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Mahal (1949)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Mystery  -  1949 (India)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 205 users  
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A young lawyer is involved with a ghostly woman in his new house, where the builder and his fiancée died shortly after it was built.

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Title: Mahal (1949)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashok Kumar ...
...
M. Kumar ...
Vijayalaxmi ...
Ranjana
Kanu Roy ...
Shrinath
S. Nazir
Eruch Tarapore
Sheela Naik
Leela Pandey
Neelam
Kaneez
Jagannath
Mohsin
Laxman Rao
S.A. Baker ...
(as S. A. Baker)
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Storyline

Hari Shankar (Ashok Kumar) comes to claim his inheritance - a palatial building known as Shabnam Mahal. He does not see anything out of the normal, until he sees his portrait on the wall. The housekeeper tells him the background of the portrait and the tragic ending of two lovers. Later, Hari Shankar sees a woman singing and swinging in the garden swing, when he approaches, she disappears. Both the housekeeper and his lawyer friend, Shrinath, warn Hari Shankar, and ask him to stay away from this house, he does so, only to be drawn back. No one can help Hari Shankar now as he continues to be drawn deeper and deeper into the dark world of the ghostly apparition. "Ayega.. ayega... aanewala, aayega...." is still popular on radio and tapes/cd. Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Details

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Release Date:

1949 (India)  »

Also Known As:

The Palace  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the recording of the film music, a man carelessly said that if the film didn't prove to be a hit it would be because of the music. When the film was released, however, the music was extremely popular, and music director Khemchand Prakash received letters from all over India. Even though he was ill at the time, Prakash went to that man's house and made him read all those letters. See more »

Soundtracks

Aayega Aanewala
Music by Khemchand Prakash
Lyrics by J. Nakshab
Performed by Lata Mangeshkar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautifully crafted film noir revolving around deeply passionate love
12 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Mahal" is rightfully regarded as a classic in Indian cinema. The music is absolutely gorgeous, complemented by the visuals that go along with the songs, and the songs add to the story greatly, creating a pleasing whole. The overall pacing is deliberate and slow, allowing plenty of time to absorb the emotions that the characters are going through. The film is what you might call Gothic in its use of a large mansion with secret corridors, ornate decor and dark interiors. The lighting is noir chiaroscuro.

The story revolves around deep love from two separated lovers, brought together in the mansion, who do not even know each other, but who have been hit by the thunderbolt of love. Obsession in love rules.

The female is thought to be a ghost, photographed luminously. The new occupant, the male, falls head over heels for her. In true noir fashion, the unpredictable events that follow are on the tragic side.

The motivations of the characters depend on their beliefs in reincarnation. This does not make this movie into a horror movie or even a supernatural movie. Indeed, it surely is not a horror movie. Neither is it fantasy. It is a heightened melodrama of love, photographed using noir techniques, and built around a noir story that has a femme fatale or two and a crime to boot. Police and authorities do not play anything but peripheral roles and mainly toward the end. The story rests squarely on the travails of the ordinary persons involved. As in a good many noirs, a dreamlike and sometimes nightmarish quality pervades the film.

The songs became hits. The lead actress, Madhubala, became a superstar. This was the director's first film. He was Kamal Amrohi. I rate the film highly because he succeeded in producing and sustaining the uncertain and dark atmosphere within the film, which in some ways reminds me of "The Lost Moment" and "Letters from an Unknown Woman".


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