Agnisakshi (1998)

Countries - India   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Agnisakshi is a film about how religion and traditions can shape and often destroy people's lives. The film opens in a holy city, where Unni's cousin Thankam has come to scatter Unni's ashes in the Ganga River and find his wife Devaki, who has become an ascetic. The story is revealed through the reminiscences of Thankam, a mute spectator caught between these characters and the complexities of their relationship. In the early 1930's, against the backdrop of the struggle for freedom from the British rule, Unni accepts Devaki as his wife with the God of Fire as a principal witness and brings her into his temple. Soon, the young wife's romantic dreams are shattered when her husband immerses himself totally in his religion. Devaki finds comfort in idealizing her freedom fighter brother but is prevented from contacting him by her extended family. Feeling like a prisoner, she walks out one day and becomes an advocate of the rights of women and other underprivileged. Unni suffers silently. Devaki's revolutionary endeavors do not last long and she seeks salvation in an ashram where Thankam finds her. The first film by a director of television films, Agnisakshi was made with the mainstream audience in mind. It received the Best Film of the Year award of the State of Kerala and seven other awards, including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Makeup, Best Cinematography, Second Best Actress, Best Sound Recordist, and the Kerala Film Critics Award. It also created controversy about whether the director used the medium for Hindutva propaganda. Agnisakshi was screened at the 1999 International Film Festival of India and the 4th International Film Festival of Kerala, 1999.

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Keywords

Britain, freedom, husband, religion, revolution, rights, struggle, wife