Khooni Panja (1992)
Cast: Javed Khan, Jagdeep, Anil Dhawan, Sargam, Seema Vaz, Mac Mohan
Director: Vinod Talwar
Nutshell: usual tale of the vengeful spirit returning to cause the most gruesome havoc
Another ultra cheap horror quickie from the prestigious horror production line of the infamous Talwar clan. This film begins with a tacky bedroom scene where we are shown an unfaithful husband messing around with his girlfriend when suddenly they are set upon by the vengeful wife who had been spying on the merrymaking. The jealous wife pulls a gun on the couple and demands that her husband shoot his lover but suddenly the tables are turned on the wife and she is blown away by a burst of gunfire from the evil husband.
The couple enlist the help of a crooked gardener to help bury the wife’s corpse on an obligatory stormy night. Just when they are about to lay her still warm body to rest, she springs back to life only to be hacked (a hand is tellingly chopped off) with a sword and shoved back into the shallow grave by the murderous threesome. Years pass and we learn that the murderer has been excommunicated by the rest of his family for his errant ways even though they aren’t aware that he is in fact a murderer. However we also know that the vengeful spirit of the dead, chopped wife still lurks in the area where she met her grisly fate. Meanwhile there are wedding bells in the offing as the murderer’s younger brother is due to wed the college siren and volleyball champ, not only is she cursed by her parents with a name like Pinky (What is it with this obsession with names like Pinky, Bunty, Dolly, Chunky and Bubbly!!) but soon her life takes a terrible turn during a harmless game of volleyball with her scantily clad chums. When Pinky goes looking for a lost ball she is assailed by a severed rubber hand no doubt belonging to the vengeful wife. Thereafter Pinky is afflicted with that ailment that seems to be inherent to all victims of Bollywood horror movies…she starts smiling a lot and takes to wearing the most startling contact lenses for full shock effect.
Pinky is gradually possessed by the dead wife because soon, after the marriage she is to gain access to her vile, two timing ex husband and his family and take her gruesome revenge. First Pinky’s lecherous servant attempts to molest her one night while she is in the shower only to feel the fury of the contact lenses. While he tries desperately to flee he is caught and ravaged by a rather familiar looking rubber faced zombie-like hulk and sent hurtling through the air to his horrible death. Pinky’s offhand and downright rude behavior arouses suspicion in her elder brother played by the redoubtable Anil Dhawan who then decides to pursue the cause of her strange behaviour. However Pinky manages to remain a step or two ahead of the police as well as her suspicious family and makes full use of her deadly accomplices the rubber hand and the rubber faced zombie who keep popping up at various moments as instruments of her murderous intentions.
So the race is on to stop possessed Pinky from decimating an entire family along the way to her ultimate revenge from the dead wife’s ex husband. The film is a by numbers effort from Talwar who offers nothing in the slightest bit novel with this outing. It is a pretty uninspired and uninteresting effort with absolutely nothing new to offer and even the rubber and hand and mask seems like hand me downs from a previous effort. Though new star Sargam strives hard to appear menacing the possessed Pinky, she doesn’t succeed and in fact the most frightening parts of the film are the protracted scenes of supposed comedy featuring the tedious Jagdeep as a moronic servant (yet again). The film bombed at the box office hastening the end of the horror boom in the early 90’s when satellite TV in the shape of the lamentable Zee Horror show took over and the big screen horror cycle spluttered to a halt.
The stale storyline features the same stale performers in the shape of the eternally youthful Anil Dhawan who has looked 45 since the day he was born, Jagdeep, MacMohan, Seema Vaz and company. The budget of the film must have been virtually nil as there is nothing on evidence that could have possibly cost money! The film is dire from beginning to end and one would have to think long and hard in order to come up with any redeeming features at all. This Panja is as abysmal as they get, even for the rather low brow genre of Bollywood Horror, yet perhaps worth a look in for its audacity to be so utterly cheap and woefully inept.