Dahshat was released in 1981, when I didn't really know the meaning of horror films. I saw it in 2004 and now own a VCD to keep it close to my heart. When I watched it for the first time, I felt sad about Om Shivpuri, who despite being a multi-dimensional actor usually remained underrated during his spell. He was mostly seen in Mithun Chakraborty's over-hyped movies where his roles mostly remained unnoticed.
Dahshat cuts straight to the point very soon. We meet Dr. Sameer (Navin Nischal) who has just landed to his native place Chandan Nagar after finishing his medical studies in Russia. He is assisted by an 'Ass Clown' Dr. Bakshi (Rajindernath), a vet by profession but looks a close relative of a roadside juggler. Sameer is welcomed by his family and is greeted by his childhood crush Kiran (Sarika), with whom he soon gets romantically entangled.
Sameer comes to know of a horrible secret and terror that anonymously lies in the propinquity. It seems a grave robber is digging up graves for some reason and is stealing the cadavers. Sameer decides to look into the issue and soon meets success after a heavy affaire d'honneur. The grave-digger is a grotesque mute man (Dev Kumar), who is soon arrested by the Police. Sameer somehow traces the hideout of mute man. It's Dr. Vishal's house. Dr. Vishal (Om Shivpuri) is an unfaithful husband, who frequently gets into run-ins with his drunkard wife Mrs. Vishal (Nadira). Sameer (with Kiran) gets inside the mansion and finds a laboratory full of several live caged animals awaiting shady consequences. Dr. Vishal goes red with anger when he finds Sameer in his lab. Sameer however wins Dr. Vishal's favor by making one of his dead apparatus work.
Sameer discovers that Dr. Vishal is working on animal attributes and wants to assimilate their abilities in human body so as to make his dream of making a superhuman come true. Sameer warns Dr. Vishal not to mess with the nature but Dr. Vishal scoffs at Sameer's trivial talks. One night Mrs. Vishal finds Vishal seducing his kept woman. Enraged, Mrs. Vishal injects a deadly animal serum into Vishal's body, and its at this point the real horror starts. Certain questions remain:
1. What happened to Dr. Vishal? 2. What were the grave digger's intentions? 3. Were the grave digger and Dr. Vishal associated in some ways?
Navin Nischal has acted well and so has Sarika (I think that's what she did, ranted like a crybaby till the end), Rajindernath, no comments please, Nadira, with the look of a historic vamp on her face has performed to her finest limits, and above all Om Shivpuri, who is the core attraction in the movie and has lived up to everyone's expectations. Although Om Shivpuri's part has similar elements from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde plot, but its the storyline that makes the film pristine. A must watch flick for all the ardent Bollywood B-Movie fanatics.
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