Bandh Darwaza

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Bandh Darwaza

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Plot

This Bollywood horror epic saw the reunion of directors Tulsi and Shyam Ramsay with actor Ajay Agarwai, the same triumvirate that produced the classic Purana Mandir. Bandh Darwaza represents a uniquely Bollywood-styled take on the Dracula myth. A prologue depicts the childless wife of a nobleman striking a deal with sorcerer Neola (Agarwai). She asks him to use his dark skills to grant her a pregnancy so she can give her husband an heir. The catch is that she must give the child to the sorcerer's cult if it is female. She tries to renege when she has a baby girl but Neola's minions poison her and steal the child. The baby is saved before it can be sacrificed but Neola swears he will return from the beyond to claim the girl when she is an adult. Several years later, the baby has grown into a headstrong young woman, Kaamya (Kunika Lal). Kaamya schemes to make her handsome friend Kumar (Hashmat Khan) into her lover but he is already in love with another woman, Sapna (Manjeet Kullar). Kaamya decides to turn to the supernatural for help, thus allowing her to play into the hands of the surviving cult members. They use Kaamya to bring their master back, sparking an intense battle between the sorcerer and the mortals who want to put him back in his grave. Bandh Darwaza was not a big hit during its initial release because it arrived near the tail end of a glut of horror films in India but it has become a cult favorite since then and is recognized by fans as one of the most accomplished films by the Ramsay Brothers. ~ Donald Guarisco, Rovi

Review

This blood-and-thunder epic from the Ramsay Brothers provides an excellent introduction to their Bollywood-minded take on the horror genre. Sure, there are some stock Bollywood elements in play here -- a few song and dance numbers, a smidgen of broad comic relief -- but these elements are deployed with restraint and woven into the storyline with surprising care. Otherwise, the script keeps the horror elements in focus, maintaining a mood of gothic horror and delivering several scary setpieces along the way. Bandh Darwaza repeats itself in places due to the epic running time required by a Bollywood film but the results are never dull thanks to the feverish direction of Tulsi and Shyam Ramsay. Their work is seldom subtle but that's not a criticism, merely an observation of how they approach their story: theirs is a go-for-the-throat aesthetic and they lay on the atmospherics and the shocks with a level of intensity that fans of old-school horror films will enjoy. It also helps that they have a genuinely frightening and intense central performance from Ajay Agarwai as the villainous Neola: he tears into his role with frightful intensity, exuding the kind of dark charisma one associates with Lon Chaney. There are also solid supporting performances from Vijayenda Ghatge as the family patriarch and Aruna Irani, who offers a scene-stealing turn as a duplicitous servant who doubles as an agent of evil for Neola. The end results have a b-movie feel but there's no denying that they bridge the gap between Bollywood and classic horror with a feverish sense of flair. ~ Donald Guarisco, Rovi

Credit

Shyam Ramsay - Director, Tulsi Ramsay - Director

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Bandh Darwaza (Translation: "The Closed Door")
Directed by Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay
Produced by Shyam Ramsay
Written by Dev Kishan and Shyam Ramsay
Starring Manjeet Kullar
Kunika
Aruna Irani
Hashmat Khan
Chetana Das
Music by Anand-Milind (Soundtrack)
Cinematography Gangu Ramsay
Editing by Keshav Hirani
Release date(s) May 7, 1990 (1990-05-07)
Running time 145 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi

Bandh Darwaza is a 1990 Bollywood horror movie[1] starring Kunika, Manjeet Kullar, Aruna Irani, Anirudh Agarwal and the Afghan actor Hashmat Khan. The film soundtrack was composed by the Anand-Milind brothers.

Contents

Plot

The film opens in the ruins of Kali Pahari (Black Hills, a decrepit complex of caves), and introduces the vampire Neola.[2] Neola, a Dracula-like vampire, sleeps in a coffin by day, and transforms into a bat at night to hunt humans from the neighboring villages. He craves a steady supply of human blood, and a supply of fresh young women (so he may seduce them and spread his evil seed). Neola is assisted by a ragtag bunch of servants who lure innocent humans (mostly women) to Kali Pahari so Neola may easily prey on them. His servants include Mahua (a witch-woman), Mahaguru (an evil priest), a tantrik (evil wizard) and various other henchmen that provide muscle for his evil deeds.

Mahua is employed as a maid in the household of a righteous Thakur (baron) Pratap. The Thakur spots her speaking with Baku one evening. Knowing of Baku's association with the evils of Kali Pahari, the Thakur threatens to fire Mahua if she is ever caught with any of the gang again. Mahua, however, is under orders to source a new maiden for Neola.

The upright Thakur is wealthy, well liked and happy, except for the fact that his wife Lajo is unable to have children. The local temple priest reassures her, but she is deeply perturbed when the Thakur's mausi (aunt) arrives and urges him, citing the necessity of progeny, to consider marrying again. Mahua moves in. She promises Lajo will bear children if Lajo will agree to come to Kali Pahari (and permit Neola to bed her), on the condition that the first child will be handed over to Mahua. Lajo refuses at first, but Mahua prevails over Lajo's vulnerability and Lajo accepts the deal. Accordingly, she goes to Kali Pahari, is bedded by Neola, and immediately thereafter gives birth to a daughter Kamia. But when Mahua claims the child, Lajo naturally refuses point-blank and drives her away. Mahua poisons Lajo. The Thakur fires her immediately, but Lajo succumbs to the poison. Enraged, the Thakur enters Kali Pahari and, after a long fight, is able to drive a magic stake through Neola to put him down. Gravely wounded, Neola staggers back to his coffin deep within the caves (behind a bandh darwaza or closed doorway) and lays within it to rest and recover.

Some twenty years later, Kamia grows up to be a beautiful girl. She has her heart set on Kumar, her childhood chum, but he wards off her advances as childish tomfoolery. Things get interesting when Kumar meets Sapna (the sister of his friend Anand) at a party and begins to develop affections for her. Shaken by this, Kamia makes a direct move, but Kumar bluntly snubs her, and an angry Kamia leaves the party. She swerves to avoid a strange woman (of the Kali Pahari gang), crashes her car, and is taken by the gang to the altar of Neola. Neola, asleep all these years, is revived with blood. He recognizes Kamia and bites her, and she is hypnotized by the tantrik to serve Neola forever.

Now Kamia gets orders to source more women for Neola. She approaches Bhanu (Anand's wife) and lures her to Kali Pahari, but Kumar, Anand and some of his friends arrive there in time to rescue Bhanu before Neola can seduce her. Kamia's next target is Sapna. Sapna, too, is rescued in the nick of time, but Kumar and Anand discover that Kamia is behind all this. They report back to the Thakur, and he decides to finish Neola once and for all.

Entering Kali Pahari, the Thakur finds Mahua, who informs him with evil glee of the bargain behind the birth of Kamia, and that Kamia is now entirely in Neola's power. Furious, the Thakur beheads Mahua. But Neola is unstoppable. He beckons Bhanu once again, and this time, he succeeds in biting her. Neola attacks Sapna yet again, and follows her to the Thakur's home. After a prolonged chase, Neola kills both Bhanu and Anand and nearly gets Sapna, but is thwarted in the nick of time by the Thakur. The Thakur reveals the tale of Kamia's birth to Kumar and Sapna.

The three of them enter Kali Pahari to recover Kamia. They finally find her, barely conscious, deep within the catacombs. They are immediately set upon by the gang, various henchmen, and Neola himself. They fight their way out and wound Neola once again, but are somehow unable to kill him. The evil woman and the tantrik carry away Neola in a brougham. Kumar gives chase, and captures the tantrik, and threatens to kill him unless he discloses Neola's Achilles heel. The tantrik reveals that Neola's soul is trapped within a statue at Kali Pahari. Kumar and the Thakur devise a two phase plan to finish Neola. Kumar and Sapna follow the brougham away from Kali Pahari, and round up the townsfolk to engage Neola. Neola attacks them in a frenzy. Just as he gets within reach of Sapna, he is involuntarily seized with pain and bursts into flames (as the Thakur sets the evil statue afire).

The film ends with Kumar, Sapna and the Thakur looking on as Neola is destroyed forever.

Soundtrack

# Title Singer(s)
1 "Bheega Bheega Mausam Tadpaye" Suresh Wadkar, Sadhana Sargam
2 "Jalta Hai Kyun Tu" Alisha Chinai
3 "Main Ek Chingari Hoon" Anuradha Paudwal
4 "Tu Ek Chingari Hai" Suresh Wadkar

References

  1. ^ "vampyres-online". http://www.vampyres-online.com/bandh_darwaza.html. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  2. ^ Neola is the Hindi word for mongoose. It is commonly used as a nickname for a villain.

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