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Hotel: Ramsay Brothers Horror
Posted on 07.11.06 by Jeff @ 7:46 am

Country and Year: India (1981)
Director: Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay
Starring: Rakesh Roshan, Prema Narayan, Ranjeet, Navin Nischol

Review By: Jeff
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars (good)

Hotel

The Ramsay Brothers are practically synonymous with the Indian horror-film industry. (Indeed, two decades after the Ramsay’s heyday, a Bollywood website recently posted an article dissecting their “formula.”) However, like many Western viewers, I learned about the Ramsay Brothers from Pete Tombs’s classic book Mondo Macabro. (If you enjoy the types of movies reviewed on this website, this book is an
essential read.)

On September 29, 2006, the Mondo Macabro DVD line will release The Bollywood Horror Collection: Vol. 1, featuring Bandh Darwaza and another Ramsay film, Purana Mandir. I am fortunate to have seen Bandh Darwaza a few years ago, and DVD consumers will be in for a treat later this year when they check out this vampire romp chockablock with cool ghoulish props. (I recommend even more highly another Ramsay movie, Ghungroo Ki Awaaz, which is an atmospheric take-off of Vertigo and Les Diaboliques.)

Like most Indian horror movies, Ramsay Brothers films do not closely resemble what most people think of as a horror movie, in that they simply add an additional horror “track” to the traditional Bollywood formula. Thus, viewers of a Ramsay movie should be prepared for a lot of other elements that may or may not have any connection to the movie’s central supernatural plot — singing, dancing, melodrama, and alleged “comedy.”

Hotel

Although Ramsay films have a bad reputation as low-budget, C-grade fodder for the hinterlands, I have found the non-horror elements in Ramsay films to be engaging, on par with mainstream Bollywood films from the late 70s/early 80s. (With the big exception being the aforementioned “comic relief” scenes, which could bring a strong man or woman to tears, particularly if they feature a horribly unfunny fellow named Jagdeep. I think my IQ permanently drops 5 points every time I sit through a Jagdeep routine.) That said, no one watches a Ramsay movie (or any other Bollywood horror film) for the songs or the romance — the more horror scenes, the better. Hence, Hotel is recommended viewing, as it features a whole bunch of fun fright scenes once the goblins come out of the woodwork (literally).

The main story told in Hotel is that of two friends and titans of commerce — Suraj and Vijay. (Vijay is played by Rakesh Roshan, who is the father of current Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan and the director of Krrish, which had its U.S. premiere at Subway Cinema’s 2006 New York Asian Film Festival.) Vijay has a ne’er-do-well brother named Sanjay, who has two character traits: playing the harmonica and sitting in a hammock.

Suraj hires a dodgy fellow named Chhangan Patel (Ranjeet) to build a hotel for him and Vijay. Unbeknownst to our heroes, Chhangan — along with his sultry secretary Shabbo (Prema Narayan) and a gaggle of flunkies — builds the hotel in (naturally) the dodgiest manner imaginable. Chhangan convinces a priest named Father Benevolent (yes, that’s his name) to sell him an old church graveyard, under the false pretense that the land will be used for the site of an orphanage and not a hotel. Once the deal is closed, Chhangan and his crew brazenly remove all of the bodies and tombstones from the cemetery, dumping all of the crosses and gravemarkers in a big, very cool-looking pile in a warehouse. Father Benevolent stumbles upon Chhangan’s cemetery uprooting party and dies of a heart attack on the spot. After the hotel is built, Sanjay comes across the pile of crosses, but is less impressed with it than I was. Thus, the bad guys are forced to dispose of Sanjay the hard way.

Hotel

Needless to say, the displaced spirits will have their revenge, but not before a whole lot of other stuff happens. Suraj will reunite with an old flame who is now married, and Vijay will fall in love with a girl who brings him ice. Some actors playing hotel guests will drag out a comedy routine involving a love potion, which, tortuous though it may be, still will leave me grateful that it does not involve Jagdeep. Most importantly, Shabbo (who bears a striking resemblance to current starlet Mallika Sherawat) will strut her stuff in a musical number that innovatively combines disco and lapdancing.

The horror set pieces — once they arrive — are a lot of fun. They involve a dog attack, a surprisingly gory impalement, cool makeup effects, lots of camera zooms, death by crashing chandelier, death by lightning bolt, corpses coming out of the ground, double exposures, and untold numbers of ghouls and ghosts. While I do wish there was more horror in the first two thirds of the film, mercifully Jagdeep is nowhere to be found. Not just a film for connoisseurs of Bollywood esoterica, open-minded horror fans will find Hotel to be an engaging way to pass a Sunday afternoon. (And note that, despite the similar “displaced graves” element, according to the IMDb Hotel was actually released one year prior to Poltergeist).


Filed under: General and Movie Reviews and Rating: Good ★★★ and Movie Reviews: India and Contributors: Jeff and DVD Reviews: India and People: Ramsay Brothers
Comments:

29 Comments »

  1. Watched this on Jeff’s recommendation, and it was lots of fun. And Jeff neglected to mention that Shabbo’s skanky dance numbers combine not only disco and lapdancing, but also NUNCHAKU! Yes, if you’ve never seen nunchucks integrated into a choreographed dance number, here’s your chance. Also, blatantly stolen musical cues from Star Wars and Shaft. Bravo!

    Comment by David — July 23, 2006 @ 7:19 pm


  2. Oh - this sounds marvellous..!

    Comment by Poptique — July 29, 2006 @ 4:48 am


  3. May I humbly suggets a really well made hindi horror film?
    Try Gehrayee.

    Comment by Shodan — October 5, 2006 @ 8:21 pm


  4. A suspense thriller with good performances from Naveen and Rakesh Roshan, songs are melodius pertiularly “Jeen hai to jee bhar has lo…”. It also has good shooting locations. I first saw it in 1984 with my elder brother.

    Comment by Vivek Sharma — March 29, 2007 @ 4:04 am


  5. i haven’t seen this movie but i have heard a song of this movie which is very touching and best romantic song of my life and i was actually searching some more songs from this film….
    … but i would like to watch this film if somehow i find it to….
    … song is “Pyar karte hain hum, tumhe itna ….do aankhon mein to kya do jahan mein samaye na jitna …..”

    Comment by Rajesh — April 4, 2007 @ 12:19 pm


  6. i want see

    Comment by vijay — December 30, 2007 @ 1:59 am


  7. I haven’t seen this movie, but i would like to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Rameeshay Jabbar — January 27, 2008 @ 7:26 am


  8. If this was your first movie Mr. Ramsays it wouldn’t matter. But after Purani Haveli Veerana and all the other superhits, you can’t make such a dissapointing movie!!!!! Even a baby wouldn’t get scared!!!!!!!! Mishu

    Comment by Rameeshay — February 24, 2008 @ 6:00 am


  9. I see all Ramsay Films but my favourite Movie is “VEERANA” It also has good shooting locations.Very good story was written by: J.K.Ahuja,and good music for Bappi Lahri.

    Comment by Nitin Gupta — March 28, 2008 @ 11:51 am


  10. I am going to have to check out Veerana. The Ramsay Brothers + Bappi Lahiri sounds like a marriage made in heaven.

    Comment by David — March 30, 2008 @ 4:33 pm


  11. in which site i can see all the ramsey movies online

    Comment by ansuman — May 23, 2008 @ 10:37 pm


  12. What the hell is this?????? Haramkhor. Making shameless movies!!!!!

    Comment by Kunni — August 31, 2008 @ 11:29 pm


  13. anyone can give me the detail of Singers of the beautifil song “Pyar Karte Hai hum tumhe itna ” of this movie, Please

    Comment by Bhupesh Sharma — October 16, 2008 @ 4:04 am


  14. Ohhh…. I LV dis Movie but plzzzz tel me ver to find it? u sell it i’ll buy it…

    Comment by Mira — November 27, 2008 @ 6:02 pm


  15. i love horror films

    Comment by guru — December 3, 2008 @ 11:10 am


  16. I love beer.

    Comment by Gynther Meyer — December 4, 2008 @ 10:49 am


  17. And I love Shahrukh Khan….R Roshan The Younger Version….But I Don’t like Aamir Khan Coz He Is Bald.

    Comment by Mira — January 29, 2009 @ 1:10 am


  18. iam big fan of ramsay brothers , i want to know location of the haveli used in Purana Mandir movie…..Please ?

    Comment by akram — February 18, 2009 @ 8:08 am


  19. i see all ramasay films but best is do gaj jameen ke nitche, purana mandeer,i m very big fan of r. brothers

    Comment by sachin patil — December 20, 2009 @ 7:42 am


  20. AYY SACHIN KUTTIIAA DO GAJ JAMEEN KI NICHE TERI BAAP KI ASS KHODI HOGI RAMSAY BROTHERS NAY
    NANGAY. ADMI HO YA JANWAR.tERE GHAR MEIN MAA BEHEN NAHI HAI ????
    .

    Comment by Naren Chaturjeepondalam — June 25, 2010 @ 12:11 am


  21. it sounds onzz!!!!..m a big fan of Ramsay bro’s hve da mov @ hme so did a bit of reserchin

    Comment by shreya — February 22, 2011 @ 9:34 pm


  22. i am so fan of horrer movies every one movie i have see of ramasey brothers from since 1992 i have seen this movies

    Comment by vinod hareshwar — May 15, 2011 @ 6:01 am


  23. I Like Ramsay Brother’s Horror Movies I Most Like Veerana,Purani Haveli, Purana Mandir. Please Ramsay Brother’s Dubara Horro Movie Banao.

    Comment by Vikram bagdee — August 29, 2012 @ 12:45 pm


  24. Shyam and Tulsi ramsay thank you for the entertainment. I still get scared watching my favourite PURANA MANDIR to this day. I sincerely wish that the next generation of RAMSAYS take of from where you guys left of. GOD BLESS!

    Comment by rajesh maharaj — September 27, 2012 @ 1:04 pm


  25. Shyam and Tulsi ramsay thank you for the entertainment. I still get scared watching my favourite PURANA MANDIR to this day. I sincerely wish that the next generation of RAMSAYS take of from where you guys left of. GOD BLESS!

    Comment by rajesh maharaj — September 27, 2012 @ 1:04 pm


  26. all movies sucks.only veerana rocks

    Comment by saurabh — October 7, 2012 @ 2:25 am


  27. i m big fan of ramsay brothers, mein nay en ki har film 10 10 bar dekhy hai aur har film ka ek ek dialoge yaad hai mein pakistan say ho mein nay zee horror show mein en ka naam pehly baar parha tha es kay baad en ki sare information hasil ki agr mere en say mulakat ho jaye ko ek kalay bakray ki gardan kurban kro ga 0092 3017931583

    Comment by mohsin — June 5, 2013 @ 11:44 pm


  28. ramsay brothers plz make horror movie like veerana and tahkhana im huge fan of ur movie i had watched almost all of the movies from your banner from do ghaz zameen to atma plz reply

    Comment by suresh — January 4, 2014 @ 3:18 pm


  29. I think most of the obvious pleacs have all been used so much that well, they’re obvious.Perhaps think about trying somewhere less obvious, even unexpected, like a busy place, perhaps a workplace, or a department store, busy centre of a town.I think this might be more unsettling to an audience because it shows that what they fear can be where they least expect and might strike when they think they are safe.How many times do we hear of real events happeneing in broad daylight when there were lots of people around and say how terrible and unbelievable it is that such a thing could happen?

    Comment by Dev — July 26, 2014 @ 7:05 pm


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