Sannata (1981)

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Sannata (1981)
Cast: Sarika, Deepak Parashar, Shobha, Lalita Pawar, Pinchoo Kapoor, Iftikhar
Director: Tulsi & Shyam Ramsay
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Synopsis: Similar to Do Gaz Zameen ke Neeche but not quite as effective 10 years on

 

The Ramsays, flushed by their early successes tried to repeat a similar formula they had employed in their initial box office hit Do Gaz Zameen ke Neeche with Sannata – a film starring 80’s horror regulars Sarika and the dashing if rather embarrassingly effete Deepak Parashar.

The storyline involves scheming “uncles” trying to outdo one another in order to usurp the family inheritance. In the thick of it is sultry Do Gaz vamp Shobha who is in cahoots with a mysterious shadowy prowler who is butchering family members in the grand old Haveli one by one. The film meanders for a good 45 minutes before settling down to the business by which time most viewers would already have given up. However once it gets going it is fairly interesting.

Sarika plays the feisty daughter of a benign murdered landlord and is the rightful heir to the family fortunes, but her conniving uncle Bharat Kapoor and Shobha have other ideas. Deepak Parashar, prancing around like a pansy and looking as pretty as one, turns in his usual truly horrendously camp performance. Lalita Pawar, squinting away, does her thing as Rosie the good natured convent warden and they are ably supported by Pinchoo Kapoor as a wise old lawyer and Iftikhar sleepwalking through yet another role as a police inspector. There are cameos by Vinod Mehra as the CBI sleuth as well as by his wife Bindiya Goswami and also by Vijai Arora as a slimy secretary. A fairly impressive cast assembled by the Ramsays for what seems like Do Gaz Zameen ke Neeche part 2. However while Do Gaz was tightly woven and had a strong narrative sense, this film is a mess to begin with even if it does slowly improve as the plot finally gets down to business one third of the way through the movie.

Like Do Gaz the film is more of a twist laden murder mystery thriller rather than an outright horror flick though during the latter half of the film horror elements are brought to the fore as the masked killer stalks his victims is a manner a little reminiscent of The Mystery of the Wax Museum and The House of Wax. Though certainly not a Ramsay classic and far inferior to Do Gaz this film is never less a reasonably entertaining effort. Amazingly one of the more memorable scenes of the film is a song picturised on veteran comedian Mehmood along with petite Jayshree T. The song itself is sung rather well by the superb Hemlata and horribly by Mehmood and is not in Hindi but is a terribly catchy number with an irresistible lilt to it – an obscure little Rajesh Roshan gem that got away.

There are also some genuinely eerie sequences as the masked figure, looking like he has borrowed the same mask used in Do gaz starts to stalk and menace members of the Haveli. There is one particularly memorable death sequence that is shot like a crazy version of Psycho’s shower scene! This film finds the Ramsay brothers far from their inspired best, but there are still several fine sequences along the way – enough certainly to illustrate why the Ramsays have carved out a unique reputation for themselves in Bollywood horror history.

Sannata is not a vintage Ramsay effort, but still has enough going for it to make for interesting viewing and if all else fails one can always marvel at Deepak Parashar’s lissom and sprightly dance moves!