Purana Mandir (1984)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Countries - India  |  
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This 1984 Bollywood horror opus was a career-defining hit for India's top horror filmmakers, Tulsi and Shyam Ramsay. The epic storyline begins with a prologue in which the fearsome Saamri (Ajay Agarwai) is beheaded for his homicidal crimes against a village -- but not before he lays a curse on the family of his executioner: that any woman in that family will become possessed and die a terrible, painful death of she tries to have a child. Decades later, the last surviving heir of the family, Thakar Singh (Pradeep Kumar), is terrified for his only daughter, the lovely Suman (Aarti Gupta), to marry because she will suffer the same curse that claimed her mother. However, Suman has fallen in love with Sanjay (Mohnish Bahl) and both are determined to end the curse so they can be together. They travel to her family's long-abandoned castle and Suman finds herself bedeviled by strange occurrences that suggest the supernatural is at play. What follows is a fanciful example of "masala" filmmaking that combines gothic horror elements with action, romance and the traditional song-and-dance numbers of Bollywood cinema. Purana Mandir was a huge hit for the Ramsay Brothers and a rite of passage for Indian filmgoers. The Ramsays would later reteam with iconic star Ajay Agarwai for another horror epic, Bandh Darwaza.