Satyam Shivam Sundaram
(Love Sublime)

Directed by Raj Kapoor.
With Shashi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, Kanhaiyalal.
India, 1978, digital video, color, 172 min.
Hindi with English subtitles.

Satyam Shivam Sundaram is a meditation on the nature of love, set against the backdrop of India’s 1970s rural-electrification campaign: a playboy engineer falls in love with a nubile young woman in the village where he’s working on a new dam, until he realizes that one side of her face is severely scarred. One of Kapoor’s most sexually explicit films, Satyam Shivam Sundaram remains something of a film maudit in India to this day—much seen but rarely taken seriously. Kapoor’s later films increasingly exploited the erotic potential of their love stories, but this material was typically repudiated by the end of each film in order to reassert a more traditional, chaste morality.

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