In 1993, when romantic films and action films ruled the roost, Rajkumar Santoshi created history with his path-breaking women-centric crime drama, ‘Damini’. The movie dealt with the sensitive issue of ‘rape’ and depicted the horror that women face when they stand up against a patriarchal society for justice.
Be it the plight of a trauma-stricken rape victim, Urmi; or the trials and tribulations of the lead protagonist, Damini; one cannot help but feel a chill run down one’s spine while the film unfolds. Watching ‘Damini’ transform from a naive, innocent simple girl to a determined fearless feminist force to reckon with, is a treat to watch. Meenakshi Seshadri, who plays the role of Damini, ‘rises like phoenix’ in one of the best roles of her career.
Bollywood Trivia: Bollywood Actress Madhuri Dixit was supposed to play the role of ‘Damini’, but the role went to Meenakshi Seshadri.
The story unfolds with Shekhar, a son of a rich businessman, played by Rishi Kapoor, who falls in love with a poor, naive and honest girl; Damini. He marries her much against the wishes of his family. Everything is well until the festival day of ‘Holi’ arrives.
In a disturbing scene, the naive Damini witnesses her brother-in-law and his friends rape the house help, Urmi. At first, the family succeed in concealing the truth from Damini about Urmi’s health condition. But when she witnesses the plight of Urmi in the hospital, she decides to nail the perpetrators much against the wishes of her family. Hell breaks loose when the matter reaches court and a corrupt Barrister Indrajit Chaddha (played by Amrish Puri) enters the scene to turn the tables on Damini. She is proven mentally unfit and sent to an asylum; only to escape death by fleeing away from there to bump into an alcoholic advocate-Govind Mehra (played by Sunny Deol); who proves to be a boon in disguise for her. The court room drama that unfolds, after the murder of Urmi, forms the crux of the story. The film keeps one on the edge of the seat and watching the atrocities that Damini faces completely pierce the heart.
Dialogues like ‘Tariq pe Tariq’ and ‘Dhai Kilo ka Haath’ by Sunny Deol in the film have become iconic. The scenes between Sunny Deol and Amrish Puri are worth a watch. The film has gained cult status and is considered as one of the best woman-centric films ever made in Bollywood. The court room scenes, the tight-bound script, the well-etched characters and the background score are the primary highlights of the film.
Released on 30th April 1993, this film won Sunny Deol his Best Supporting Actor National Award and Filmfare Award in 1993. Rajkumar Santoshi also received the Filmfare Best Director Award for the film, while Sutanu Gupta received the award for the Best Story. ‘Damini’ did not just portray the phase of women empowerment in cinema but also raised the standard of women-centric films to an all new level. Recently, Shah Rukh Khan the owner of Red Chillies Entertainment who had purchased the rights of the film, handed over the rights to Sunny Deol, as the latter showed interest in producing a remake of the film. Given the versatility of the character, any actress would be ready to sink their teeth in for the role of ‘Damini’. But will they be able to match up to the powerhouse performance of Meenakshi Seshadri is something that needs to be seen.
Damini is an Indian crime drama film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi released in the year 1993. The Film is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Character Biopsy written by Vivin Esstibro (Venito).
For more Quality Content, Do visit Digital Mafia Talkies.