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1989 140’ col Bengali d/co-s Aparna Sen pc NFDC co-s Arun Bannerjee c Ashok Mehta m Chidananda Das Gupta lp Shabana Azmi, Kali Bannerjee, Pradip Mukherjee, Arindam Ganguly, Ketaki Dutta, Shakuntala Barua, Arun Bannerjee, Ajit Bannerjee, Bimal Dev, Manu Mukherjee, Dipankar Raha, Ratna Ghoshal

Primitivist melodrama set prior to 1829 when sati (a woman’s religiously enforced immolation on her husband’s funeral pyre) was made illegal by the British. Uma (Azmi), a mute and orphaned young Brahmin woman, is saddled with an ominous horoscope and is given in marriage to a tree. Seduced by a local schoolteacher, Uma becomes pregnant and is ostracised by the villagers. One night, while sheltering from a storm under her tree, lightning strikes them and she is found in the morning, blood on her forehead like bridal vermillion. The tree, the only sign of real virility in a society of cowardly superstition, protected its bride.