Before Baahubali, there was Pataal Bhairavi

The Baahubali franchise is an incredible experience, but also a very lucky one. Bollywood filmmakers have tried several times to make fantasy films and some of them have failed in recent times.

Horror films and fantasy films were a dime a dozen back in the ’30s and even till the ’90s. If there is one aspect of Bollywood films that’s lost because of the ‘bigness’ of it, it is the fantasy and medieval films. By the nineties, filmmakers began discarding fantasy films for horror films, as even the best horror films were easier to make, as compared to a big-budget fantasy one.

Historical films have worked, but the fantasy medieval films with giants and all that stopped permanently after the 1991 debacle of Ajooba. That film is supposed to be the reason Shashi Kapoor went bankrupt.  We will be covering that film sometime, but today’s film is ‘Paatal Bhairavi’

The film stars Jeetendra, Jaya Prada, Shakti Kapoor, Kader Khan, Asrani, Padma Khanna, Pran, Bindu and several others.

Pataal Bhairavi Synopsis:

The film is about a commoner, Ramu, who falls in love with the princess of Ujjain, Indu. However, the princess’ father puts certain conditions before the commoner can marry Indu. That is least of the problems though. There’s an evil magician who wants the Pataal Bhairavi, a mysterious power that fulfills any wish of the owner of the statue.  The  evil magician is told that he can get that power only if a learned magician like him, or a very brave man is sacrificed.

Pataal Bhairavi Review:

This film released in 1985 and the effects and prosthetic used for that decade makes this an incredible film. They actually have men using prosthetic to look like demons – and that too in shots of broad daylight. The film has Jeetendra at his dapper best and in his finest physical form, this guy looks like a legit brave man who’d conquer royalty in Pataal Bhairavi.

The script is a good one and might be inspired from folklore but what stands out are the magical objects in the film – a magic shawl that derenders the user,  oh, this isn’t sci-fi, sorry, renders the person invisible, and boots that can make a person fly.  If you are a sucker for medieval, we are certain that this Indian fantasy film will be a great acquired taste.

But what really makes the film a class apart is the performance and dialogues of Kader Khan. Kader Khan is surely one of the best, if not the best dialogue writer Bollywood ever had. This guy’s dialogues always struck a nerve with the Indian class and were highly entertaining. But in Pataal Bhairavi, he surpasses himself with the unique mumbo jumbo that he sputters – something that makes his character all the more mysterious for the audience. Some of his words in this film are like love – you don’t understand it, you just experience it.

You can watch the full film here:

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About Red Claw (233 Articles)
Red Claw loves horror, sci-fi, fantasy and everything obscure. Red Claw has a childhood crush with Bollywood obscure cinema.

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