Khooni Ilaaka – The Prohibited Area (1999)
Cast: Jyoti Rana, Raj Premi, Shabnam, Sapna, Rami Reddy
Director: Jitendera Chawda
Nutshell: An Evil Tantrik returns from death to exact vengeance on his enemies
The few who went to watch this movie in anticipation of something bold and daring would not have come away disappointed. The film is certainly bold in the sense that it plunges to new depths of cinematic standards and is absolutely stunning in its atrociousness – even for a genre recognized for its resounding ineptitude. For purveyors of z grade, crap, horror – better start thinking of a new definition beyond “z grade” for stuff like this cinematic marvel.
The plot (excuse me while I fall off my chair in a fit of giggles) well sort of goes like this…first up there is a sagely, (you know, the voice they use for Bhagwan’s) voiceover as the film begins, informing us of how the film is not an attempt at influencing a persons beliefs or indeed challenging them……it also gives considerable importance to the fact “that there is no intended resemblance to any person living or dead, blah, blah, blah…” a very somber start, setting the tone for the “serious” matter ahead.
A woman and her husband receive a phone call from their family living in another town, to drive over for some urgent family matter. When they reach a dark, forested area known as the Khooni Ilaaka they are warned by locals not to drive through it especially after dusk, but the couple, not into superstition, proceed. Quite suddenly and mysteriously their car breaks down in the middle of the “prohibited area” and a dreadful storm kicks up with enormous flashes of lightening and deafening thunder (culled from the trusty BBC sound effects tapes). As the husband goes into the forest, for reasons better known to himself, he is assailed by the trees who lift him up off the ground and strangle him with their bare hands, sorry, branches. He is left dangling horribly in mid air, suspended on a couple of twigs! Meanwhile, his wife is attacked by someone with a fleeting resemblance to Ghostface from Scream.
Another young unmarried (?) couple goes off to search for the missing and quite mysteriously (again), their car breaks down in the midst of the dreaded Khooni Ilaaka. The moronic macho man type refuses to leave the Khooni Ilaaka until he finds out why the “secret” behind why it is so desolate and known as it is. The couple come across a tantrik (again!) who appears to be the sole inhabitant of the village and question him about the ilaaka. He warns them that delving into such dark secrets can only spell doom, and that he has been waiting (for 20 years!) for a big-wig tantrik to come by and rid the place of the demons that inhabit it. In a flashback sequence we see that an evil tantrik used his powers to molest women in that when young childless couples came to him for help, he took full advantage as he “blessed” the woman. When the locality’s Maharaja finds out about the tantrik’s misdeeds he has him arms and legs chopped off before burying him alive!
The tantrik swears vengeance even as he is being chopped to pieces and warns the Maharaja that a tantriks powers are not confined by space and time. The evil tantrik cursed the area and then came back with two accomplice evil spirits to terrify the inhabitants into fleeing the area for good. Thus, the place has become known as the deathly place that it is, menaced by three wandering ghouls who prey on anyone who happens to find him or herself in the vicinity. Various couples drift into proceedings as fodder for the marauding spirits to dispatch in a variety of gruesome methods. There are one or two quite remarkable death scenes amidst the mayhem, which stand out. In one scene we see that the murderous branches and foliage have hands attached to them – the chopped hands of the evil tantrik! In another scene the chopped hands emerge from a dark corner to attack their unsuspecting victim.
There are numerous tedious song and dance routines that nearly slow the pace of the film down to a complete halt and just when you think of hitting the off switch, the murderous spirits make an appearance to save the day. The make up effects (if they can be called as such) almost defy description they are so awful. The most frightening of the three evil spirits is a blonde blimp with a four inch rubber tongue protruding form his face – admittedly a ferocious looking tongue, but alas he never puts it to any use, preferring to do away his victims by merely jostling them to death or then twisting their necks appropriately.
Nonetheless, we are treated to shots of the protruding rubber tongue throughout the movie. In a climax scene that arrives just as abruptly as it ends, we have the virginal beauty desperately pleading to bhagwan to “do raksha” of her and her man. A few loud thunderclaps and a few shots of the bhagwan from different camera angles later, a rotund, saffron clad tantrik emerges from behind the bhagwan statue accompanied by angels singing in the background. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and so it is in this case as the benign tantrik proceeds to take on the three evil spirits. In a chilling scene, we see the tantrik about to be attacked by a pair of severed arms but with a nifty two-step he manages to crush the arms underfoot and thus save the world from unmitigated horrors.
Surely even bollywood horror cannot plunge any further than this dire piece of tripe. For masochists only.