The Ramsays were at their peak in the late eighties. They had what’s called in filmy parlance, a studio set up. Along with technicians, they had actors who’d readily sign up with them. Add to that the knowhow to get the locales . This brings us to their 1986 Bollywood Horror film Tahkhana. Most of the story arcs are similar toall kinds of successful films back then. Here’s the retroview of Tahkhana:
The Ramsays continue showing their love of Thakurs. This time, a father disowns his younger son, Durjan and gives all his wealth to his elder son, Raghuvir. That’s because Durjan dabbles in black magic. When Durjan finds this out, he vows revenge. Towards this end, he and his henchmen dig up a dead body, which he says is of the epitome of evil. To revive the devil, he decides to sacrifice his elder brother’s two daughters, Sheetal and Sapna. Raghuveer, with the help of his best friend, rescues his daughters in the nick of time. They imprison Durjan in an underground dungeon However, while escaping Durjan’s cronies, Sheetal and Sapna get separated. Sheetal finds her way to Mumbai, while Sapna continues living in the village, but at the home of her father’s best friend.
As the two sisters grow up, Sapna looks for a job in Mumbai. Sheetal falls in love with her father’s best friend’s son, Vijay. Sheetal finds out that Sapna is in Mumbai and looks for her. Little does she kno that Shakaal has already molested and killed Sapna. Shakaal is a Vijay’s relative who owns a hotel in Mumbai. Shakaal is making his way to the village, because news has reached him that there’s a treasure somewhere. In reality, the key to the treasure is a locket, which was divided into two, and one part each was given to the sisters. The treasure is in the same dungeon, where the demon and Durjan were kept.
Soon, all of them reach the village. In the village, Vijay and SheetalHeera and his fiance, Panna. However, the villagers are not very happy about the city people coming in search of the treasure and have made their decision not to allow the city people to do the excavation. Even as the excavation beings, the demon has arisen. He begins killing people from the crew one by one. How they finally defeat the demon is the climax.
This is one of the most complicated screenplays for a Bollywood horror film – and with so many characters, you need these many actors. It’s a good thing that the Ramsays had a ready reckoner of sorts. They could get Kamran Rizvi, Hemant Birje, Puneet Issar, Rajendra Nath, Narendra Nath, Preeti Sapri and so many others. Tahkhana becomes a smorgasboard of storylines. The performances are decent. The excellent camera work and art direction makes for some spooky sequences. The creative prop making makes it seem all the more dangerous. Tahkhana also has a trend that started years back – singing in the rain. Rain songs were simple Bollywood jacks for adding more glamour to the film. Tahkhana has a rain song picturised both on Aarti Gupta and Preeti Sapru.
This is the late 80s, CGI was unheard of in Bollywood, much less in a Bollywood horror film. Art directors relied on atmospherics, prosthetics and lighting to bring out the monster and the Tahkhana crew succeeded in doing just that. Tahkhana has also aged gracefully and some of the props and sequences produce a genuine thrill. This is Bollywood horror film is a Collector’s Item