The horror genre in the hindi film industry is a genre that has been so-called blooming since the 2000’s. Films like “Darna Mana Hai” (2003), “Bhoot” (2003) and “Pari” (2018) are good examples. The thing is in the hindi film industry a movie is quickly called a “horror” film even when it is a supernatural thriller and not exactly a horror film.
Also since the 2000’s bigger stars were being seen in these horror films. Before that is were either wannebe starlets or actors and actresses who were past their prime who were seen in this genre as it was looked down upon. Horror films from the 70’s and 80’s were more often B grade (or sometimes even C-grade) movies with the above mentioned kind of stars in them.
In this period (the 70’s and the 80’s) there was one production house who actually specialized in horror movies. Like ” The Hammer House Of Horror” in the west, India had the first family of horror… THE RAMSAY BROTHERS
I will not go into the Ramsay brothers in this article. But if you would like to read some more about the Ramsay Brothers please visit a blog of my “partner in horror-crime” Rocking Bhootni
Sunday the 22nd of July a special edition of our radioshow ” YAADEIN- A Walk Through Memory Lane” will be dedicated to The Ramsay Brothers and their movies. This show will be broadcast on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (NL), 9PM (U.K.), 5PM (SUR) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). This show can be heard through the cable in The Netherlands, 100.1FM in Surinam and worldwide through tunein, the sunrisefm app and online : www.sunrisefm.nl
In addition to this radioshow a documentary will be made about The Ramsay Brothers and their horror movies and uploaded on youtube on Monday July 23rd. Come back to this page for a link to this unique documentary.
Rajkumar Kohli (father of flopactor Armaan Kohli -Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo)was a producer/director who specialized in multi starrers in the 70s and 80s. In the last stages of his career he lost his golden touch when he didn’t focus on his films but focused on launching his son Armaan Kohli as the hero of these (flop) films. The biggest flop film of his career came in 2002 when he remade one of his biggest blockbusters and gave the movie the tilte of the second of his greatest hits. With a cast consisting of Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Sonu Nigam, Manisha Koirala, Arshad Warsi, Sharad Kapoor, Aftab Sjivdesani, Aditya Pancholi, Amrish Puri and Rambha still the movie focused on Armaan Kohli making his comeback. That was one of the prior reasons for the film being one of the worst movies from India right up there with Ram Gopal Verma Ke Aag (his remake of “SHOLAY”).
But the films Rajkumar Kohli (married to one time small actress Nishi) made in the earlier part of his career were (almost) all big hits with ensemble casts that were humongous in those times…
(fun side note: The 1988 Rajkumar Kohli film ” SAAZISH” which had a huge starcast is the only movie which had Dimple Kapadia and Anita Advani in it. Dimple being the ex-wife of Rajesh Khanna and Anita claiming to be his last live in girlfriend which turned out to be a hoax.)
Rajkumar Kohli hit the big time with a concept that was rare in those days. A film which had 7 heroes in it out of **SPOILER ALERT** which 6 heroes would be killed by he heroines who were actually a snake **END OF SPOILER**
(fun side note: The male snake who is killed in the beginning of the movie -and the reason for the “NAAGIN” to take revenge – was played by none other then Jeetendra. His daughter Ektaa Kapoor is the producer of the hit series NAAGIN which has season 3 rehashing the story of this film and even using the song that was picturized on her dad).
After this movie turned out to be a succes like nobody could have ever imagined Rajkumar Kohli went even further with another experiment.
He decided to make a movie with an even bigger starcast. And when you watch the movie today the cast seems even bigger then at the time when the movie was released. The reason being that when the movie was made some “unknown” actors were cast in some minor roles who would go on to become established actors and stars in their own right. And the experiment part…? Rajkumar Kohli decided to take A-listers and make a kind of a horror movie with them. Something which was unheard of in those days. The result is one of the best “masala-horrors” ever to come out of India and my favourite Rajkumar Kohli film : JAANI DUSHMAN!
The main story in short is : In a remote village everyone is shocked when brides (who marry wearing the clour red) get abducted from their doli by a monster and get killed on their wedding day. There is a Thakur whom everybody adores as he is upright and honest (Sanjeev Kumar), his wayward and spoiled son (Shatrughan Sinha) who lusts for a village belle (Reena Roy) who actually is in love with the hero of the village (Sunil Dutt). This hero (Sunil Dutt) has a sister whom he adores (Neetu Singh) who is in love with her brother’s best friend (Jeetendra). The Tahkur’s daughter (Bindiya Goswami) is in love with the hero (Sunil Dutt). Everyone gets spooked AND becomes a suspect when the brides get started being abducted and killed and everyone is a supect.
Now for the main cast : Sanjeev Kumar is great in his role as the father. In the film he is of the age of Sunil Dutt’s fater while in real life Sunil Dutt was 8 years older then Sanjeev. Shatru plays his son while in real life Sanjeev Kumar was Shatru’s best friend and only 9 years older then him. But that were the hindi films of the 70’s… and it worked. Sanjeev Kumar has always been good in his ” elderly” roles be it in “SHOLAY”, “TRISHUL” , “KHUDDAAR” or in this movie.
Sunil Dutt is good as the hero and does his job well, Jeetndra **SPOILER ALERT** had bad luck in Rajkumar Kholi movies. After being killed off in the beginning of the classic “NAAGIN” again his fate in this movie is sad. ** END OF SPOILERS** But the Jeentendra-Neetu Singh track is my favorite love story track in this movie. Rekha has a smaller role then the others and is even credited as having a guest appearance. But as far as the heroines go, I like her role the most in this movie. And she has done a good job. This was a time before she was a so-called diva with tons of make-up etc. She really looks nice here. Neetu Singh is once again paired opposite Jeetendra and she does her role well (fun fact : when she was a kid and worked under the name Baby Sonia she essayed the role of Jeetendra’s so called sister in the all time classic “WAARIS” in which Hema Malini was Jeetu’s leading lady). Though Neetu has a thankless role she does she does wonders with it. The main leading lady of the film who has the biggest role (as far as screen time goes) is Rajkumar Kohli favourite Reena Roy. She does justice to her role and was always a pleasure to look at (and she COULD act as well). But to be honest I liked her more in the negative role as and in ” NAAGIN” .
Every movie with a big cast to boast of has the big heroes and heroines and then the heroes and heroines of the “second category”. With that I don’t mean that they are any lessor actors. Take Vinod Mehra for instance. Vinod Mehra acoording to me was an superb actor who could do justice to difficult roles as well (watch him in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies – especially ‘BEMISAAL” which had him along with Raakhee and Amitabh Bachchan in a double role). What I mean to say is that though these actors were heroes and heroines in smaller movies as well in these movies they were relegaded to secondary roles. But important for the story to continue as well. But because these movies had many storylines not all roles could be filled with A-list stars (not using the word “actors” here) coz that could financially not be possible. JAANI DUSHMAN had this second category as well :
And then there were the character actors who were important to the story. Without them the story could not move forward. But they were no heroes or heroines. Some (like Shakti Kapoor and Amrish Puri) were unknown at the time (don’t forget in those times it took 3 years to complete a film) but who would later on become respected (in some cases) and established stars themselves. JAANI DUSHMAN had a steller supporting cast of known and (at that time) unknown names:
With a cast like this and a maker like Rajkumar Kolhi AND a concept that had never been tried before with big stars there was big interest in how the movie would fare at the box office. The special effects in the movie are laughable by today standards. But remember in those days it was new and the Indian audience was not privy to foreign films. There was no internet! The movie was a major hit and people flocked to the theaters!
If there is one point of criticism on my part with Rajkumar Kohli movies it’s the music. None of his films had a killer soundtrack like say, Shakti Samantha movies, Yash Chopra movies, Feroz Khan movies, Manoj Kumar movies and so on. The Rajkumar Kohli movies had maybe one song that would become a hit or even a rage but that was it.
Like the movie NAAGIN had this one (ALL YOU NAAGIN SEASON 3 FANS AND ANITA HASSANANDANI FANS CHECK THIS OUT!)
The music in the movie was once again scored by Laxmikant-Pyarelal who were Rajkumar Kohli regulars.
Although the movie had to hit songs at the time of release the Kishore Kumar-Anuradha Paudwal duet “O Meri Jaan” is almost forgotten today. What still is remembered today and what is played on the radio even today for any wedding is the song made immortal by Mohd. Rafi…
On July 22nd a YAADEIN SPECIAL saluting the RAMSAY BROTHERS and their horror films will be broadcast on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (NL), 9PM (U.K), 5PM (SUR) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). You can listen to the show through the cable (Netherlands), 100.1FM (Surinam) and worldwide through tunein, the SunriseFM app and www.sunrisefm.nl ( a link to the show will be provided IF it will be uploaded on youtube).
Monday July 23rd a documentary about THE RAMSAY BROTHERS AND THEIR HORROR FILMS will be online (youtube) for you to enjoy. A link will be posted here as soon as it is available.
Do you want to know more about The Ramsay Brothers in advance so you can enjoy the show even more? Check out the blog of my “partner in horror-crime” Rocking Bhootni
Do you like horror stories? Check out QISSAY
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JAANI DUSHMAN (1979)
produced and directed by Rajkumar Kohli
cast Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra, Reena Roy, Sanjeev Kumar, Neetu Singh, Shatrughan Sinha, Rekha, Vinod Mehra, Vikram, Yogita Bali, Bindiya Goswami, Sheetal, Aruna Irani, Neeta Mehta, Sarika, Jayshree T, Prem Nath, Shakti Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Madan Puri, Roopesh Kumar, Sulochna, Anwar Hussain, Raza Murad, Jagdeep, Paintal, MacMohan and many others
music Laxmikant Pyarelal
singers Kishore Kumar
Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhonsle, Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor and Anuradha Paudwal