The sound of the ankle-bell

Among the three Anand brothers of Bollywood, Chetan Anand always remained a highly respected film-director whereas Dev Anand remained an evergreen romantic hero. The youngest brother – (Late) Vijay Anand (popularly known as Goldie) was also a respected director like his elder brother Chetan and presented gems like Guide (1965), Teesri Manzil (1966), Jewel Thief (1967) and Tere Mere Sapne (1971) through his great direction. However like his another elder brother Dev, he was also fond of acting and to cater to his acting interest, he did a few Bollywood movies as an actor viz. Haqeeqat (1964), Tere Mere Sapne (1971), Kora Kagaz (1974), Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978) etc. One such movie is Ghungroo Ki Awaaz (1981) which is a suspense thriller. It was made under the family banner of the Anands – Navketan and directed by Tulsi and Shayam Ramsay.MV5BM2U5YmFmYjktZDg1ZC00MGY0LTk2ZDYtNDA4NWZjMWNmMTRiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjM4ODUxNTM@._V1_UY268_CR7,0,182,268_AL_Ghunghroo Ki Aawaaz (the sound of the ankle-bell) starts with a double murder committed by the hero – Thakur Ranjeet Singh (Vijay Anand) who is the heir of an erstwhile princely state and lives with his maternal uncle – Thakur Jasbir Singh (Dr. Shreeram Lagoo) who is the only living relative of his. The double murder committed by him is of a courtesan – Kaajal (Rekha) whom he loved very much (that’s why he had brought her to his palace) and her supposed clandestine lover – Shaakaal (Dheeraj Kumar). However after the murder, he starts hearing the sound of the ankle-bells of Kaajal (because she was a courtesan) and seeing her spirit (who talks to him also) which keeps on haunting him every night. His maternal uncle hushes up the police case and advises him to change the climate by moving out of the estate for quite some time. Ranjeet Singh moves to Mumbai, taking a break from the estate life and going away from the spirit of Kaajal. Now comes the twist in the tale.

In Mumbai, Ranjeet Singh happens to meet Kiran who is the look-alike of Kaajal. He gets confused but while coming back from Mumbai to his place, he brings Kiran with him as his nurse. Now a new chain of events start in the estate, creating a number of hallucinations for Ranjeet Singh. Finally, he gets mentally disturbed to this much extent that he is shifted to an asylum. However he gets out of the asylum and starts searching for the truth behind the spirit of Kaajal and the sound of her ankle-bells. Finally the mystery gets unravelled before him.downloadGhunghroo Ki Aawaaz was directed by the horror-kings of Bollywood during the seventies and the eighties – the famous Ramsay brothers. However this is not a horror movie. This is a suspense movie. It starts on an interesting note and keeps the viewer hooked for the major part of it. Only the climax is a letdown. The plot of this movie appears to be partially inspired by the classic mystery of Raj Khosla – Woh Kaun Thi (1964) and partially inspired by the classic mystery of Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo (1958). A few good songs and a good climax would have turned it into a much better flick.

This old-fashioned mystery can be called a pure mystery sans all other Bollywood formulae – comedy, romance and action. Therefore, despite some songs, there is little relief for the viewer during the suspense-filled drama. Since this is not a classic mystery, some relief would have helped making it spicy and interesting according to the taste of the regular (Indian) movie (1)Technically the movie is good. A mysterious environment has been maintained throughout that part of the movie which takes place in the estate. Since there is no comedy or romance, it is free from superfluous scenes and not unduly long. The director has revealed the suspense to the audience before it is revealed upon the hero in the story which has weakened the final sequence of the movie. Due to this directorial mistake, the viewer’s interest in the final reel (the last 10-15 minutes) gets nullified. In fact, the presentation of the very last scene appeared a bit irritating to me. I feel, had Vijay Anand himself directed this story (instead of the Ramsay brothers), he would have made it in a much better way.Ghungroo-Ki-AwaazR.D. Burman’s music is passable. Only the title track which is a good suspense song – O Mere Humraaz, Kaisa Hai Ye Raaz (sung by Kishore Kumar), remains in memory after the movie is (2)Vijay Anand was not just a great director, he was a good actor too. He has proved it in all the roles played by him in different movies. In Ghunghroo Ki Aawaaz also, he does not disappoint. In fact, it is his movie only. Rekha has performed in two different personalities (of Kaajal and Kiran) and being a great actress, she has done well. Others including Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, Leela Mishra, Padma Khanna, Dheeraj Khumar, Iftekhar, Pinchoo Kapoor etc. have also performed satisfactorily according to the requirement of the assigned roles.

I recommend this long-forgotten mystery to all the mystery-fans who like to watch pure mysteries (without other attractions in the script). I also recommend it to the fan-following of Vijay Anand and Rekha.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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7 Responses to The sound of the ankle-bell

  1. I like to watch old movies. Your posts are giving suggestion. Watch this too. Hope this available online.

  2. Rekha Sahay says:

    Aapke reviews padh kar gaano aur movie ka Prati meri bhi interest jaagne lagi hai. I”ll try to watch this movie as I like mystery movies.

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