Synopsis by Mark Deming
The theme of how power can corrupt even the most well-meaning of souls is explored in this drama from India. Veeram (Milind Gunaji) and his wife Rambhi (Shabana Azmi) are forced to leave their village and move to a larger city in search of work when a drought devastates the local farmland. At his new job, Veeram murders his foreman, a cruel and bigoted man who openly loathes people of Veeram's caste. It seems that the foreman had many enemies, because the police refuse to investigate the matter and Veeram finds himself rising up the ladder of local politics. But when Veeram renounces the use of violence against the people, he's assassinated, and Rambhi is elected to take his place. While she assumes leadership with good intentions, she soon displays a willingness to use her authority to brutalize others and is not above the use of violence to achieve her ends. Rambhi's increasingly corrupt rule reaches a turning point when her son demands to marry a Muslim, leading to public outcry and rioting in the streets. Godmother, which includes several musical numbers, was shown as part of the World Cinema program at the 1999 Montreal Film Festival.