First of all, I sincerely thank my deemed younger sister and esteemed blogger and reviewer, S.B. Patra (better known as ‘Chalojai Bahudure’) who inspired me to write a review of this brilliant thriller starring Kajol, Sanjay Dutt and newcomer villain Ashutosh Rana. It’s directed by debutante lady director Tanuja Chandra who has borrowed the plot from the Hollywood movie, Eye for an Eye (1996), the difference being here is that while in the Hollywood movie, the mother inflicts revenge upon the rapist murderer, here the job is done by the twin sister of the victim. Tanuja Chandra went ahead to direct movies like Sangharsh, Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar, Sur, Zindagi Rocks and Filmstar later on. However this maiden venture of herself is considered as her best till date.The story of Dushman (1998) belongs to the rape and murder of one of the twin sisters by a sex-maniac postman whose next victim is the other sister. How the surviving twin-sister is able to kill her Dushman (enemy) is the remaining story. The director has given a highly admirable treatment to the plot, making it a thoroughly engrossing thriller. The cat and mouse games between Ashutosh and the law enforcing agencies on one hand and between Ashutosh and Kajol on the other, keep the viewer’s attention focussed on the screen for more than one and a half hours out of the two hours and twenty minutes long movie.During 50s and 60s, Pran was the most deadly villain of Bollywood who was hated so much by the audience that some years back he had announced a reward for a person named as Pran during that period because people had stopped naming their kids after his name. After him, no Bollywood villain could match his deadly baddiness (perhaps with the sole exception of Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh in Sholay) till Ashutosh arrived on the scene with Dushman. He deservingly won all the best villain awards for 1998. His presence on the screen in this movie is nothing short of a spine-chilling one. His contribution is the most in making this movie a memorable one.Kajol has excelled in her double role. Interestingly, Karan Johar’s blockbuster Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai was also released in the same year (1998) but Kajol won the Screen award for the best actress for her performance in Dushman instead of KKHH. The scene in which one sister is being victimized by the villain whereas the other one is listening to her painful and panicked shrieks on the other side of the telephone, is the best scene of the movie in which both, Kajol and Ashutosh have taken their acting performance to the dizzy heights.
Among others; Jas Arora, Pramod Moutho, the child artists and Tanvi Aazmi have done well. The movie also stars Sanjay Dutt in the subdued role of a blind ex-armyman who boosts the morale of the remaining twin-sister and supports her when she does not get justice from the law for her victimized twin. He is neither excellent, nor bad.The music by Uttam Singh is very good. Anand Bakshi has penned some very good lyrics including the song – Chitthi Na Koi Sandes which has been sung by Jagjit Singh. However, it would have been better to trim the movie by excluding one or two songs as the free-flow of the narrative is blocked by them and a kind of laxity emerges in the post-interval session due to the romantic endeavours of Sanjay Dutt and Kajol.
Technically, the movie is very good. It has a lot of plus points to boast of. In fact, it’s a pity that such a superb movie flopped on the box office. In my view, Dushman is one of the finest crime-revenge thrillers ever made in Bollywood.
While recommending this movie to all the thriller fans, I convey my warm birthday wishes to Ashutosh Rana who turns 50 today.
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