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It's basically the story of a woman who tries to start a new life when the past comes to her in person and haunts her till she has to fake her own death. It sheds light on women trapped in relationships that they cannot escape from, especially in the Indian society. If you are into bollywood movies, this movie is a must see. The songs are decent but can be skipped. In today's world where the name "Bollywood" reminds us of half-clad helpless actresses whose only purpose in the movie is to yell for help while the macho actor comes from nowhere and rescues her, this movie gives Bollywood viewers yet another reason to be patient and wait for movies such as these. Even though there are moments in this movie where the main actor rescues the actress from her "past", there is definitely a plot! Manisha Koirala and Nana Patekar especially give us a stunning performance and the rest of the cast do a decent job too.
Hollywood movie - Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) starring Julia
Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Kevin Anderson presented the story of a
runaway wife who has to run away because of her abusive husband and
then she finds her soulmate in the form of another, better man who does
not take his love to absurd possessiveness culminating in abuse of his
spouse. This story idea impressed Bollywood filmmakers so much that
within a few years, many Bollywood adaptations of this story came on
the Indian screen viz. Yaaraana (1995) featuring Raj Babbar as the
villain, Agni Saakshi (1996) featuring Nana Paatekar as the villain,
Daraar (1996) featuring Arbaaz Khan as the villain, Koi Mere Dil Se
Poochhe (2002) featuring Sanjay Kapoor as the villain etc. Among all
these, Agni Saakshi emerged as the best adaptation of the Hollywood
movie and therefore, it proved to be a box office grosser whereas the
other ones flopped. I watched it twice in the theatre.
Agni Saakshi (the sacred fire as the witness) tells the story of Shubhaangi (Manisha Koiraala) who is actually a runaway bride with her real name being Madhu. She was married to Vishwanaath (Nana Paatekar) who though loved his wife was overpossessive about her and there was a sadistic abnormality in his personality. Madhu now rechristened as Shubhaangi comes into contact with Suraj (Jackie Shroff) who instantly falls in love with her and marries her. However the marital bliss of Shubhaangi aka Madhu proves to be short-lived when Vishwanaath who was made to believe that Madhu was dead, finds her and then demands her back from Suraj on the ground of himself still being the legal husband of Madhu. After many dramatic and thrilling incidents in the narrative, Shubhaangi aka Madhu gets rid of him to spend her life happily as Suraj's wife.
Writer Ranbir Pushp and director Partho Ghosh have handled the story very well and after devoting some footage to the romantic track of Shubhaangi and Suraj as well as that of Shubhaangi's friend Urmila (Divya Dutta) and Suraj's younger brother Ravi (Ravi Behl), does not allow the audience to yawn even for a moment. The breathtaking narrative keeps the audience thoroughly engrossed for the major part of the movie. This 142 minutes long movie is highly entertaining, there's little doubt about it.
The biggest USP of this movie is unarguably Nana Paatekar who is a natural actor and is able to infuse life into any role assigned to him. He has brought the overpossessive abusive husband Vishwanaath alive on the screen and turned this movie into an extra-ordinary one which cannot be categorized with the run-of-the-mill stuff made in plenty in Bollywood. His scenes and dialogs have been written with care and attention and his mesmerizing performance has made every scene featuring him a highly impressive one. If not for anything else, this movie can be watched at least or his sake.
The director has exasperated the sadistic love of Vishwanaath for his wife with finesse. The audience wants to hate the abusive husband but cannot because this sadism contains an indirect element of comedy also. Despite feeling sympathetic for the aggrieved wife, the audience cannot help but laugh at the mannerisms of the husband who is apparently the villain of the story.
Other than Nana also, the director has been able to extract natural performances from his cast. The second best performer is Manisha Koiraala who has excelled in the role of the aggrieved wife who has no option but to run away from her abusive husband and adopt a second identity to live the remaining part of her life peacefully. She loves her second husband from the core of her heart but is very much concerned for his well-being and safety which is in danger because of her first husband's chasing her. Manisha was very beautiful in her twenties and her performance in this movie is one of the best performances of her career. Jackie Shroff is fine as the hero though his tragedy is that the villain has got a higher profile than him in the movie.
Nadeem Shravan have composed good music for Sameer's lyrics. Jaana O Jaan-e-Tamanna Tu Meri Gulfaam Hai, O Piya O Piya, O Yaara Dil Lagaana, Waada Karo Dil Se Kabhi Door Nahin Jaaoge Tum, Mujhko Dildaar Yaar Aisa Chaahiye, Ab Aankhen Band Karo etc. are all reasonably good to listen and enjoy.
Summing up, Agni Saakshi is the best Indian version of Sleeping with the Enemy which is damn entertaining and likable by all categories of audiences. I recommend this thoroughly entertaining thriller movie to not only the fans of Nana Paatekar but the movie buffs in general also.
'Agni Sakshi' is the second clone of the Hollywood hit 'Sleeping with
the Enemy' after 'Yaraana' and surprisingly this one is far better than
the previous clone.
The plot is just the same as the original but honestly, the plot is nowhere near the original. 'Agni Sakshi' is packed with lots of twists and turns which would surely engross the audience.
Coming back to the plot, it tells the story of a woman called Shivangi who tries to forget her past and start her life anew by marrying a kind and rich guy named Suraj. But Shivangi's past comes to haunt her back as her abusive husband (whom she marries before marrying Suraj) comes back from nowhere to claim his possession. Will he succeed in taking her back or will she fight back? As for the production department, this movie is absolutely well-handled with a nice screenplay and brilliant direction. Partho Ghosh should be applauded for his attempt in remaking a Hollywood thriller without ripping it off scene-by-scene and dialogue-to-dialogue.
Acting is awesome of almost all the actors. But amongst them, Nana Patekar and Manisha Koirala steal the show with their natural acting talent. Nana is absolutely convincing as the violently possessive husband. Manisha plays her part with diligence. Jackie Shroff is good. Ravi Behl and Divya Dutta have nothing to do.
Music is brilliant. 'O Yaara Dil Lagana' is my favorite song in the movie. Editing is up to the mark. Cinematography is excellent and standard. But the choreography and costume designing department in the movie were a letdown.
Despite a few drawbacks, this movie is a must watch. It's a good time-pass flick that could be enjoyed with family.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the 90s there were many remakes of Sleeping with the Eniemy, from
Yaarana(1995),AGNISAKSHI(1996), Daraar(1997) and finally Koi Mere Dil
Se Pooche(2002). Except this film all tanked at the B.O.
The film starts off on an ordinary note, with romance between Jackie and Manisha, Ravi and Divya Dutta but the story actually gets interesting with Nana's introduction, his scenes with Jackie and Manisha are riveting, The flashback in second half is well handled while the film keeps your attention alive till the end.
Partho Ghosh's direction is simply amazing Music by Nadeem Shravan is good and melidious but at times does slacken the pace, O Piya is the best song, while Iqrar Karna was a big hit
Nana Patekar steals the show, normally known for his loud hamming, in this film he is controlled and plays Vishwanath(his real name too), with brilliance. Manisha is superb in her role of a tormented wife and later who turns into Shubhangi a model, In the same year both acted in Khamoshi as father and daughter. Jackie Shroff has a conventional role and does a good job Amongst rest Ravi Behl gets less scope and is ordinary, Divya Dutta is nothing great Alok Nath, Achyut Potdar and rest are adequate
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