Written by Protibha Chakravorty
Ramsay Brothers released a movie called ‘Neighbours’ last year adding to the list of B grade horror films made by them. They claimed it to be the first ever attempt of making a full-fledged vampire film in the history of Indian cinema. (Move over Twilight saga, our desi vampires are here. But wait, they had already introduced one vampire in the past called Dracula Neola in their movie Bandh Darwaza, isn’t it?) That made me thinking about the transformation of horror movies from the Ramsay Brother genre to the Bipasha Basu genre of hair raising tales. Today, we have evolved in the horror genre with movies like Alone, Bhoot, Ek thi Dayan, Ragini MMS, and the likes but those 90’s Ramsay Brother Films had their own charm and fun element to watch. I am sure few of you would agree.
Being a millennial, I grew up watching all the saas bahu serials and ‘dancing around the trees’ type of Bollywood movies on the cable TV when our roofs were devoid of dish antennas. As a kid, I was fond of watching horror movies and serials. Remember, Zee Horror Show? In the 80s & 90s, the most of the horror movies in Bollywood were made by Ramsay Brothers. I fondly remember watching movies like Veerana, Purani Haveli, Purana Mandir, Band Darwaza, etc. which would give every kid the heebie-jeebies.
So, here’s my list of top 5 Ramsay Brother Movies that I watched as a kid:
Veerana – chudail Nakita
The story has all the horror masala one could think of – a revengeful witch, a protective father, beautiful daughter possessed by the witch, tantric baba and a hero who actually doesn’t have a much to do in the movie than run after the possessed lady. I think the makeup was quite unreal at that time and today I actually find the “chudail” quite funny. But having said that the same “chudail” used to give me goosebumps as a kid. Gulshan Grover at his pervert best, Kulbhushan Kharbanda the ultimate Thakur and father to Jasmine who was worried about his possessed daughter, and Jasmine who used to first seduce and then kill people, all added up to this horror fare.
Purani Haveli- monster (no name)
The film is about how a monster who had been put into a cage with the cross sign goes unlatched and terrorizes an outing of 23 odd young folks who have come to visit the ‘Haveli’ (mansion). The monster looks like a large orangutan with very strange hands and metal nails who goes out killing people. The odd violence in terms of chopped limbs swinging in the air and the barbarous chewing of human head just makes my tummy take somersaults. But this was the idea of horror flick back then.
Purana Mandir- monster Samri
Most of the Ramsay Brothers film has “Purana” prefixed in the title, increasing its fright quotient. The film deals with a monster called Samri who had cursed the Singh family 200 years ago only affecting women, who die a painful and horrifying death after their firstborn. The lady from the Singh family falls in love with a not so well off guy and both go out to clarify whether the curse is real or just a superstition, only to be faced by the virtually indestructible Samri. The background music of “Samri-Samri-Samri” whenever the dude-from-hell arrived made it sound so torturous to the victim as well as the audience. The props used are cheesy but were scary back then as a kid. The pinch of eroticism that every Ramsay brother movie has, surely titillated the audience but made me blush as a kid.
Tahkhana – monster Dhurjan
Two sisters separated at childhood come together to unlock the doors to hell. They have a piece of locket each which (when joined together) leads them to Tahkhana (underground dungeon) where the supposed treasure is buried. When one of the sister with her boyfriend and few friends try to find the treasure, that’s when they encounter the ageless monster Dhurjan. After watching Ramsay brother’s films, one realises that they use the same bungalow, almost the same cast, same scenes and sometimes the same names of the characters in most of their movies. In this film Puneet Issar, is called Anand, same as Purana Mandir where the hero is called Anand. May be the name was lucky for them.
Bandh Darwaza – Dracula Neola
This movie has everything, a vampire called Dracula Neola, a love triangle, dance routines, fighting scenes which resemble Bruce Lee movie action scenes, etc. The story is a bit long but has sufficient masala to make you sit and watch the movie at least once. The daughter of a wealthy businessman in order to entrap the guy she is in love with through black magic resurrects the Dracula who had been banished long back by her father. The Dracula actually looked quite scary with red blood-shot eyes and fangs but the side-kicks looked unreal even then, with a fake bald cap. But, overall this movie was a true blue horror flick of the 90’s. Interestingly, Neola of Bandh Darwaza and Samri of Purana Mandir is played by the same person – Anirudh Agarwal and both the movies talk about the Kali Pahari.
What do you say? Have I missed out on another interesting Ramsay flick that you would like in this list? Do leave a comment below.