Veerana. Dak Bangla. Purana Mandir. My earliest memory of shoddy, horror movies dates back to the 80's and 90's when undisputable Ramsay Brothers ruled the genre with their one-of-a-kind cult hits and concoct sleazy, stomach-churning, and sometimes slightly wanton horror delicacies one after another. No cousin gatherings were complete without late night horror movie screening on the home VCR. To this date, I flip through channels at odd hours to check if Zee Cinema or the likes are telecasting any of such movies, much to my delight. Evidently, while the male ghosts had bulbous, hideous faces which looked like whipped cream or mutton chop with several fleshy undulations and eyeballs with no cornea, the lady ghost liked to frolic around wearing a " Tide Ho to White Ho" saree, crooning the same eerie song after every 30-minute interval. Such was the fondness for this bloodcurdling, hair-raising genre that one of my friends very fondly reiterated the plots of these movies, although citing them like they were his own personal experiences rather than giving credit to the talented horror purveyor, the Ramsay duo.
I have had this 'horror' keeda deeply embedded inside me since time indefinite. Sometimes I am so poorly throttled by boredom and crave for "thrill" that I end up humming The Zee Horror Show theme while winding up every day, mundane chores. Yes, I know that time beacons that I should get married or at least go out and make some new friends rather than seeking solace in the arms of Ms. Pointy Teeth or Mr. Beefy Muttonchops. But I am still popular amongst my friends as the " Horror" lady. My younger sister shakes her head in resignation whenever she sees me downloading another horror movie from the internet. And yet her exhilaration knows no bounds as she knows that she is about to witness another fun-packed night watching such monstrous movies with me. My mother pulls her hair out in despair realising that her miserable daughter spends most of her weekends watching such abominable movies or googling about them on the internet. Although, I would like to add that I do have a decent collection of likeable, well-appreciated and successful horror movies and sheepishly, I am sort of proud of it.
However, there is this one particular D-grade horror movie, Gyanendra Choudhry's brainchild, Khooni Raat which I particularly enjoyed watching. No classics like The Exorcist, The Shining, The Orphanage, The Others or current triumphant movies like Insidious, The Conjuring or The Awakening can contend with it in terms of technicalities or the storyline. Ladies and Gentleman, here's presenting a review of the classic movie " Khooni Raat" . Please pardon the lack of brevity involved while appreciating the movie.
I would like to add that I take my job very, very seriously and did not treat this assignment as a snooze fest. I saw this movie twice on YouTube and was awake till 5 in the morning because buffering was sluggish and me and my younger sister (who swore revenge to me) had to take breaks in between as our partially suppressed laughter would wake my mother up, who would dart murderous looks and spurt cusses in turn.
The film begins with random shots of cows grazing in grasslands. I believe this could be mainly because we Indians treat cows as mothers and no venture is successful without our mother’s blessings. The USP of the movie is a homeless man with ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) !!! Yes friends, this chaddi-clad fellow gets premonition of each of the murders and he gets it astonishingly right EVERYTIME !!!!
The ghost lady,"chudhail" is a very well-dressed, elegant and methodical lady who wears a Tide-white saree, starched, ironed and scrupulously worn with multiple safety pins. She has vengeance in mind and wants to whack down the bunch of insolent, lecherous scumbags who raped her (including a shiny baldy fellow).(Refer to Fig.2) .This ghost lady was a girl called Ruchi who had gone to arrange blood for her comatose brother and was kidnapped and killed by the goons whose leader was the brother of another girl who loves the dim-witted boyfriend of Ruchi. In her words, " Uss Daayan ne Meri Bagiyaa mein AAG laga di (though not Ram Gopal Verma waali AAG ) !!! ".
|Fig. 1 Bloody Night Poster Fig.2 Tide white lady|
Apparently, this practice is followed every night before the dawn breaks and each murder is embarked upon by singing the song " Baar Baar dil bekaraar na hota" as the lady crosses the woods. The song appears in the movie 7-8 times (every time the stanzas are included!!) and is responsible for 1/2 of the movie's duration. Unfortunately, the lady is doomed with a deafening, cacophonic voice, thus, not making the situation any better. Along with the song, there is also a insipid, recurring footage of a car driving aimlessly, at full speed along an empty road, with background instrumental track stolen from some english movie.
Since it is a sleazy, D-grade movie, the slaying usually take place inside the dirty bathroom of the scumbag's apartment. The ghost takes up a different avatar each time and seduces the men before butchering them inside the bathrooms which are shoddier, grimier and dirtier than the loos at ISBT(s). Chronologically(Refer to Fig.3), This implies that, Eq.(1) is
Car on the road + Chudail song + Seduction inside Bathroom= Murder …(1)
|Fig. 3 How murder takes place|
Technically, the movie is based on Time Division Multiplexing Principle between three scenes: Driven Car, Chudail Singing, Murder with a few other random scenes (outlying signals) thrown in here and there. (Fig.4)
|Fig. 4 Time Division Multiplexing of Khooni Raat|
The movie came under limelight for its immortal, blockbuster song, " Jab se hui hai mohabbat". The dancer is a real humdinger and in my opinion, can put Hrithik Roshan, Prabhu Deva and Shahid Kapoor to shame. Some of his moves:
|Fig. 5 Dance India Dance|
Apparently, a scene was cut from the movie. But being a true " Khooni Raat" fan, I somehow downloaded the original uncut version. A crazy, sari-clad aunty dashes in the room, calling out "Shibu…Shibu….kahan gaya yeh ladka? " I don’t know who the hell Shibu was, I don’t know where the hell he went but I do know that the aunty was angrier than the "bird" and staring so hard at the camera and giving a gory, reproachful look that both the cameraman and the viewers must have fled in fear lest aunty beats the crap out of them for kidnapping Shibu.
P.S. : Please don’t judge me. My choice of horror movies is a lot more sophisticated and refined than Khooni Raat. My curiosity aroused when I bumped into the link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA259ZV8fjo . We swore to ourselves that one day we will sit through the movie, come what may and then write a review for it in tribute to the D-grade Hindi Cinema.