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26 years of Dushman! From thrillers to rom-coms, Tanuja Chandra's versatile journey in movies

On the anniversary of Dushman, we look back at Tanuja Chandra's groundbreaking films and visionary direction.

26 years of Dushman! From thrillers to rom-coms, Tanuja Chandra's versatile journey in movies
Tanuja Chandra (Courtesy/Instagram); Dushman

Last Updated: 02.40 PM, May 29, 2024


On the 26th anniversary of the premiere of Tanuja Chandra's Dushman, a psychological thriller from 1998, we can take this opportunity to look back on the career of this gifted filmmaker. The director has made a name for herself in Bollywood with a string of riveting features thanks to her skill as a storyteller and her willingness to tackle heavy subjects. Her directorial endeavours cover a wide spectrum of genres, from the terrifying tale of revenge in Dushman to the psychological horror Sangharsh to the painful romantic comedy Qarib Qarib Singlle. She has become an unstoppable force in the films to her work with famous producers like Mukesh Bhatt and her talent for eliciting strong performances from actors like Kajol, Sanjay Dutt, and Irrfan Khan.

This is a great chance to honour Tanuja Chandra's varied and influential filmography while we commemorate Dushman's lasting influence.

Films directed by Tanuja Chandra



Starring Kajol, Sanjay Dutt, and Ashutosh Rana, Dushman is a psychological thriller film from 1998. Mukesh and Pooja Bhatt produce the film, while Tanuja Chandra directs it. A Hollywood original, Eye for an Eye, served as inspiration for the film.

Kajol portrays the characters of Sonia and Naina, two identical twins, in this suspenseful criminal drama. The antagonist, Gokul (Ashutosh Rana), murders Sonia by raping her viciously. In her quest for retribution after her sister's murder, Naina encounters Major Suraj Singh Rathod (Sanjay Dutt), a blind former soldier, who instructs her in the art of plotting her vengeance. But they argue, and Naina ends up going on the expedition alone.


Tanuja Chandra directed the 1999 psychological horror film Sangharsh. Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, and Ashutosh Rana are among its stars. In a brief appearance as Zinta's younger self, Alia Bhatt played a child artist. Chandra revealed that the film drew inspiration from a similar missing police case in India, refuting the notion that it was based on the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs.

When kids are missing for no apparent reason, CBI trainee Reet Oberoi (Preity Zinta) decides to investigate. After investigating, Reet learns that a religious extremist named Lajja Shankar Pandey (Ashutosh Rana) is planning to sacrifice the children who went missing. Reet enlists the aid of Aman Varma (Akshay Kumar) because she is unable to handle Pandey on her own. But things aren't exactly going well for Aman. Will Reet and Aman defeat the wicked fanatic Pandey?

Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar

Tanuja Chandra and Mukesh Bhatt collaborated in the 2001 romantic drama Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar. Ameesha Patel and Jimmy Sheirgill are the main actors in the movie. Sarina (Ameesha) resides with her affluent father, Vivek (Gulshan Grover), and aspires to be a music sensation. After her achievement, she experiences the dark side of fame when a tabloid publishes an article on her orphanage. A newfound concern for Sarina's biological parents emerges. After meeting her mother, Namrata (Nafisa Ali), Sarina learns the truth and seeks to get revenge on her.

Sur – The Melody of Life (Prime Video; Lionsgate Play [OTTplay Premium])

The 2002 musical film Sur: The Melody of Life featured Lucky Ali and Gauri Karnik in the key roles. Simone Singh, Achint Kaur, Divya Dutta, Nitin, Ehsaan Khan, and Harsh Vashisht are among the co-stars. This film takes its cues from the 1984 film Amadeus, which in turn influenced the 1992 Telugu film Swati Kiranam. As the young singer's (Gauri Karnik) star starts to rise, a famous music teacher (Lucky Ali) becomes envious and competitive with her.

Zindaggi Rocks

Tanuja Chandra produced and directed the 2006 musical film Zindaggi Rocks. It follows the romantic journey of two actors, Shiney Ahuja as a doctor and Sushmita Sen as a famous singer named Kriya.

At his medical practice, Dr. Suraj Rihan encounters the famous singer Kriya. Contrasted with his reserved and mature demeanour, she exudes an irreverent, carefree energy. Inviting Suraj to see her family, Kriya introduces him to her strict mother and her lively, giggling twin sister (Moushumi Chatterjee). A very mature-looking adopted son lives with Kriya. A calamity tests the newfound love that Kriya and Suraj have for each other. The situation for Kriya's baby is dire; he has a heart defect and will not be able to undergo surgery until a donor is located. Consequently, Kriya murders someone.

Hope and a Little Sugar

Tanuja Chandra directed the 2006 film Hope and a Little Sugar in New York City. It had its world premiere and received a prize at New York's South Asian International Film Festival.

Amit Sial portrays Ali, who works as a bike messenger and photographer in New York. A married woman named Saloni Oberoi (Mahima Chaudhry) becomes his buddy and love interest. Anupam Kher plays Harry Oberoi's father, a retired colonel who taunts Ali for being Muslim after her husband Harry's murder in the September 11 attacks (Vikram Chatwal). The situation gets worse when the Colonel, a Sikh, becomes the focus of social antagonism after 9/11, despite Mrs. Oberoi's (Suhasini Mulay's) best efforts to rein him in.

Silvat (ZEE5 [OTTplay Premium])

One of the 2016 Zeal for Unity festival submissions, Silvat, is a romance drama short film. Faraz Arif Ansari wrote the film, which Tanuja Chandra directed and stars Kartik Aaryan and Meher Mistry. While working on Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, Kartik Aaryan shot the film.

In this social drama, we follow Noor (Meher) as she watches helplessly as her husband leaves for a job overseas in the very first week of their marriage. She develops feelings for the tailor Anwar (Kartik) as her marital life devolves into an endless wait for her spouse. Are they going to tell each other how they feel?

Qarib Qarib Singlle (Netflix; ZEE5 [OTTplay Premium])

The 2017 romantic comedy Qarib Qarib Singlle was produced by Zee Studios, JAR Pictures, and Sutapa Sikdar and was written and directed by Tanuja Chandra. The film's lead actors are Irrfan Khan and Parvathy Thiruvothu. Jaya and Yogi, two characters with polar opposite personalities, meet through a dating app and embark on a journey together in the film. This journey is the most exciting one they've ever had because of all the wild things that happen to them. Will love blossom between them?

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