Once upon a time, in 1974, there was a Tamil film titled Aval Oru Thodarkathai (BUY DVD) directed by K Balachander starring Sujatha, Kamal Hasan, Vijay Kumar, Sripriya and others. Aval Oru Thodarkathai remains a legendary blockbuster in the history of Tamil cinema.
The movie tells the story of an unfortunate woman burdened with the responsibilities of taking care of her mother, sisters, alcoholic brother and his family, and immense personal cost to her own dreams and aspirations.
The Tamil superhit was remade into Bengali in 1977 under the direction of Bharat Shamsher, under the title Kabita [BUY DVD]. The credited star cast of Kobita (1977) reads like a list of the top actors and actresses in contemporary Bengali cinema: Kamal Hasan, Ranjit Mullik, Mala Sinha, Sandhya Roy, Samit Bhanja, Mahua Roy Chowdhury, Prema Narayan, Anil Chatterjee, Tun Tun, Bikash Roy, Kamu Mukherjee and more. Mala Sinha plays the protagonist in the Bengali movie release.
Kabita is the only Bengali film so far that has Kamal Hasan playing a significant role.
Aval Oru Thodarkathai was also remade into other regional language movies, including K. Balachander's Anthuleni Katha - అంతులేని కథ (Telugu, 1976) which saw the debut of Jayaprada in a lead role. Rajnikanth and Kamal Hasan were also in the cast of Anthuleni Katha.
In Kannada, the remake was titled Benkiyalli Aralida Hoovu [Download Songs OST MP3] starring Suhasini, Kamal Hasan's niece, as the protagonist. Kamal Hasan was himself in the cast, too. Suhasini is married to Mani Ratnam the great film maker, and will appear in Maniratnam's 2010 epic Raavana.
The Hindi remake was titled Jeevan Dhara [BUY DVD] - directed by Rama Rao Tatineni, the Hindi release did not have Kamal Hasan in the cast. Rekha played the protagonist, with Amol Palekar, Raj Babbar, Kanwaljit Singh, Sulochana Latkar and others in the cast.