The question that kept springing in my head while watching this film was, "why did it take me so long to discover this?". I've watched most of Shyam Benegal's work and this one stands out as one of his finest pieces. Smita Patil was such a natural talent and her intensity in this role pierces through every frame. I couldn't help but regret that she isn't still here today to portray such powerful and meaningful female characters as she did in her short life. I can't think of one name who could fill her shoes today. Her graduation from a bubbly teenaged starlet who acts for a living to a middle aged actress who is struggling to keep it together while dealing with the pressures of fame and fractured relationships, is flawless. The cinematography by Govind Nihalani is so beautiful - esp. the black and white parts. The part when Smita realizes that she had yet again fallen into a trap (a literal one) by walking into yet another man's life, is so powerful and present, it makes you feel stifled with her.
It's ridiculous by today's degenerate standards that this film has an 'A' certificate and that explains why we never saw it on prime time television in the 80s or 90s. It is far more dignified and proper than any family film of the present.