Bandh Darwaza: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

NameBandh Darwaza
CastManjeet Kullar, Hashmat Khan, Johnny Lever, Vijayendra Ghatge, Aruna Irani, Jack Gaud, Aniruddha Agarwal, Raza Murad, Beena Banerjee, Kunicka Sadanand
DirectorTulsi Ramsay, Shyam Ramsay
StoryDev Kishan
ProducerShyam Ramsay, Tulsi Ramsay, Kanta Ramsay, Anjali Ramsay
Release Date1990
Bandh Darwaza is a Bollywood horror movie released in 1990. The nineties, as we have discussed before, was one of the most interesting and happening decades for the Indian audience. We were on the cusp of globalization, newer, better ideas were creeping up – both in books and in movies.
The eighties were about old mansions and older witches. The nineties, as we have seen in some other movies, had newer concepts when it came to horror movies. In Bandh Darwaza, the Ramsays tackle a subject that’s perfect fodder for all the titillation you can put in a horror movie –  a cult that’s looking for female slaves for their leader, a vampire-like individual.  Here’s  what you should know about the Ramsay Bollywood horror movie, Bandh Darwaza

Bandh Darwaza Synopsis:

Kumar is a young man, who is in love with Sapna, his friend, Anand’s sister. The two have a good thing going, but there’s a thorn in their love story, Kamya. Kamya is a childhood friend as well and is in love with Kumar.
That summer, Sapna returns from her college in the city and is driving home when she meets a strange woman in the jungle. The woman asks for a lift, and Sapna obliges. When Sapna drops the woman at the Kaali Pahadi, she realizes that the woman has forgotten her book in her car.
Sapna goes into the old cave structure and is shocked beyond belief. She sees the woman being sacrificed by what seems to be a strange cult. She shrieks, and the cult knows that another person is in the cave. Even though they try to capture her, they don’t succeed.
Sapna reaches home and tells everything to her mother and Kumar, who don’t believe her. Kumar says that if that is indeed the case, there should be blood or even the dead body and says that they will visit the cave the next day.
The next day, they don’t find anything and return to their everyday lives, but Sapna keeps the book with her. The next day, Sapna is introduced to Kamya, Kumar’s childhood friend. Kamya has a crush on Kumar and introduces all of them to her birthday party.

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At the party, Kamya tries to seduce Kumar. But Kumar tells Kamya that he is only interested in Sapna. Sapna sees this and decides to leave the party and begins driving home. She meets the strange woman once again.
The woman tells Sapna that she wants the book. Sapna, scared of the woman, says that the book is at home.  The woman and Sapna reach the house. However, by the time Sapna returns with the book, the woman leaves.
Kamya, who has been following Sapna, gets her hands on the book and reads it. She finds out that the book is about black magic. The next day, Kamya again tries to seduce Kumar, but Kumar refuses her again.
Kamya is driving away, enraged when the cult of Kaali Pahaadi kidnaps her. They tell her that they will help Kamya get Kumar. Kamya agrees and joins their cult. She reaches home to a worried father, but she handles the situation.
The next day, Kumar has a bad dream and Kamya’s machinations have begun. She does black magic on one of Kumar’s photographs.  The next day Kumar is at Sapna’s birthday party and the drinking sessions go longer than expected. Kumar decides to spend the night at Sapna’s house.
In the night, Kumar has another supernatural experience, and he leaves the home in the night. When Sapna and Anand follow him, they find him alone, in the middle of the forest. Kumar says that he doesn’t know why he came to the forest. Sapna’s brother sees Kumar’s photo in the cemetery.
Next, one of the cult members comes to Kamya’s house, telling her that she is required at the Kaali Pahadi. Sapna and Anand see the strange man leave from Kamya’s house.  Sapna tries to convince Kumar that Kamya is trying to break their relationship.
There, Kamya is now a captive of the Kaali Paahadi cult, who is readying her as an offering for their Leader, Nevla. Anand, who has been suspecting Kamya and the Kaali Pahaadi cult all along, takes Sapna and Kumar to the Kaali Pahaadi.
There, they see Kamya captive and before they can release her, Nevla runs away with her. The three tell this to Kamya’s father, the Thakur.  He goes to the Kaali Pahaadi to search for his daughter. That’s when an age-old secret is revealed.
How Kumar, Kamya, and Sapna fight against Nevla and do they succeed is what forms the rest of the story.

Review

Bandh Darwaza, if released today, wouldn’t even have made past the doors of the censor’s office. That sentence might be true of many Bollywood horror movies, but it strikes right at home for Bandh Darwaza.
There’s a sex fiend of a cult, there’s a supernatural character who seems to be only into sex. There’s sex, sex, and more sex at the very core of this Bollywood horror movie. Frankly speaking, there’s no way you can describe this movie to a ten or a twelve-year-old.
With that out of the way, Bandh Darwaza is a boring watch, because the screenplay is a rinse, dry, repeat of several horror movies. This doesn’t seem to be a horror movie, but a low budget war movie, where the enemies spend time launching surgical and all-out attacks on each other.
But because the movie’s antagonist, Nevla, was so visually appealing  – posed on the lines of Dracula – Nevla is the most endearing and most used image when we talk about Bollywood horror. This is also one of the first mainstream movies that talks about a cult out to capture virgins.
We have had villainous men keep entire armies that capture women for well, you know what, but Bandh Darwaza made no qualms about what. This was a cult looking for female slaves for their leader.
Bandh Darwaza also becomes disengaging because the main villain, Nevla, is a straight off rip off of Dracula. The look is the same and as the movie proceeds, you will see more similarities. The Ramsays were always credited for their innovative monsters.
With this movie, it really looked like they just tore a page from the novel or took a snapshot of the movie and gave it to the make up guy.
Even though this Bollywood horror movie is boring to watch, Gangu Ramsay does a great job of cinematography and successfully brings to screen the wild, ancient, and very raw vibe that Nevla has.
There’s also an incestuous angle that surprisingly fell below the Censor’s radar and is now available in all its glory on YouTube and for DVD consumption. Along with this angle, the Ramsays had by then used the trope of unrequited love earlier, so this is where the repetitive tag gets legitimacy.
Using love triangles in a Bollywood horror movie was  unique, but that aspect peters down after the audience sees the third attack on the final frontier.

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