A serviceable if somewhat awkward masala adventure, very much in the spirit of old exploitation films that seek to teach us the perils of assorted alternative lifestyles even as they indulge in endless scenes of said lifestyle.
While, admittedly, some of my enjoyment of Khoon Khoon arose from the novelty of it being a Bollywood adaptation of one of my favorite films — just as it was with Inkaar, Raj N. Sippy’s reworking of Kurosawa’s High and Low — I also found it irresistibly watchable on its own terms.
Had I known several years ago that I could be watching films that combined wrestling, men in togas throwing boulders, giant suitmation monsters, and Kumkum dancing frenetically to catchy Bollywood music, I probably never would have seen Mother India or Sholay in the first place.
The movie’s tale of an innocent trapped in a den of scoundrels is told with enough style and effectiveness to show that, despite its poverty row roots, a considerable amount of care went into its making. To my mind, it would be nice to see that care rewarded with a little retroactive TLC.
The shame here — or at least one of the many shames — is that, with films like Nagin and the original Jaani Dushman, Raj Kumar Kohli demonstrated a genuinely quirky sensibility, while at the same time proving that he could draw in a popular audience. Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani, on the other hand, demonstrates the culmination of a gradual grinding down of that sensibility.
Sadhana would get her wish and be remembered as a heroine, even though the most indelible image to be taken away from the film might not be so much one of her heroic exploits as it would be her being whipped while wearing a white mini and go-go boots by a guy who looks like a Village People version of a medieval blacksmith.
There’s just something about the combination of the Western genre’s Spartan, rough-hewn aesthetic with Bollywood’s tendency toward the exuberant and phantasmagorical that I find hard to resist. If you want to join me in this new obsession, Kaala Sona is certainly a good place to start.