|Name of Movie||Tahkhana|
|Cast||Kamran Rizvi, Puneet Issar, Imtiaz Khan, Huma Khan,
Shamshuddin, Aarti Gupta, Priti Sapru
|Director||Tulsi Ramsay, Shyam Ramsay|
|Screenplay and Associate Director||Arjun Ramsay|
|Year of Release||1986|
Tahkhana is one of the top five Ramsay Bollywood horror movies. Along with Veerana, Purana Mandir, Shaitaani Ilaaka and Bandh Darwaza, the Bollywood horror movie Tahkhana captures the critic’s imagination even today, three decades after the movie first hit theaters.
Until the Ramsays made Veerana, their concoction to make Bollywood horror movies was simple – add some desi spice to the storyline and you get the Ramsay horror movie. So, in Purana Mandir (1984), you had the poor boy loving the rich girl. In Purani Haveli(1989), you had a young couple running away from a wicked aunt and an uncle. Tahkhana released in 1986 and has several Bollywood tropes running through the script.
The Thakurs, were, of course, there. But along with that, Tahkhana had so many Manmohan Desai-sque tropes that I wonder if the Ramsays were studying his movies.
Hell, Manmohan Desai made some of his biggest blockbusters in the 70s and the 80s. The Ramsays wouldn’t be wrong trying to gauge the audience’s pulse by adding his tropes to their movies.
But then, the Ramsays had their stamp over Tahkhana as well. I think, it was only after Bandh Darwaza (1990), that the Ramsay stamp slowly clamored down. So, whether you treat this as Manmohan Desai treading into horror or the Ramsays aping Manmohan Desai, here’s Tahkhana.
An old Thakur disowns his younger son, Durjan Singh, on his deathbed. The Thakur suspects that his son, Durjan, dabbles in black magic, and therefore decides not to give him part of the family treasure.
In anger, Durjan promises that he will steal the treasure, using the same black magic that his father doesn’t like. Now, it is up to Durjan Singh’s brother, Raghuvir Singh, to guard the treasure and ensure that Durjan doesn’t hover anywhere near it.
But Durjan Singh is already up to no good, and has dug up an old grave, in a bid to bring to life a demon. All he wants is the blood of innocent children. He decides to kidnap his nieces. Raghuveer Singh defends his children to his death.
Durjan Singh attacks his brother, and kidnaps his nieces. Raghuveer Singh flees to his friend’s place, Mangal Singh, reveals everything about the attack with his dying breath. Raghuveer Singh gives Mangal Singh one piece of a locket, by which he will be able to recognize his daughters.
Mangal Singh attacks Durjan Singh and tries to save the two girls. However, one of the girls escapes into the forest in the melee, with the other piece of the locket. Mangal Singh now holds Durjan Singh captive in the Tahkhana (Warehouse).
We are then taken twenty years later. Mangal Singh has a young son, Vijay, who has grown up with Aarti, Raghuveer Singh’s daughter. The two are in love. Vijay has a friend, Puneet. Vijay’s father has an heart attack.
Afraid that he will die without revealing Aarti’s youth, he tells Vijay, Aarti and Puneet about Aarti’s sister and even gives them the one part of the locket, which is also the key to the treasure hidden in the warehouse. He tells Aarti that the other part of the locket is with her sister, Sapna.
Before Raghuveer Singh dies, he calls his nephew, Shakaal and tells him about the treasure. As Raghuveer Singh dies, Durjan gives up his life to bring to life the supernatural power. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Aarti’s long lost sister, bumps into Shakaal, who is a hotel owner.
Shakaal tries to molest her and she dies. As Shakaal fixes her dead body, he gets the other part of the locket. Anand, Vijay and Aarti begin the search for her sister, Sapna, not knowing that Shakaal has already killed her.
Aarti, Vijay and Anand decide to travel to Aarti’s old house. On the way, the befriend Heera, a young man from a village. Heera and Panna gel well with Aarti and Vijay, and the quartet decide to stay in the old mansion. Little do they know that the ancient demon has already awoken and is ready to devour them.
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Shakaal and his cronies join in too, but Shakaal has his eye on Panna the moment they get down from the car. The next day, Shakaal and Vijay form two parties to look for the treasure. The evil entity kills one of Shakaal’s men.
Shakaal tries to molest Panna. Anand beats him up and Shakaal and his cronies are driven out of the mansion. The next day, Shakaal molests Panna in the village. Vijay and Anand attack Shakaal in the village.
In the skirmish, they find the second part of the locket, and Vijay and Anand complete the map to the treasure.Shakaal breaks into the mansion in the night, so he can steal the locket once again.
That same night, the demon awakes and tries to attack Aarti. Aarti escapes, but the demon kills Shakaal. When Aarti tells Vijay and Anand that there’s a demon in the warehouse below, they go to check.
Aarti and Vijay escape, but Anand falls prey to the demon’s attack. Now, the demon is roaming all over the village. He kills Panna and the villagers vow to help Aarti and Vijay.They decide to bring the demon to a temple.
One by one, all the villagers bring the demon out and lasso him into the temple, finishing off him for good, this time.
Tahkhana is one of the few Ramsay multi-starrers. It has two brawny heroes and one chocolate boy, making it three leads. The Bollywood horror movie also has three female leads, albeit one of them is around only for a special appearance.
This is one of the three movies that Hemant Birje has collaborated in with the Ramsays. Puneet Issar also joins the Ramsay brigade and so does Kamran Rizvi, who unfortunately had a short lived movie career and life.
As mentioned earlier in this article, this Ramsay Bollywood horror movie has several story arcs one would see in a Manmohan Desai movie or a seventies campy one. The lost-in-childhood sisters and the rocket are Manmohan Desai trademarks.
This is pure Bollywood for the uninitiated – they also successfully put in a Holi song. The hidden treasure arc was around in Bollywood in some of the early seventies movies. And this is one of the few movies – like Purani Haveli – which has a villain, apart from the demon itself.
Tahkhana is also one of the few Ramsay Horror movies where a character dies for a storyline reason. Puneet Issar’s Anand is shown as the brawn in the movie. He has a long skirmish with the demon. That fight scene concretes Anand’s strength as well as the demon’s near immortality.
Other than that, this is a typical Ramsay horror movie. The demon, played by Shamshuddin, has enough screen time to create the terror. There is enough body count for the audiences to enjoy. Aarti Gupta plays the quirky urban beauty to boot.
The raw, rural sensuousness is left to Huma Khan and Priti Sapru, who do that with elan. All in all, a good viewing for Bollywood horror movie fans
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