Qatil Chandalini (1995)
Cast: Monica, Aparna, Poonam, Imtiaz Khan, Sudhir, Anju Mahendru, Mac Mohan
Director: Rajan Lyallpuri
Music Director: Kunwar Saxena
Nutshell: Beauty Queens duped and murdered by pornographers seek revenge.
The tale unfolds as an aspiring young starlet Poonam gets dropped off by her boyfriend to a secluded spot in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, there is an old haveli somewhere within the forest where aspiring beauty queens are trained to perfection and guaranteed a finalist spot in the annual Miss India beauty pageant.
Clearly performing such sophisticated activities in the city would have been problematic for all sorts of reasons and thus it makes perfect sense that the beauties be trained in total seclusion. Miss Bombay, Miss Delhi and Miss Calcutta all perfect advertisements for nepotism and corruption in beauty pageants are enrolled at the beauty finishing school where they are met by a rather decrepit housekeeper (Mac Mohan) looking and behaving like a down-market Renfield clone.
The three girls are introduced to their beauty training instructors (a far cry from the Dasher’s of the world famous Liquid Eyeliner Beauty Salon) who emphasize to their pupils that discipline, focus and courage are at least as important as natural assets and with a few stirring words they dive headlong into their arduous training regimen determined to wrest that majestic Miss India crown.
Our beauties are soon gyrating to spectacular synchronized dance routines while singing catchy little ditties which will soon render them unbeatable in any pageant that they choose to enter. Initially our girls are more than a little competitive but over a period of time they bond like true sisters and indeed they decide that when they win the Miss India crown (as they are destined to) they will all share the crown rather than accept it as an individual winner. Some beauty queens are at least as noble as they are gorgeous.
However soon our worst suspicions are confirmed and it turns out that the Beauty Pageant finishing school is no school at all but merely a dubious scheme by the evil pornographers to film the girls in compromising positions and sell the smut for cash. After an hour or so of tedium the first of the three girls is cornered by the housekeeper who rapes her and then murders her by smothering her to death with a pillow. The scene is of particular interest as it shows that Pakistani film makers are not the only ones who add “inserts” to their films to spice things up. In the lead of to the murder there is much fondling and groping by the rapist but this time things go a little bit further than anticipated. The audience is treated to shots of a podgy breast or two being pinched and groped in full view – truly nauseating stuff.
The plot thickens and a second girl is also assaulted and killed by one of the fake team of beauty trainers. The remaining beauty aspirant discovers a video tape that reveals the shady goings on of the Haveli but sadly she too is assaulted and smothered to an early grave. Fortunately for her, a posse of followers of a local priest discovers her and is able to bring her back to life with a stirring song or two but alas she is unable to move due to a curse. In order to revoke that curse the priest must resort to more fantastic mumbo jumbo and sure enough our dead beauty is as fit as a fiddle. Her next move is to avenge not only her own death but also the deaths of her fellow Miss India aspirants. The rest has been seen a thousand times before.
So essentially, it’s yet another feeble I Spit on Your Grave style scenario with a little desi spice and the odd Sadhu Baba thrown in for ethnic authenticity. What an entirely woeful experience this film is – a shameless attempt at deceiving viewers with a catchy horror title yet there is hardly even a rubber mask, a hairy beast nor a drop of blood throughout the movie. Basically, it’s just an excuse to get three or four young girls to go through the motions, some dubious rape scenes and a saucy dance or two along the way.
Qatil Chandalini is a perfect example of why the Bollywood horror boom of the 80’s slid into oblivion into the 90’s. Production values and acting skills are rock bottom and there is no semblance of directorial flair or indeed any shred of horror, just horrible. Little did we know while criticizing the Ramsay flicks of the 80s that their creaky horror would all end up as masterpieces when compared to the post Ramsays era. Qatil Chandalini is a cheap smut film barely even pretending to masquerade as a horror film. This particular Chandalini is sadly a totally worthless piece of excrement.