaki Dutta, Ajit Banerjee, Bimal Deb etc in significant roles. The movie was produced by Ravi Malik and Debasis Majumdar whereas the story and screenplay of the movie were written by Arun Bannerjee, Aparna Sen and Kamal Kumar Majumdar. Music was given by Chidananda Das Gupta and Chandan Raichaudhri.

Movie starts in the year 1828 where a mute orphan named Uma (Shabana Azmi) lives. She is a Brahmin girl by caste but is a child widow and is thrown out of the house by her cruel aunt. Therefore she moves close to the holy river Ganga where an ancient tree provides shelter and comfort to her. It will be next year before the British outlaw the religiously enforced burning of widows on their husbands’ funeral pyres. But the priests thinks that it is a sin that a girl over the age of puberty is not married. Traditionally the younger member of the family cannot marry before an older one and a solution to this is found. Uma is married to the tree.

Later she becomes pregnant and the superstitious villagers believe that the tree is the father. She is thrown out of the community for having been unfaithful to her husband. She is sent to live in a cowshed and later to the tree when the cowshed is blown away during a violent storm. Nobody knows that she has been molested by a local schoolteacher and the child is his. During the storm lightning blasts the tree and in the morning Uma is found dead amongst the shattered branches and stumps.


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