Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay (1997) AKA The Cat Beast
Cast: Shehnaz, Asif Khan, Kamran, Liaqat, Umar Daraz
Director: Shehnaz Begum
Nutshell: chilling blend of Batman & I Spit on Your Grave with astounding special effects!
Having survived such Pushto delicacies such as Shock Maar (notorious menstruation scene), Gringo (male organs hacked with garden shears), Adam Khor (lesbianism, beheadings, cannibalism), Kacha Ghotay (giant thrusting dildo’s), Atom Bomb (Yet another I Spit on Your Grave variant), Balaa (grave robbing, child murder) and Goorkund (necrophilia) I was under the impression that I’d seen it all, yet how wrong I was. Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay, produced, directed and featuring gargantuan bombshell Shehnaz as a crime-busting Pussycat provided yet more seismic shocks to an already shell shocked system with its heady blend of chills, thrills, mind-altering special effects and transformation scenes. Not to mention the plethora of song sequences featuring an impressive roster of well muscled, “healthy”, hermaphrodites.
Though she had previously shared direction responsibilities with Imran Khan on the fabulously abysmal Goorkund, this time Shehnaz Begum decided to back her own substantial talent by producing and directing entirely on her own – a job she had successfully undertaken with 96’s Zakhmi Zara and Ruswai.
DKL Spogmay opens with a terrific, hair raising sequence in the woods where a cherubic chubby is about to be molested by a nasty, unshaven hood. As the creep closes in on the helpless blob in order to ‘satisfy his animal lust’, suddenly an eerie wind picks up and some very odd, inhuman sounds are heard drawing ever closer. The would-be rapist hesitates and begins to panic as the hideous, meowing sounds of the unearthly feline entity are virtually upon him. The dreadful beast announces its arrival by throwing a dramatic and very nifty Cat Shadow (a la Bat-signal) on the parched earth as her signature calling card. Moments later, as claws fly and talons rip – the would-be rapist is left dangling from a tree trunk, pleading for mercy that isn’t forthcoming. In a brutal display of murderous power, the Cat-Beast impales the dangling goon with a bare tree stump, leaving him hanging…a clump of rotting meat. Bah! would-be rapist!
Meanwhile the handsome, dashing local police chief is confounded by the gruesome remains discovered the next morning; another victim of this animal like marauder who is literally ripping and shredding its victims in the most ghoulish manner yet there isn’t a clue to be found. The chief starts his investigations in earnest but Asif Khan, the local village bumpkin is not convinced by his efforts and tries to investigate on his own. The plot is then slowed down by a stream of quite dreadful song and dance numbers which add a good hour to the films running time. However in best Pashto tradition one or two of the dances are deliciously lewd and “earthy” and should largely satisfy sleaze-hounds even if when it comes to crudity, Shehnaz Begum isn’t in the master class of smut King Saeed Ali Khan. However there is the usual bevy of robust lasses on display, each with girths and bums “muscled” and toned to protruding perfection being explored by some intriguing camera angles.
The film is yet another variation on the familiar rape and revenge theme (I Spit on Your Grave territory). This time around we are shown that the vengeful, vice-busting Cat-Beast is the result of a ghastly gang rape which ended up with her birth (five minutes later) in some dark cave in the woods one stormy, cursed night. Her mother died upon child birth and the helpless infant was taken in by a stealthy black cat who was roaming the forest that fateful night and decided to adopt a human infant. This is how the child grew to become the awesome Cat creature – a cheerful, overworked domestic maid servant by day and crime busting Super Cat-Beast by night with special powers that would make Spiderman turn green with envy. One by one she tracks down her mother’s rapists and literally shreds them to a grisly pulp using those razor sharp talons to chilling effect.
Alas other than the Cat-Beast attack scenes the film is basically rather lame and flatters to deceive. The song sequences and juvenile comedy are enough to seriously test even the most demented/dedicated audience’s staying power. Yet when the Cat Monster is on screen – the film is nothing less than electrifying. There is one particularly fantastic scene where we discover the true identity of the Creature. In a stunning display of special effects we get to watch Shehnaz transmutate in front of our very eyes into the blood thirsty, maniacally purring feline she-beast.
The special effects are breathtaking and on par with the very best of Hollywood. Though Shehnaz Begum spent much of her career being overshadowed by Pukhtoon superwoman Mussarat Shaheen, it is patently evident that this bonny lass possesses a fair share of talent as well as some killer bulbous curves. We saw glimpses of her potential in another earlier home production Shock Maar (with the tasteful menstruation sex education scene) but she really began to come into her own with the twisted Goorkund and now this masterly slice of the macabre. This loose adaptation of the Batman theme is far darker and more adult oriented than the juvenile (Batman) movies churned out by Hollywood – This variant of Batman is strictly for discerning adults. Spogmay also demonstrates that Lollywood is second to none when it comes to creating extraordinary special effects sequences – and that too at a fraction of the cost. Well worth a watch.