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Directed byRajkumar Santoshi
Written byRajkumar Santoshi
Sutanu Gupta (Story)
Produced byAly Morani
Karim Morani
Bunty Soorma
StarringMeenakshi Sheshadri
Sunny Deol
Rishi Kapoor
Amrish Puri
Paresh Rawal
CinematographyIshwar Bidri
Edited byV. N. Mayekar[1]
Music byNadeem-Shravan
Sameer (Lyrics)
Release date
30 April 1993
Running time
176 minutes
Budget 2.05 crore
Box officeest. 11.75 crore (equivalent to 68 crore or US$9.6 million in 2019)[2]

Damini (transl. Lightning) is a 1993 Indian Hindi-language crime drama film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi starring Meenakshi Seshadri in the title role alongside Sunny Deol, Rishi Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal in pivotal roles and Aamir Khan in a special appearance.[3] The story is of how a woman fights against society for justice. The film is considered to be one of the best woman-centric films ever made in Bollywood.[4][5][6][7][8]

Besides being critically acclaimed, the film became the sixth highest grossing of the year and was declared a "hit" at Box Office India.[2] Damini – Lightning is mostly remembered for Meenakshi Seshadri's career best performance that was highly acclaimed.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

It is considered a cult feminist film and is still regarded as an all-time classic female oriented film and important for portraying women empowerment in cinema[18][19][20][14][21][22] The pathbreaking film was praised for breaking social taboos and handling the subject of rape with sensitivity; a rarity in Bollywood at the time.[23][24][25][26][27]

It is equally memorable for Sunny Deol's brilliant portrayal of an alcoholic lawyer and the role gained him a Filmfare as well as National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1993. It strengthened his Bollywood he-man image. His dialogues in the film "Tarikh pe tarikh" ("date after date") and "Dhai Kilo ka Haath" became iconic and a pop-culture reference.[28][29][30] The film was a milestone in the careers of Sunny Deol, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Amrish Puri, who gave some great hits like Ghayal and Ghatak: Lethal together.[31][32][33][34] Aamir Khan acted in a special appearance in the stage show dance song. He also promotes his upcoming movie Andaz Apna Apna which was also directed by Rajkumar Santoshi.

Damini – Lightning was remade into Oriya as Nari Nuhne Tu Narayani, starring Sidhanta Mohapatra and Rachana Banarjee. It was remade into Tamil as Priyanka, starring Revathi as the title character. Box Office India declared the film a super hit. This film was remade in Bangladesh as Sottyer Bijoy, starring Manna and Moushumi, directed by F.I. Manik. The rights of the movie were owned by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment.[35] who has handed over the rights to Sunny Deol who plan to remake the movie with his son Karan Deol[36]

Damini is the recipient of a number of accolades. At the 40th National Film Awards, Deol won the Best Supporting Actor award. In addition to other awards, the film received seven nominations at the 39th Filmfare Awards including Best Film, Best Actress for Seshadri, and Best Villain for Puri. It won a leading awards (4)— Best Director for Santoshi, Best Supporting Actor for Deol, Best Story for Sutanu Gupta, and Best Sound for Rakesh Ranjan.

The plot and storyline of Damini has been copied from little known US television movie Silent Witness released in 1985 on NBC. The movie starred Valerie Bertinelli, John Savage, and Melissa Leo. It was directed by Michael Miller and is based on a true rape case in Massachusetts.


Shekhar Gupta (Rishi Kapoor), a rich businessman, falls in love at first sight with Damini (Meenakshi Seshadri). They get married and Damini moves into his luxurious bungalow. On Holi day, she witnesses Shekhar's younger brother, Rakesh (Ashwin Kaushal), and his friends, raping the maid-servant Urmi (Prajakta) and rushes to tell Shekhar. Shekhar rushes over to prevent sexual assault but is too late. The Gupta family conspires to cover up this shameful incident. But Damini decides to inform the police. The matter is taken up in court and Damini is asked to testify. Damini is portrayed as a mentally unstable person and confined in a mental institution for two weeks by judicial order. Unable to bear the mental torture in the institution, she escapes and runs into a down-and-out alcoholic lawyer, Govind (Sunny Deol), who has the rape case re-opened. Urmi dies in hospital and the police write her death off as a suicide. But Govind is able to prove otherwise. It is up to Damini, Govind and Shekhar to provide justice to the victimized girl.



Film reviewer Pranay Bhagat wrote: "If there is one modern film which signifies the importance of truth it has to be Damini. Though the movie is more remembered for the dialogues of Sunny Deol and his confrontational scenes with Amrish Puri, I feel the movie should also be appreciated for a tight bound script, the wonderfully directed courtroom scenes, good background music as well as a career best performance from Meenakshi."[37]

Critic Vineeta Sinha in her review praises the film for its tight bound script, courtroom scenes, music and above all the career best performance of Meenakshi.[12]

Film Critic Sulagana Biswas for the Telegraph India; states the film despite being dated is still "eminently watchable" and also praising Sheshadri's portrayal of the title role states "the film still holds its own due to the earnestness of Meenakshi Sheshadri's performance."[14]

Simantini Dey writing for News18 hails the film as a "cult feminist film" and states "Damini -- released in 1993 -- is perhaps one of the most misunderstood films in Bollywood history. Despite receiving instant critical acclaim upon its release and having a successful run at the box-office, we as an audience have celebrated this film for all the wrong reasons. Yes, Sunny Deol's punchy dialogues like, "Tarikh par Tarikh milti rahi hai, lekin insaaf nahi mila, my lord!" deserved all the claps and whistles it received, and the theatrics of the courtroom drama, wherein two lawyers Govind (Sunny Deol) and Mr Indrajit Chaddha (Amrish Puri) exchange angry words and stares indeed make for a great Bollywood entertainer. But the real reason why Damini was such an iconic film and deserves a cult status is the protagonist of the film --- Damini (played brilliantly by Meenakshi Seshadri). Till date, Bollywood has not given us such a strong and beautifully written female character as Damini, who not only has a mind of her own, but also a conscience. Long before films like Raazi and Pink were made in Bollywood, Rajkumar Santoshi's Damini gave us a HIT feminist movie with a female central character, who fights against all odds to bring justice to another woman."[38]


Year Film Language Cast Director
1993 Urmila Telugu Suman, Malashri, Sunil, Soundarya, Murali Mohan, Tanikella Bharani Tammareddy Bharadwaja
1994 Priyanka Tamil Revathi, Jayaram, Prabhu G. Neelakanta Reddy
2002 Sottyer Bijoy Bangladesh Manna, Moushumi
2007 Nari Nuhen Tu Narayani Oriya Siddhanta, Rachana


Soundtrack album by
StudioSunny Super Sound
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length31 Min 25 sec
ProducerAly Moorani, Karim Morani & Bunty Shoorma

The soundtrack of this movie was composed by the music duo Nadeem Shravan and the lyrics were penned by Sameer . The soundtrack was released in 1993 on Audio Cassette and Audio CD in RPG-HMV Music Made in India and EMI Made in England, Which consist 5 Songs. The full album is recorded by Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, and Sadhna Sargam

The lyrics were written The song "Gawah Hain Chand Taare Gawah Hai" is based on the Swahili folk song "Malaika".[39]

No Title Singer(s)
1 "Jab Se Tumko Dekha Hai Sanam" Kumar Sanu, Sadhana Sargam
2 "Gawah Hain Chand Taare Gawah Hai" Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik
3 "Bin Sajan Jhoola Jhoolu" Kumar Sanu, Sadhana Sargam
4 "Sacha Aashiq Hai To" Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik
5 "Kaga To Udd Gaya" Alka Yagnik


Ceremony Category Recipient Result
1993 National Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Sunny Deol Won
1994 Filmfare Awards Best Supporting Actor
Best Director Rajkumar Santoshi
Best Story Sutanu Gupta
Best Sound Rakesh Ranjan
Best Film Damini Nominated
Best Actress Meenakshi Seshadri
Best Villain Amrish Puri


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