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Mahal (1949)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Mystery  -  1949 (India)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 196 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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashok Kumar ...
Hari Shankar
...
Kamini
M. Kumar ...
Hari Shankar's Father (as 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)
Edit

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Bombay Talkies' greatest hit movie. Unfortunately, it couldn't save the company, which closed down in 1954. See more »

Soundtracks

Ghabrekar Ke Jo Hum Sir Ko Takraayan
Lyrics by Nakshab
Music by Khemchand Prakash
Performed by Rajkumari
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dramatic Destiny versus Destructive Desire
27 September 2009 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

A fascinating film: One rainy midnight Hari Shankar (played by Ashok Kumar) drives up to his palace, enters a rather strange world and finds himself immediately "bewitched by a woman's wandering soul". The story has it that Kamini (the young but already veteran Madhubala) is waiting for the re-incarnation of her dead lover from years before, which he fervently believes himself to be and she keeps popping up in front of him rousing his insane desire. To emphasise the romantic point the main song, Aayega Aanewala (the one destined to return will come …) is reprised throughout the film, a deeply poetic and thoughtful classic sung by the young Lata and the one that helped to make her name.

It started out very stylish and original with some swift camera work, almost like an atmospheric Hindi Noir, and reminded me at various times of Orphee, Gilda, Lady From Shanghai, Ghost And Mrs Muir, and even had pre-echoes of Ava Gardner in Pandora And The Flying Dutchman. But eventually the plot veered away erratically and although always interesting some of the suspense was lost as the supernatural aspect was lessened and the ordinary world started to creep in. For the climax Ranjana's integrity was definitely compromised in her wreaking terrible revenge on husband Shankar! The incredibly worldly-wise wispy Kamini murmured "Come" and Shankar ran to her – but what man wouldn't! The scenes with the tribal woman dancing for her life were riveting viewing; the music was superb throughout – of course this was made decades before the heavily Westernised Bollywood Beat took over. The "surprise" climax has already been given away in a previous post, but to me the big surprise is how it could have surprised anyone in the original audiences! And was it destined to end that way, with people watching nowadays destined to not be surprised at all?

It was a confusing mystery melodrama with many heavy thoughts on youth, beauty and mortality but ultimately surprisingly shallow – probably depending on your age. However no matter how much it reminded me of a few other films you'll not see a film quite like it, and personally it's usually well worth watching unique films from the Golden Age.


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