Shaitani Ilaaka was released in 1990 at the time when the glory of Bollywood Horror was fading away. By now the Ramsays were heavily inspired by successful Hollywood horrors like 'Evil Dead', 'Carrie' and the ones that portrayed sudden or spontaneous ghost attack. This was sure to happen, as most of the horror ideas were washed out by late 80s, and people were no more interested in Thakurs and haunted Havelis. Shaitani Ilaaka sure was another failed attempt by the Ramsays evoke the dying breed of Horror during this stalemate. They came up with a plot, which was a mishmash of 70s Bollywood Horror and some Hollywood ideas, but the outcome of which was neither appealing nor tension inducing. If I were to rate this film, I would put it next to Ramsay's 'Mahakal', which was also very boring and an another unnecessary film.
The plot involves a little girl Anjali, who shows telekinetic powers at a very young age. She lives with her parents and is looked after by her governess Shalaka (Neelam Mehra), who is actually Lalbai, a sorceress in disguise, and is now after Anjali to seek revenge and resurrect her evil lord, the Great Shaitan. Long back, the Great Shaitan roamed about his turf that was called 'Devil's Domain' (Shaitani Ilaaka), unless he was defeated by the holy powers and forcibly put to rest for an indefinite time period. Lalbai is a faithful minion of Shaitan and wants to rejuvenate the Shaitan by offering him the sacrifice of new brides. With each offering, the Shaitan would become more powerful and one day would retain his power to ravage the world. Anjali experiences terrible nightmares on every No Moon night, which are induced into her by the evil Lalbai. Lalbai also overpowers the psychiatric, who is researching on Anjali's telekinetic powers. Anjali's family seeks help of Tantrik Baba (Surendra Pal), who vows to protect her. Days go by and Anjali (Shriprada) is now a college girl. She falls for Deepak (Deepak Parasher), who is to take his Police training. Yes! He wants to be a cop. The couple decide to marry, but things aren't as simple as they appear. Lalbai wants to retain Anjali all for herself, as she had been preparing Anjali as Shaitan's last sacrifice. Soon Lalbai begins following the couple with an intention of winning Anjali back. Chaos ensue when Lalbai attacks Deepak, Anjali and their friends. Lalbai wouldn't stop unless Shaitan is resurrected and regains his power to take over and destroy this world with his demonic forces.
The film clearly seems inspired by 'Evil Dead 2' and Brian De Palma's 'Carrie', However, unlike 'Carrie', Anjali's telekinetic powers are directly manipulated by a poltergeist (Lalbai), and add no charm to the plot. Deepak Parashar looks fagged and so does Shriprada. They look indifferent and add no value to their roles. I suppose they had worked on similar plots before and therefore seem tackling this one indifferently. This is true because the story itself is a fauxpas. The story isn't great enough to hold one's attention, or to let the viewers stay in doubt. The jack-in-the-box kind of scenes are quiet obvious and one can easily guess them before they actually happen. The locations are good, but much of the film has been shot in dark, specially that scene where the couple and their friends encounter the Shaitan himself. The magnitude of Shaitan seems far less than everything that had been spoken about him earlier in the film. Unlike hyperbolized description of the Shaitan and his might, this monster seems to be too feeble to inflict his wrath upon victims. The encounter with Shaitan is not at all interesting and other tricks like wildly blowing wind, the couple's struggle with Shaitan, and the death of their friends seem so common and outdated. One can only laud Neelam Mehra's performance as Lalbai. She has done everything to warrant her role. So according to me, she steals the show. Ramsays had that potential to create a gruesome and spooky atmosphere and this could be seen in their memorable hits and good ones like Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche, Darwaza, Dahshat, Purana Mandir and even in Dak Bangla and Sannata. I think the Ramsays badly needed money to fund their other projects, when they came up with this worn out, jaded and not so good idea. This was where the Ramsays got into a downward spiral, and even their other works like Mahakal (A Night on the Elm Street rip-off), Ajooba Kudrat Ka, and Aakhiri Cheekh couldn't save them the title of 'Bollywood Horror Mogul'. It's a universal truth, what shall go up, shall come down. So folks, better avoid this snooze-o-drama if you are looking for cheesy and sleazy Bollywood Horror ride and genuine scares.
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