Meenakshi Sheshadri’s complaint about Damini exposes the anti-feminist face of Bollywood

In the year 1993, a crime drama was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi – Damini. The story was written by Shutanu Gupta. It is a very successful film of its time. And it is also called a feminist film. Their songs and dialogues seem to be on people’s lips till date. However, a comment by actress Meenakshi Seshadri, who played the role of Damini, two and a half decades after the film’s release and away from the cinema, has raised questions about the film’s feminist approach. Her comments mock not only Damini but also the hollow feminist perspective of Bollywood. Regarding Damini she said- “I have a complaint, from the writer and director of the movie Damini. Damini, was my name. But what (whose) dialogues did you remember? Sunny paaji (Sunny Deol) K. Those dialogues would have been given to me So I couldn’t (what)?”

Even today, when Damini comes to mind, the character of Sunny Deol, the songs in the film, and the beautiful dialogues Sunny spoke in the film come to mind in the first place. Her three dialogues in Damini are still repeated publicly, how many times and where. Below are three important dialogues.

1) When this two and a half kilo hand falls on someone, right?… then the man doesn’t get up… he gets up.

2) Don’t yell, otherwise I’ll bury this case here, no date… no hearing, direct justice too fast.

3) Date on date. date on date. Date on date, date on date. But justice was not found my lord, justice was not found. If found then only this date.

Sunny Deol played the role of a lawyer in Damini. Photo – courtesy of youtube.

Sunny Deol has a small role in Damini. He played the role of an alcoholic but fearless lawyer named Govind Srivastava. Although he is not a big name in the legal profession. But when no lawyer is ready to fight a sexually harassed housekeeper’s case in court against a powerful business family, Sunny turns up for it. Sunny Deol’s character in a feminist movie and her dialogues were fabricated in such a way that they stunned the audience. Even now, if you watch, you can’t help but be amazed. The greatness of a drunken lawyer overshadowed all the hard work and merits of Meenakshi, who played the spirited character of Damini. A powerful masochist, a lawyer, becomes overwhelming to bring justice to the sexual victim. Meenakshi’s complaint will probably be about the third dialogue above. Although all three dialogues are iconic, the third dialogue was such that Damini’s part could have been inserted.

Although it was not about diverting a dialogue. Govind Srivastava’s role also needed enough to be removed from unnatural grandeur.

When you sold a film in the name of a feminist perspective, it was the historical responsibility of the filmmakers to at least not carry a woman’s struggle like Damini on the strong shoulders of a man’s greatness. If you’ve seen Damini, Damini is seen as a powerful rebel even before Sunny’s entrance. She does not bow down to her mother-in-law, her brother-in-law, society and even her beloved husband and is willing to pay any cost to side with truth/justice. But as soon as Sunny enters the story, she remains in the form of a helpless, helpless woman and a man’s favor.

It’s also amusing that the character of Sunny Deol, a drunken lawyer, has become wrapped up in movie magic to such an extent that she becomes Victim, the victim daughter-in-law of a powerful business family who stands by Victim’s side, facing the society. administration, law and order, and the court. A great revolutionary emerges to the fore. He ends up addressing an important issue about gender and class sensitivity, which was the basic theme and premise of the film. It is unknown how critics viewed it when the film was released. She was very young. There are no memories of the launch. It was not even possible then due to my geographical (rural) origin. For people like us, tricks were a rarity even when it came to the cinema of affluent society. I was able to see Damini after many years. The making of it is very impressive and every thing in the film is well remembered. But what clicked or memorized the most: It’s Sunny Deol and the things after her entry. Until the time of writing this article, I had never noticed a review or analysis focused on Damini. And he didn’t even feel the need to.

Damini Meenakshi SeshadriMeenakshi Sheshadri in the role of Damini. Photo – courtesy of youtube.

The lyrics of a bloody vindication with a feminist approach are a million times better than Damini’s

Meenakshi’s complaint is not wrong. However, she did not shed light on Bollywood’s gender inequality under the guise of a feminist film. Despite what she experienced being part of the film industry, without saying much, she said a lot. The era this movie came in: The popular stream of Bollywood was dominated by male stars. And in masala movies, actresses were used to cash in on the sexual frustration of the male audience at the box office. In those days, the female body was a major draw for male audiences and movies in the movie theater were their only medium. In all the films made in the name of feminism, it is also seen how the struggle of a woman is dominated by the greatness of a man like the Himalayas. While Bollywood sees another spicy feminist movie: ‘Khoon Bhari Maang’. Directed by Rakesh Roshan, it arrived ten years before Damini. But her lyrics look a thousand times better than all the feminist Bollywood movies.

In the handwriting of Mohan Kaul and Ravi Kapoor, Rekha has lived the character of a victim. Who is the victim of the deception of her second husband (played by Kabir Bedi). There is an attempt to kill him. The other husband understands that she is dead, but somehow she survives. He then prepares for revenge. A woman’s male helper (Shatrughan Sinha) is also seen standing here. Despite this, the bloody demand lyrics did not allow him to be great with the line and the advantage of a natural theme-focused lyrics is that it is remembered because of the bloody demand line. This movie was also a super hit and its songs are heard to this day. There are two or four more movies. Mother India is also there. But her land, her canvas and her country are different, and contain many ‘isms’.

Except for two or four movies, Bollywood’s attitude has remained malevolent. Even in so-called feminist films like Damini, she appears at the mercy of a man. What to do with ordinary movies. Although it has weakened over time. But all things remain the same. They can be seen and felt. There is also a great disparity in salary level. Just a few years ago, after the Tanushree Dutta revelations, what the big names in Bollywood’s attitude towards women have been, was seen across the country.

In Damini, Meenakshi Seshadri marries Rishi Kapoor, a decent and well-educated boy from a business family. Meenakshi’s brother-in-law sexually assaults the maid. The whole family makes a plan to save the criminal son and uses his position. But Damini is on the side of justice and the rebels. Her husband doesn’t show up to help her either. Even though the woman’s struggle is at the center of the film, Sunny Deol steals her charm. Apart from Meenakshi, Sunny Rishi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal, Tinu Anand have played important roles in the film. Aamir Khan also appears as a guest.

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