1. Kajol’s first of three double roles that she has played, the other two being Raju Chacha in 2000 and Kuch Khatta Kuch Meetha 2001. Dushman in 1998 fetched Kajol her Fourth Filmfare awards nomination in six years.She played the twins Sonia and Naina Sehgal , one of whom is brutally murdered.
2. In Dushman Kajol worked for the first time with a female director Tanuja Chandra. 23 years later she again worked with a female director in Tribhanga which was directed by Renuka Shahane , wife of actor Ashutosh Rana who had played the terrifying psychopath in Dushman.Small(and vicious) world.
3. Tanuja Chandra had initially titled the film Andhera. But it was seen to be too negative.So the title Dushman. The film was an unofficial remake of the Sally Field starrer An Eye For An Eye where the focus was on the mother taking revenge on her daughter’s killer. In Dushman it’s not the grieving mother(superbly played by Tanve Azmi) but the twin sister who takes revenge.
4. Sanjay Dutt’s role of the surviving twin’s blind love interest was an add-on. The role was not there in the original. But the distributors and exhibitors felt the film needed a strong male lead to go with Kajol’s double role. Dutt was not only blind he was also quite oblivious as to what he was doing in the film.
5. In 1998 Kajol was nominated for Filmfare’s Best Actress in three films: Pyar To Hona Hi Tha(where she co-starred with her husband Ajay Devgan), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dushman . She won the award for KKHH. I feel she was far superior in Dushman where she played the twins as two characters .
6. Uttam (Dil Toh Pagal Hai) Singh’s music in Dushman was a highlight. Even today it is impossible to listen to Lata Mangeshkar and Jagjit Singh’s Chitthi na koi sandes jaane woh kaun sa des jahan tum chalen gaye without getting teary eyed.The shot where the surviving twin reaches out into the empty space in the bed gives me goosebumps as I write about it.
7. Released during the year of mammoth blockbusters like Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Abbas-Mustan’s Soldier ,Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se and Vikram Bhatt’s Ghulam, Dushman held its own at the boxoffice. Many , including I, feel this is Kajol’s best film to date.
Image source: IMDb
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