Back in the 90s, quite a few films were inspired by Hollywood biggies and the remakes were largely unofficial. Though that is not quite a trend today, scenario was different 20-30 years back. No wonder, it was quite unprecedented when Hollywood hit Sleeping with the Enemy (with Julia Roberts in the lead) was the source of inspiration for as many as three Bollywood films. Incidentally, all of these released pretty much back to back between 1995 and 1996. While Yaraana arrived in 1995, Agni Sakshi and Daraar followed in 1996.
Yaraana didn’t do well while Daraar was a moderate success, and that too with Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla respectively who were top stars of that time. However, the biggest surprise was Agni Sakshi, as the film didn’t just turn out to be successful but in fact emerged a Super Duper Hit. Made at a decent budget of 5 crores (a good number back then), the film went on to do four times the business at the box office and netted close to 20 crores. The leading lady of the film? Manisha Koirala.
Though Manisha indeed had a major role to play in the film’s success, and also featured in chartbuster dance track ‘O Yaara Dil Lagana’, Agni Sakshi is remembered most for Nana Patekar and his brooding possessive husband act. He was simply brilliant in the film and even went on to win the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The film explored quite a few social issues, including marital rape, and was a heart stopping affair with Nana Patekar’s blow hot blow cold act sending shivers down the spine of the audiences. In fact his scene with Manisha Koirala, where he reprimands her for coming home late after grocery shopping, is one of the most popular clips amongst Tiktok users to emulate.
Jackie Shroff played the supporting lover of Manisha Koirala and was as appropriate in the film as he was in Rangeela with Urmila Matondkar, which had released just a year back.
Agni Sakshi was especially popular amongst the women folk as it dealt with domestic abuse. Partho Ghosh directed the film and though he brought together the trio of Nana Patekar, Manisha Koirala and Jackie Shroff in Yugpurush, that one was a major disaster.