Sindhu Bhairavi poster

Sindhu Bhairavi

  • 11 Nov 1985
  • 2h 39m
  • Drama
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Sindhu Bhairavi is a 1985 Tamil musical drama film written and directed by K. Balachander. The film stars Sivakumar, Suhasini and Sulakshana. Sindhu Bhairavi released worldwide on 11 November 1985, and opened to positive reviews from critics, and was a blockbuster. The film won three National Awards for Best Actress (Suhasini), Best Music Direction (Ilaiyaraaja) and Best Female Playback Singer (K. S. Chithra), in addition to the Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil. The film has a sequel in the format of a television series named Sahana (2003), produced by Balachander, with Sulakshana reprising her role.




  • Status Released
  • Release date 11 Nov 1985
  • Running time 2h 39m
  • Genres Drama


National Film Awards - 1985
Suhasini Maniratnam
Best Actress
National Film Awards - 1985
Best Music Director


J. K. Balaganapathi (JKB) is a gifted Carnatic singer, but his wife Bhairavi, despite her love and loyalty, fails to satisfy or challenge him intellectually. For JKB, this and her inability to have children, is a problem. JKB's band includes the mridangam player Gurumoorthy, and the tanpura player Gajapathi, who is a compulsive liar.

JKB goes to a concert where he finds Gurumoorthy drunk. He instructs Gurumoorthy to leave the premises and performs in the concert without the use of the mridangam, which is considered a basic/compulsory instrument to perform a Carnatic concert. When Gurumoorthy is asked to permanently leave the band, he promises not to drink again.

While Bhairavi's grandfather is going to receive his pension, which he does on the first of every month, Gajapathi lies to him that his pension has been cancelled. The old man starts crying, and JKB intervenes to confirm that his pension is not cancelled and that he can go and collect it. JKB then scolds Gajapathi for it and tells him the old man could have died on hearing such a lie as he is very particular about his pension. Following this, when JKB finds that Gajapathi has lied to him too and others causing problems, he asks him to promise to speak the truth.

Sindhu, a music teacher in a school, attends one of the concerts of JKB, where he is performing a Tyagaraja keerthana which is in Telugu. She finds some the audience speaking to each other instead of listening to the music. Hence, she asks JKB to translate the song that he is singing into Tamil, which everybody in the audience can understand. He then gets angry and challenges her to demonstrate. She successfully demonstrates it and is applauded by the audience, causing JKB to leave without completing the concert.

A few days later, Sindhu apologises to JKB, and he finds out that she is an intellectual equal and admires her knowledge of music. However, this intellectual attraction is misunderstood based on the cultural limitations. Gajapathi, who has promised not to lie, informs Bhairavi that her husband is going out with Sindhu. Meanwhile, Sindhu really has fallen for JKB, and both of them get intimate with each other.

One day, JKB is caught coming out of Sindhu's apartment by Bhairavi. Sindhu is seen as the home wrecker and is forced to end her association with JKB. He pines for her and leans on alcohol for support, which leads to his downward spiral, ending in an embarrassing barter of his musical knowledge for a drink. He even steals money from Bhairavi's grandfather, which leads to his death. Sindhu re-enters his life and brings him around; however, she has a secret of her own: her pregnancy. After Sindhu rehabilitates JKB, his friends pressurise her to leave the town and never come back, which she does the next day. Bhairavi and JKB are distraught as Bhairavi had agreed to marry Sindhu to JKB.

Months later, during one of JKB's concerts, Sindhu is seen coming back and sitting down to listen to his music. However, she refuses to marry JKB, saying that she would not deny Bhairavi her rights. Instead she leaves them with a "present"; Sindhu gives up her child to be brought up by Bhairavi in a classic act of defiance to society's rules and leaves town to pursue and share her knowledge of music with the less fortunate.

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