Kaali Ghata (1980)
|Cast||Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Danny Dengzongpa, Arun Irani, AK Hangal|
|Genre||Suspense, Murder Mystery|
Kaali Ghata is a Bollywood suspense movie that released in 1980. The movie has a stellar cast but comprises of actors who no longer have anything to prove. Rekha plays a double role of two sisters, Shashi Kapoor and Danny Dengzongpa play their love interests. The 80s decade was a clarion call for Bollywood. The golden era of the 40s and 50s was over. The swinging 60s were done with and the experimental 70s were done a few years ago.
The eighties was the decade when filmmakers introduced Indian audiences to stories, characters and concepts that were not larger than life. It started with stronger stories about middle class India becoming popular – the likes of Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies that began in a rowhouse and ended there as well. The family socials also worked towards giving Indian cinema many more ‘our stories’ and not ‘their’ stories. And by the eighties, most of knew someone who had an uncle or an aunt who lived in rural India and had property worth lakhs or even crores. The seventies had family socials as well, yes. But back then, the father was a rich landlord and the son didn’t need to work. In the eighties, the father was a tough cookie who worked all his life and his son is on the verge of ending up jobless.
When I say that the seventies was the experimental era, I don’t mean to say that the eighties wasn’t. The eighties was the era of bold, full fledged experiments when it came to Bollywood story telling and film making. After all, the Ramsays made their brand of cinema from the late seventies to the late 2000s, with Bandh Darwaza releasing 1990, and the grandiose found even in their cinema started withering out. So, with this in mind, lets get to reviewing Kaali Ghata, one of the many impressive Bollywood suspense movies.
Kaali Ghata Synopsis
Two twin sisters, Rekha and Rashmi, are the owners of a huge property in a village. Rashmi is in love with their accountant’s son, Kishore. While Rekha doesn’t agree to this relationship, she doesn’t oppose it completely. One day, Rekha meets a strange in the village, Prem, and they come closer, and fall in love. Meanwhile, Rashmi gets a chance to travel to France to learn art and she pursues it. Here, Rekha gets engaged to Prem, and writes off her entire property to her younger sister, Rashmi.
Prem and Rekha are now a couple and they spend time together. One fateful night, when Rekha and Prem are together, a stranger throws off Rekha from a boat, leaving her to drown, while Prem escapes. Rekha survives, and thinks that Prem is the one who tried to kill her. Rekha returns to her old life, but takes on the identity of her twin sister, Rashmi, to unearth the truth about her killer.
Rekha’s return charges off a sequence of events, with lovers and enemies both wanting to know the truth about who tried to kill Rekha, who’s the person who’s returned as Rekha and whether they are safe from the mysterious killer.
Kaali Ghata is a rare Bollywood suspense movie that gets it right. Many of them lose their flavor because they don’t show the criminal, or show them in bits and spurts. But with Kaali Ghata, the villain hides in plain sight, as it should be in a good mystery movie. The concept of someone investigating their own death is a fascinating one as well. and Kaali Ghata brings that aspect successfully. The movie is meta as well. The actor who plays the villain has rarely, if ever, played a negative role. In fact, in my list of rare roles, this one comes higher than Satish Shah playing a negative role in Tahkhana. So, audiences who watch Bollywood movies on a regular basis are in for a treat.
Kaali Ghata isn’t just a good concept or a good story, its a damn good screenplay as well. There are enough tweaks and twerks and ambiguous characters and false alarms to engage the audience. The only issue that the discerning viewer might find a bit off is that there’s very little footage of Shashi Kapoor doing the fight scenes. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found that some body double did all of Shashi Kapoor’s fight scenes – but for me, that takes away from the essence of the movie a bit.
Leaving that one bit, Kaali Ghata is a great Bollywood suspense movie, and everyone who likes the surprises that Bollywood throws once in a while should definitely watch this one.
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