23 January 2013 | khayaal_e_yaar
Slasher with a twisted ending
'Haveli' is a slasher in the guise of giallo, then it's also a payback themed film, and furthermore it's also, if not overly, a decent horror film. The film draws huge references from Italian giallos and American slashers of the late 70s and early 80s. The tale is twisted and delivers where necessary. The horde of versatile actors like Rakesh Roshan, Marc Zuber, Pinchoo Kapoor, Mazhar Khan, Sujeet Kumar et al don't let this film slump in the course of its run. 'Haveli' is quiet atmospheric at places and arouses creepiness. This one is fortunately not a rubber mask monster tale with an insufferable dose of comedy. I am specially pointing out comedy because Ramsays' are notorious for appending useless comedies in their films.
Inspector Shyam (Marc Zuber) is investigating the death of a promiscuous woman and his investigation leads him to 4 men, who are soon heading to Goa. The police Chief (Pinchoo Kapoor) sends Shyam to Goa for gathering clues about the culprits. Shyam reaches Goa with his chatter-box constable Hingorani (Rajinder Nath), who can never shut his mouth. Little does anyone know that Shyam has a dark past. He often laments the murder of his girlfriend Anjali (Aaloka), and curses himself for not being able to save her. He is therefore trying to redeem this opportunity to even out his past failure.
At Goa, Shyam falls for a small time pickpocket Reem (Reem Kapadia) and informally labels her as his assistant. He introduces himself to Reem as Pritam. He does so to hide his identity as a Police officer. Shyam boards a scenic hotel with Hingorani where all 4 suspects are enjoying their vacation. He also finds a certain Kumar Saxena (Rakesh Roshan) there, who is a singer at the hotel's night club. Shyam is waiting to gather evidences against the culprits but before he is able to do so, the culprits begin dying mysteriously at the hands of an unknown stalker. Shyam suspects Kumar of orchestrating all the murders as Kumar or some of his belongings are always found near the dead bodies. As the body count goes up, the mystery grows deeper and deeper and Shyam finds himself racing against a traumatized, shrewd, brutal and wicked killer, who is bit too clever.
The ring leader of the accused is Mazhar Khan, the owner of Hotel. The brutal murders of his friends has made Mazhar lose his mind and he is seeking police security. Shyam tries to take him in confidence to ease up his worries, and promises that he will save him against all the odds, but the question is, will he be able to do so? Beware! A figure is loitering in the dark alleys, art gallery, and secluded cubicles of the Hotel with a razor-sharp knife, a locket and a terrifying mask. Certainly the figure's intentions are vicious and deadly.
There are several factors that make 'Haveli' interesting. Budget-wise, the film looks decent. This one has been shot at the beautiful locations of Goa. Its an irony that the Hotel with more than 100 rooms and several occupants looks desolate and spooky. It looks that the killer has access to everything and is one of the deadliest masqueraders. Rakesh Roshan as Kumar is appealing and his role certainly deserves more attention. The ending is a twist and viewers may belittle themselves for being so goofy all the way. The score is haunting, lingering and superb. The Ramsays' have used a 6-note piano score during the stalking sequences, which has shades of John Carpenter's slasher classic 'Halloween'. Before 'Haveli' Ramsays' had made 'Sannata' in 1981, which was also a quick paced giallo cum thriller. 'Haveli' was one of the numerous failed attempts to revive the dying genre of giallo in India. Well, it is this effort that makes 'Haveli' watchable and enjoyable. Not at par with 'Gumnaam' or 'Teesri Manzil', 'Haveli' still remains a Saturday night classic.