Why Zakhm, Mahesh Bhatt’s 90s Classic, Continues To Inspire Filmmakers Today


Zakhm, a cinematic jewel from the 90s directed by Mahesh Bhatt, commemorates its 25th anniversary. Delving into the tumultuous backdrop of the 1992-93 Bombay riots, the film draws inspiration from the life of Mahesh Bhatt’s mother, Shirin Mohammad Ali. Despite its historical context, Zakhm intricately addresses various timeless subjects, making it a poignant source of inspiration for contemporary filmmakers.


A Glimpse into the Plot

"Discover why Zakhm, Mahesh Bhatt's 25-year-old creation, remains a timeless source of inspiration for today's filmmakers, transcending its 90s origins."

Zakhm, starring Pooja Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in lead roles, unfolds the life of Shirin Mohammad Ali. This brave woman, mother to Mahesh Bhatt, grappled with societal judgment due to her relationship with filmmaker Nanabhai Bhatt. The film, essentially a biographical account, intertwines this personal struggle with the aftermath of the 90s Babri Masjid riots in Mumbai.

Timeless Themes

Beyond its biographical narrative, Zakhm resonates with contemporary issues. The film addresses the perennial dilemma faced by many Indian youth — the choice between building a future in their homeland or seeking opportunities abroad. This conflict unfolds against the chaotic backdrop of Mumbai during the riots, providing a gripping narrative that captures the essence of the times.


A Tale of Two Faces of India

Zakhm introduces us to two contrasting faces of India through its characters. While lead character Ajay (played by Ajay Devgn) navigates the chaos without resorting to violence, his brother Anand (played by Akshay Anand) represents a different, more aggressive perspective. The film skillfully explores the dichotomy within the nation, one fueled by rage and the other grounded in the pursuit of justice.

Political Commentary and National Integration

The film doesn’t shy away from exposing the exploitative nature of politicians, embodied by the character of Subodh Malgaonkar (Ashutosh Rana). Zakhm underscores the flaws of national leaders while emphasizing the role of ordinary individuals in upholding the nation’s secular fabric. It sheds light on the intricacies of relationships, religion, and politics, offering a thought-provoking commentary on India’s societal landscape.


Controversies and Recognition

Released six years after Mumbai faced communal violence, Zakhm faced opposition from political parties and the censor board. Despite the challenges, Mahesh Bhatt stood firm, and the film was eventually released with an ‘A’ certificate. Zakhm earned Ajay Devgn his first national award and received the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.

In revisiting Zakhm on its 25th anniversary, it becomes evident that the film transcends its era, resonating with themes that remain relevant today. Mahesh Bhatt’s directorial prowess, coupled with stellar performances, makes Zakhm a timeless masterpiece that continues to inspire and provoke contemplation in the realm of filmmaking.

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