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Sujata (1959)

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Nutan and Shashikala in Sujata (1959)
Nutan and Shashikala in Sujata (1959)

Cast: Nutan, Sunil Dutt, Shashikala

Director: Bimal Roy

Music: S.D. Burman

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Capsule Review: Nutan and Bimal Roy gave cinema their first stunner in Sujata. The humanist drama about a harijan (untouchable) girl’s fight for identity was replete with subtle sensitive touches that defied the mood of cinema in those melodramatic times. The muted stabs at social reformation were further mellowed down by Nutan’s incredibly articulate performance that is now rightly regarded as a classic of shaded sentimentality. The other performances are also adequately underplayed. It is a relief beyond what mainstream cinema generally affords audience to see the protagonist’s stepsister (Shashikala) portrayed as anything but a shrew. Sunil Dutt in a gallantly supportive role to the leading lady plays the man who rescues Sujata from her socially debased destiny. The film’s classic numbers were sung by Lata Mangeshkar’s sister Asha Bhosle.

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