We don’t mean to sound cranky but it seems like gory films have taken a firm backseat in Hindi cinema. Whether this is directly related to our Censor Board chief’s aesthetic abilities, or our increasing love for all things mush, we can’t be sure. The most violent and gory film of 2016, Rocky Handsome that starred John Abraham’s muscles also flopped terribly. No wonder we’re reminiscing about the good old ’90s when directors were not afraid of shocking audiences with visceral violence if needed.
100 Days (1991)
Considering our love of the occult, it’s strange that we haven’t made more movies starring characters like Devi, played by Madhuri Dixit, who can see into the future. In this case, Devi tries to piece together her sister’s murder after finding her corpse in the walls of her husband’s house. Before long, she has another premonition that a woman is about to be murdered. Jackie Shroff in a black costume and a tightly-woven plot make this a rare movie that keeps up its thriller element right until the end.
Shah Rukh Khan first achieved stardom because of his negative roles, none more famous than Yash Chopra’s Darrwith the (in)famous K-k-k-k-Kiran stammer. The sheer violence of Rahul Mehra’s (SRK) obsessive love for Kiran (Juhi Chawla) makes this a classic movie.
An underrated movie at the box-office, this Aamir Khan movie is a thriller of many shades. To anyone who has seenSarfarosh, it will seem like a prelude. The film starts with a failed assassination attempt which glorifies the hero Amar, played by Aamir Khan. However, he is sent to prison for killing a terrorist who also happens to be a politician’s brother. Eventually, he gets a chance to track down those who have maligned his name when the group once again takes government officials hostage and he goes on to save the day. Forget all the Hollywood movies it is seemingly inspired by, and enjoy this thriller on its own merits.
Marking Mahesh Manjrekar’s debut as a director, this movie has distinct shades of Mother India and is notable for one reason – Sanjay Dutt. From being a nobody to a dreaded gangster, Sanjay leads by example in this often violent movie. He gets into the skin of his character Raghu who, tired of the mindless violence around him, finally begs his mother to shoot him. The movie unmasks the corrupt politician-gangster nexus through a powerhouse performance by Dutt.
No, no, not the Chikni Chameli one! We’re talking about the original which released in 1990 and starred Amitabh Bachchan as the wronged son who single-handedly sets out to avenge the injustice faced by his father and family. It is also one of the last movies where Amitabh played Vijay and enacts the ‘angry young man’ persona for his fans before his eventual move to character roles. If you loved the Hrithik Roshan version of the film, then you owe it to yourself to catch the original and learn why, when it comes to Bachchan’s performance, the line, “Baap baap hota hai” rings true.
This mafia godmother story, starring the ever-bankable Shabana Azmi, is an allegory to feminism much before the word came into popular culture. The film is all about a powerless widow who turns into the most influential villager by unflinchingly and mercilessly eliminating anyone who opposes her. The movie has a very idealistic ending that Santokben Jadeja, who reportedly inspired the movie, would approve of. Nevertheless, this is a movie from the late 90s that deserves to be seen by more people.
Another movie starring Shah Rukh Khan as an obsessive lover, here things take a reverse turn when as his muse (Madhuri Dixit) turns into his enemy after she rejects his advances. Khan’s character first destroys her family life and then has her sent to prison where she is mistreated by the female warden. This sets the stage for her violent revenge in the second half where she literally bites off her victims’ hands and executes the perfect revenge plot.
Bandit Queen (1994)
No list of gory movies from the ’90s can be complete without mentioning Bandit Queen. This controversial movie on the life of Phoolan Devi, directed by Shekhar Kapur, has some disturbing scenes involving rape and violence. From marital rape to beating her ex-husband senseless with the butt of a rifle, Bandit Queen’s goriness requires a tough stomach.
With Satya, Ram Gopal Varma established a new type of language when it came to making gangster movies. Co-writers Saurabh Shukla – who also plays the unforgettable Kallu Mama – and Anurag Kashyap teach us the lesson that crime never pays with a degree of violence and insanity that shocks you at times. Aided ably by Manoj Bajpayee’s brilliant turn as Bhiku Mhatre, the depth to which the protagonist spirals into the underworld and the havoc it wreaks on everyone’s lives has been hard for Varma to recreate since.
This Sanjay Dutt – Mahesh Bhatt pairing was one of the big hits of the ’90s. The director-actor duo came together for Sadak alongside the performance of a lifetime by Sadashiv Amrapurkar, who plays an evil eunuch and the main trouble-maker, in this otherwise forgotten movie that is still best remembered for its soulful songs.
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Cover Image Courtesy: Darr