Note: This post contains spoilers
‘Sadma’ is a story about a woman named Bhagyalakshmi who loses her memory and becomes like a six-year-old after an accident. Sreenivas, who meets her at a brothel, decides to take care of her. At the end of the movie, Bhagyalakshmi gets back her memory but forgets about the time she spent with Sreenivas.
The movie reminded me of the book ‘The Ego Trick’ which explores the idea of ‘I’ that we all have. The author delves into Neuroscience to find whether there is a central ‘I’ where everything comes together. As he meets an eclectic set of people, he explains that the idea of an ‘I’ is mostly an illusion. When most of us talk about ‘I’, we assume that there is something constant within us that withstands all the changes that we go through in our lifetime. But what about people like Bhagyalakshmi? When she suffers from amnesia, she forgets about all her experiences after the age of six. Where is her ‘I’ then? What about the end of the movie when she forgets Sreenivas? Who is the ‘real’ Bhagyalakshmi? Is she the person before the accident? Or the person she turned into after the accident? If a person’s perception about herself can be altered because of a damage to the brain, then what does it say about our cherished beliefs about ourselves?