“Damini” or Lightning is a Bollywood movie released in the year 1993. The movie stars a very famous Bollywood actress Meenakshi Sheshadri in the lead role. The movie is the story of a woman’s fight against society for justice. Other actors that play pivotal roles in the movie are Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri, Tinu Anand, Kulbhusan Kharbanda and Paresh Rawal. Damini is considered to be one of the best woman centric movies of Bollywood.
Damini is a modern film that signifies strength of women and importance of truth. The tight bound script, courtroom scenes, good music and above all the career’s best performance of Meenakshi Sheshadri made this film one of the greatest hits of Indian Cinema. Damini was directed by Rajkumar Santoshi.
Story of movie Damini
The movie starts with a scene that shows Meenakshi, character name ‘Damini’ in a mental asylum getting shocks. The movie moves in flashback format where Damini remembers one of her dance performances on stage. Rishi Kapoor, character name Shekhar, the son of a very rich businessman Mr. Gupta (Kulbhuhan Kharbanda) is present among the audience. Shekhar starts liking Damini at the very first sight. Smitten by her beauty and innocence, he decides to marry her after a meeting and takes his father to her house. Damini’s family was poor, her father being a post-master. However, Shekhar’s father is also impressed by the simplicity and innocence of Damini and allows Shekhar to marry Damini.
After marriage Damini goes to live with Shekhar’s family where she is not welcomed as she should be. Shekhar’s mother always wanted him to marry the daughter of rich businessman Paresh Rawal, character name Mr.Bajaj. Damini being a simple and innocent girl never disrespects her new family members despite of their ill-behaviour. She is happy and contended to have Shekhar as a loving and caring husband. The only person whom she shares her feelings with is the house-maid ‘Urmi’. Both Damini and Urmi are very fond of each other and they are more like friends. The movie moves to a scene where the family celebrates the festival of Holi. Damini finds that ‘Ramesh’ younger brother of Shekhar and some of his friends are trying to molest Urmi in a room upstairs while the other family members are busy playing Holi in the lawn area. Damini calls her husband upstairs to save Urmi but it’s too late. When Shekhar reaches there, the door is locked from inside and he sees through a window that his brother and his three friends were sexually assaulting Urmi.
Shekhar tries to break open the door but Ramesh and his friends escape from another door in the room and they also take Urmi who had fainted by then. They throw Urmi at a distance on the road from where she is taken to the hospital. Gupta Family try hard to hide the shameful act of their son but Damini cannot get the incidence out of her mind. She is told by Gupta family that Urmi is being taken care of in a good hospital but when she arrives there to meet Urmi, she finds her in a very bad condition. Damini decides that she will go against her family to bring justice to Urmi. Being the other eye- witness of the crime, she asks Shekhar to support her but he refuses. He tries to stop Damini but she goes ahead to file a case against Rakesh and his three friends.
Damini’s struggle for Justice
Shekhar’s family throws Damini out of their house for filing a case against Rakesh. Damini is however adamant to bring justice to Urmi anyhow. She goes to live with her parents where she is persuaded by them too to withdraw the case. Advocate Amrish Puri, character name “Chaddha” fights in favour of Rakesh and proves in court that Damini is a mentally unstable person and Damini’s father too confirms this because he wanted Damini to return to her in-laws place. Shekhar too lets her go to the asylum because he is convinced by his father that it is important to save his brother. Like this, Damini is send to mental asylum where her in-laws and Chaddha tries to make her mad in reality by bribing the doctors. She is given electric shocks and is tortured in various other ways too. Shekhar remains unaware of all these.
At this point the flashback ends and the movie returns to present. Damini sees a procession of Durga Maa (Indian Goddess) through a window in the asylum and regains her memory. She escapes from the asylum and goes to her elder sister’s place. Advocate Chaddha tries to kill Damini but she runs from there to meet Suuny Deol, character name Govind. Govind saves her and takes her to his home. Damini finds that Govind was an advocate but unable to get justice for his wife, he had left his practice. Damini coaxes Govind to fight the case against the culprits and he agrees. Later, Urmi is killed and her death is proved to be a suicide in the court by the advocate Chaddha. The movie then shows the court hearings where Govind and Damini struggle hard to prove the truth while the Gupta family continuously uses the power of money to either bribe or threaten the people who can help Damini win the case.
Lastly, Shekhar is the only person left whose testimony can help Damini bring justice to Urmi. Shekhar is not involved in the murder of Urmi and by now, he’s also very confused about whom to favour because he loves Damini very much but love for his family on the other hand is stopping him from supporting Damini in court. Damini is once again tried to be killed by Chaddha but she somehow reaches the court safely where Shekhar listens to his heart and supports Damini. Damini wins the case and regains the love of his husband.
Damini: A role model for all women.
Damini, the movie is considered to be one of the greatest hits of Indian Cinema and also the best performance by Meenakshi Sheshadri in a Hindi movie. This movie has set examples for all women to raise their voice against injustice and fight for truth. Damini, the character shows how even a simple woman has that hidden capability to go against the family and society to support truth despite of all obstacles.
By Vineeta Sinha