Filmography: Karma (1981)

“Ganuon naman pala eh, de alam mo na may asawa na ako…bitiwan mo ako…alright wise guy, gypsy pala ako nun hah…sinabi mo rin mahilig ako sa music, dancing, siguro may favourite song ako, huwag nang yung napakalayong kahapon, baka hindi mo mabasa eh, yun na lang natapos na kahapon, twenty, twenty five years ago…ano kayang favourite song ko?” – Sarah

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Basic Information: Directed, screenplay: Danny Zialcita; Story: Sylvia Barreto; Cast: Vilma Santos, Ronaldo Valdez, Tommy Abuel, Chanda Romero, Christopher Deleon (guest appearance), Marianne Delariva, Dante Rivero, Aurora Salve, Suzanne Gonzales, Martha Sevilla, Odette Khan, Virginia Montes, Bella Flores, Etang Ditcher, Vic Silayan, Fred Montilla, Renato Robles, Ruel Vernal, Augusto Victa, Butch Aquino; Executive producer: Ernesto C. Rojas; Original Music: Gilbert Gregorio; Cinematography: Felizardo Baillen; Film Editing: Enrique Jarlego Sr.; Theme Songs: “Minsan Sa Isang Panahon” performed by Kuh Ledesma, “Its now or never”

Plot Description: “On the eve of Sara’s (Vilma Santos) wedding, Eric (Ronaldo Valdez) mistakes her for a prostiture and forces himself on her. By a strok of conincidence, their paths cross again at a time when their respective marriages are in disarray. Valuing the sanctity of virginity, Sara’s now husbant Alfredo (Tommy Abuel) has made life a living hell for her when he found out about the rape inicident while Eric’s estranged wife Cristy (Chanda Romero) has decided to cool things off by taking a break abroad. Sara and Eric’s meeting strikes both as deja vu and they discover through a psychic that they are the reincarnations of Guada and Enrico, two illicit lovers who were tragically killed by Guada’s husband, Limbo, in a fit of jealousy. Now Sara and Eric seem destined to follow the same path. But in whose spouse does teh spririt of Limbo rest?” –

Sarah (Vilma Santos) is forced to defer her wedding when she scheduled to flight was delayed. At a hotel where she is staying, Sarah encounters Eric (Ronaldo Valdez), a regular guest who forces himself on her. The incident leaves a stigma not just on Sarah but more so on her fiancé, Alfredo (Tommy Abuel) whose dream of marrying a “virgin” is dashed. Strangely, Sarah and Eric’s paths cross again at a time when their respective marriages are in disarray. Their meeting strikes both as “déjà vu.” Could it be that they have met each other in the past? Their suspicious are confirmed after Eric consults a psychic. As it turns out, Sarah and Eric are the reincarnation of Guada and Enrico, two lovers who had an illicit affair sixty years ago. When Guada’s husband, Limbo (Ruel Vernal), learned of her affair, he went on a murderous rampage. Now Sarah and Eric seem destined to follow the same path. But in whose spouse does the spirit of Limbo rest? Is it the disabled Alfredo? Or Eric’s estranged wife Cristy (Chanda Romero)? – Viva Films

Sarah (Vilma Santos) is forced to defer her wedding when her scheduled flight is delayed. At a hotel where she is staying, she encounters Eric (Ronaldo Valez), a regular guest, who forces himself on her. The incident leaves a stigma not just on Sarah but more so on her fiance, Alfredo (Tommy Abuel)whose dream of marrying a virgin is dashed. – (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: Digitally remastered through ABS-CBN Film Restoration’s Sagip Pelikula

1981 FAMAS Best Supporting Actor – Tommy Abuel; 1981 FAMAS Best Supporting Actress – Chanda Romero; 1981 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1981 Cebu City Film Festival Best Actress – Vilma Santos

Film Review: “Totoong maraming magagandang pelikulang tagalog ang ginawa mula nung araw na nagsimula ito hanggang sa kasalukuyan. maraming mapagpipilian. Pero para masabing maganda ang isang pelikula at pagkalooban ito ng “Best Picture Award” ng mga award-giving ceremonies, ang inakala n’yang tatanghaling “Best Picture” ay hindi nananalo? Of course, kanya-kanyang taste, kanya-kanyang standard ang board of jurors, that’s why kung minsan, hindi tumatama ang prediction ng isang tao sa piniling “Best Picture” ng mga judges. Recently, sa ginawang review ng isang kritiko sa pelikulang “Batch ’81,” all praises ang naturang kritiko sa kagandahan ng pelikual. The best picture of all time raw. According naman sa isang veteran writer, ang pelikulang ito raw ang the best local movie ever produced in 25 years. Agree? Disagree? As we said earlier, maraming magagandang local films na mapapipilian. So, we decided, why not make sure on the Ten Best Local Films ever produced? This time, hindi namin isinali ang mga kritiko na nagri-review ng local films para mamili ng Test Best Pictures para sa kanila…Hermie Francisco (editor, his choices)…6. Karma, paano nagawa ni Danny Zialcita ang pagtagpi-tagpiin ang maraming bagay na hiwa-hiwalay sa istorya? Kung may “Somewhere in Time” sa Amerika, may “Karma” naman tayon. A little of fantasy pero, very entertaining talaga. Masarap umpisahan sa una at patuloy na panooring…” – Rowena Agilada, Zoom Magazine, 20 Decembe 1982, Posted by James DR, Pelikula Atbp, 10 February 2021 (READ MORE)

“…Maituturing na head of his time ang mahusay at napaka-innovative na direktor na si Danny Zialcita. Lahat nang nanood ng 1981 movie na tinatampukan nina Vilma Santos, Ronaldo Valdez at Chanda Romero, na ipinalabas ang restored version courtesy of the ABS-CBN Film Restoration last Friday sa Trinoma, ay sumang-ayon na very now pa ang tema ng pelikula. At very now pa rin ang approach niya sa pagsasa-pelikula nito. Bukod sa pagdidirek ng Karma, si direk Danny din ang sumulat ng story at script nito. Fresh from his performance bilang ama sa apat na ‘di magkasundong magkakapatid, hangga’t nalaman ng mga ito na malapit na siyang bawian ng buhay, sa blockbus­ter Star Cinema movie na Seven Sundays, Ronaldo already proved he was an actor to reckon with, yes, that early, sa pelikulang Karma. At kung looks ang pag-uusapan, sorry Janno Gibbs dahil mas guwapong ‘di hamak ang iyong ama. At the time na ginawa ni Ronaldo ang Karma, kaedad din niya si Janno. Of Ate Vi, dapat mapanood ng kanyang mga anak na sina Luis Manzano at Ryan Christian-Recto ang Karma. Pagkaganda-ganda ni Ate Vi sa said movie. Kasama rin sa pelikula si Tommy Abuel na isang lawyer sa tunay na buhay. Magaling siya sa kanyang role bilang mister ni Ate Vi, na hindi nito napatawad dahil sa hindi nito ipinagtapat bago sila ikinasal na hindi na siya virgin. Si Tommy ay napapanood pa rin paminsan-minsan sa mga teleserye at may nagsabing regular member ito ng Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB). As to Ronaldo, he was at the screening of Karma. At gumawa talaga siya ng oras para bumati sa lahat ng audience bago sinimulan ang screening. Of direk Danny, he died in 2013…” – Baby E, Pang-Masa, 29 October 2017 (READ MORE)

The technical preview of “Karma” the other night was delayed for about an hour but I did not mind waiting because I was quite certain that I’d be seeing a fine film. To while away the time, “Firecracker,” co-starring American actors with local talents like Chanda Romero, Vic Diaz, and Rey Malonzo was shown. Chanda and Vic delivered their lines themselves but surprisingly Rey didn’t. Before one whole reel could roll, the prints of “Karma” arrived. “Don’t stop it yet, a bed scene is coming,” Mario Bautista protested. Happily, “Karma” turned out to be as good as I expected. It’s performers are first-rate – Vilma Santos, Ronaldo Valdez, Tommy Abuel, Chanda Romero – so their award-winning acting didn’t surprise me at all. The script was outstanding but even that was expected, coming from director Danny Zialcita. What impressed me was that minor parts were played by name actors. The housekeeper who appeared in one short sequence could have been played by any elderly woman but those who made the movie wanted nothing less than Etang Discher. The psychiatrist could have been played by any decent-looking man but they didn’t settle for anybody less than Vic Silayan. The male lover at the start of the story had to be acted out by Dante Rivero, that at the end by Christopher de Leon. The movie boasted of several bold scenes. Those involving Vilma weren’t much as we know for a fact that Vilma could show only so much. One scene showing Chanda was a different story. It showed her with absolutely nothing on, yet it didn’t offend anybody as it was executed in style, shot with great care. There was just one thing, which looked unnatural to me – the way in which one of the main characters killed himself. “That’s all right,” Danny assured me. “Before we shot it, we double-checked its possibility.” Reincarnation and transference are undoubtedly mind-boggling subjects but, to his utmost credit, Danny managed to present them simply, bringing them down for everybody to understand. “Bala lang yan. Katawan lang ito. Babalik at babalik kami sa mundong ito,” Dante vowed. Come back they did as they promised building the foundation of the story. – Bob Castillo, People’s Journal Dec. 12, 1981

Sa pagbabago ng estado ni Vilma Santos, tila nagbabago na rin ang kanyang approach sa kanyang career. Dahil hindi na career ang unang priority niya sa buhay, lalong nagiging professional ang kanyang tingin sa trabaho. Dahil hindi na twenty-four hours a day ang kanyang buhay artista, alam na niyang I-apportion ang bawat minuto na walang aksaya. Sa set ng Relasyon ni Ishmael Bernal, hangang-hanga ang director sa bagong pang-unawa ni Vilma sa trabaho. Dumarating sa oras, kabisado ang linya (memorizing lines for Vilma, of course, was never a problem even the days she was shooting five pictures simultaneously), full attention sa sinasabi ng direktor, walang problema. Kung pagbabasehan sa naging resulta ng Karma, lalong maganda ngayon si Vilma, mas mariin ang kanyang pagganap, mas mature ang kanyang approach at understanding sa kaniyang papel. Swerteng-swerte ang pagkapanalo niya ng best actress sa nakaraang Film fest. Sayang at wala siya upang tanggapin mismo ang tropeo. Pero lalong naging makabuluhan para sa kanya ang sinabi ng kapwa niya artista sa Karma nang sabihin ni Chanda Romero na “napakaganda naman ng karma ni Vilma. Mayroon na siyang Edu, mayroon siyang Lucky, ngayon ay mayroon pa siya nito (ang ibig sabihin ay ang best actress trophy),” sabay tilian ng mga fans sa loob ng Cultural Center, walang makapigil, walang makasaway. Pero, gaya ng dati, hindi naging madali kay Vilma ang pananalo. Nagpatas ang botohan ng dalawang beses – triple tie sila ni Gina Alajar at Charo Santos, hanggang ma-break ang deadlock at nakaungos ng isang boto si Vilma sa dalawa pa niyang kalaban. Tinawagan si Vilma ni Cirio Santiago, pinasundo sa isang limousine, pero nagdahilan ang Vilma. Ayaw niya sigurong umasa dahil minsan, sa isang awards night din, sinigurong siya ang mananalo pero hindi ganun ang nangyari. (I understand that Vilma really won but the verdict was changed afterwards through the representations and machinations of some influential press sectors.) Kunsabagay, wala rin si Charito Solis noong awards dahil sabi sa akin ni Chato, talagang hindi niya inaasahang manalo ang maliit na papel na iyon sa Kisapmata. Noon pa mang preview pa lamang, maugong na ang balitang baka si Charito ang manalo bilang supporting actress pero hindi niya yun pinansin dahil tiyak na tiyak siya na si Vic Silayan ang mananalo. Sinabi pa niya sa interview niya kay Armida Siguion-Reyna sa Let’s Talk Movies na napakagaling ni Vic. Sa set pa lamang daw, natitiyak na niya halos na si Vic ay mananalo sa Kisapmata. Sa naturan ding programa, sinabi ni Armida sa pagre-review niya ng Karma na talagang magaling ang pagkakaganap ni Vilma sa Karma na parang nakuha nitong punuan ang ilang mahalagang kakulangan ng pelikula. – Oscar Miranda

“…During the MMFF when Ate Vi won in Karma. It was a triple tie between Ate Vi, Gina Alajar and Charo Santos. JQ as one of board of jurors defended why Ate Vi should win. On the second deliberation JQ convinced one of the jurors and Ate Vi won by 1 point. JQ lambasted on his TV program the jurors in the MMFF when Ate Vi was not even nominated for her performance in Langis At Tubig. The nominees are Nora Aunor for “Bona” and “Kung Akoy IIwan Mo” and Amy Austria for Brutal. Its good that Amy won. JQ said that Ate Vi is good in langis compared to Nora in “Kung Akoy IIwan.” Obiously that was manipulated by Dean Lukresia Kasilag who was the Board Chairman that time and a certified Noranian. Kawawa talaga si Ate Vi basta involved si Kasilag lagi syang nabibiktima. Remember Rubia Serbios and Atsay. JQ always regarded Ate Vi as the real Queen of Philippine movies and a certified box Office Queen…” – V Magazine (READ MORE)

“…Nang minsang makapanayam namin si Vi sa set ng Karma, sabi niya, “Masaya ako ngayon. Sa darating na Filmfest kasi, maganda ang panlaban kong pelikula. Kung nagustuhan ng mga manonood ang Langit at Tubig last year, mas magugustuhan nila ang Karma. Hindi kiyeme-kiyeme ang sinasabi ko. Nakita ko na kasi ang mga rushes, “I consider Danny as one of the best among our movie directors. Pulido siyang magtrabaho. Pari iyong mga bold scenes namin, talagang artistically done. All praises ako sa kanya. Nakasama ko na rin siya before and because of that, may inter-action kaming dalawa. Vibes na vibes kami. Sure ako, hindi ako mapapahiya sa filmfest entry ko. “Karma will be my Christmas gift to all my fans who, until now, have not stopped loving me. Ang pagtingin ko sa kanila ay extra special kaya naman, extra-special ang regalo ko…” – Manny A. Valera, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, December 28, 1981 (READ MORE)

“One of the most misundertood occult concepts. The nearest equivalent in European thought is contained in the idea of fate, though the oriental term indicates that fate is not a haphazard sequence of events of experiences, but is dependent on actions of previous lives or spiritual conditions. The idea is that a spirit undertakes to live in an earthy body for a given period of time, usually in order to learn in a disembodied state, and has to accept rewards and punishments for good and bad deeds committed in previous incarnations. In order that understanding may grow, any evil committed against another persons will have to be experienced by the perpetrator. The working out of Karma is not done consciously by ordinary people. The real reasons and relatinships may be understood only when the nature of their Karma is grasped -which is tantamount to saying that it is virtually impossible to understand or judge another person when seen in the context of one material lifetime only. Vilma Santos fits the role to a T. For the past years that she has suffered a string of misfortunes and setbacks in real and reel life, she has honed herself as promise, a common objective: to gove the viewing public what it wants – entertainment with a capital E. For Danny Zialcita, aside from having a good screenplay, good direction and brilliant actors and actresses, the movie should have artistic values…” – Bong de Leon, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, November 2, 1981 (READ MORE)

“…Sarah (Vilma Santos) is forced to defer her wedding when her scheduled flight is delayed. At a hotel where she is staying Sarah encounters Eric (Ronaldo Valdez) a regular guest who forces himself on her. The incident leaves a stigma not just on Sarah but more so on her fiance Alfredo (Tommy Abuel) whose dream of marrying a virgin is dashed. Strangely Sarah and Eric’s paths crossed again at a time when their respective marriages are in disarray. Their meeting strikes both as deja vu. Could it be that they have met each other in the past? Their suspicions are confirmed after Eric consults a psychic. As it turns out Sarah and Eric are the reincarnation of Guada and Enrico twol lovers who had an illicit affair 60 years ago. When Guada’s husband Limbo (Ruel Vernal) learned of her arffair he went on a murderous rampage. Now Sarah and Eric seem destined to follow the same path. But in whose spouse does the spirit of Limbo rest? Is it the disabled Alfredo? Or Enrico’s estranged wife Cristy?…” – Mav Shack (READ MORE)