It’s been 13 years since Mehmood left for his heavenly abode (on 23.07.2004). He has been perhaps the most popular and high profile comedian of Bollywood movies. Starting from character roles, he became hero in certain movies and then switched to comedy roles only to become the most sought after comedian during the sixties. However to prove his versatility, he again moved to lead roles by the outset of the seventies and became a director also. His first directorial venture was Bhoot Bungla (1965) which, despite being a fun movie for a significant part of it, falls in the genre of suspense thrillers.Bhoot Bungla (haunted bungalow) is the story of three brothers two of whom get mysteriously killed. The eldest one (Moni Chatterjee) is the father of the heroine of this movie – Rekha (Tanuja) whereas the second one was a bit insane Raamlaal (Nana Palsikar). The third, surviving one, is Shyamlaal (Nazir Hussain). The uncle of these three brothers had been murdered some fifty years back and then their aunt disappeared from the bungalow which is the residence of this family with her son, never to appear for all these years. After the two consecutive killings, the investigating cop (Jagdish Raaj) advises Shyamlaal and Rekha to shift from this bungalow to their apartment in the city for the time-being.
Now Rekha who was earlier studying abroad and thus living away from her father and other family members, starts getting life threats over phone. A singing competition brings her into contact with Mohan (Mehmood) who alongwith his companions, runs a club named as Youth Club. One day upon saving Rekha from an attack on her life, Mohan realizes that she needs help and there’s someone who wants to kill her for some unknown motive. Now Mohan starts examining the facts as they appear and the happenings as they have taken place as well as taking place. In the course of this investigation, the bungalow which is the original residence of Rekha and her family members, is found to be a haunted house.
But the reality is something else. After a lot of suspense spread in the narrative, the climax unravels not only the mystery behind the bungalow’s appearing to be a haunted one but also the reason behind the killings of Rekha’s father and uncle plus the threats to her own life as well as the identity of the culprit.I watched Bhoot Bungla on internet and found it to be quite a satisfying suspense thriller. Starting with a murder that takes place half a century prior to the period of the main story, this movie remains a fun movie for a sizable part of it which amuses the audience very much. From the title and the environment created for the story, it may appear to be a horror movie also. To be frank, certain scenes are really scary. However ultimately, it’s suspense thriller.Mehmood has done his job very well as the director of this movie. Despite plot holes in the script alongwith many things left unexplained in the end, he has been able to keep the audience engrossed. He has not given any undue footage to himself and also kept the fun-quotient under check. The fun and comedy come as a relief to the audience whereas the suspense remains prime in the movie.Mehmood has extracted good performances from the artistes including himself. Tanuja is very pretty and she has acted well too. The complete supporting cast is also well in place. Music director R.D. Burman also has done a cameo in this movie. It’s really interesting to see Pancham Da on the screen. Renowned radio announcer Ameen Sayaani is also present in the scene of the singing competition.
Technically this black and white movie is okay. Its length could have been shorter, however considering the norm prevailing in Bollywood those days, it’s quite appropriate and there is no dragging to bore the audience. Since the hero himself was an established comedian, quite sensibly, no separate comedy track has been kept in the movie. Dialogs are also good.
Pancham Da (R.D. Burman) has composed good music for the movie which is an evidence of the gusts of fresh air and new waves entering the field of Bollywood music through himself because it’s different from the kind of music composed for Hindi movies those days. Aao Twist Karen is a foot-tapper. Other songs are also good. Background score is soaked in suspense and thrill and is perfectly in sync with the mood of the movie.
Considering the overall quality of the movie, I won’t say that Bhoot Bungla is some great movie or some extra-ordinary suspense thriller. However it is an interesting movie which is sure to be liked by both the mystery fans and the fun-loving audience.
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