Ichhadhari Shaitan (2000)
Cast: Shobraj, Krishna, Babu, Nagraj, Raju, Manjanna
Director: Anil Naidu
Synopsis: Yet another zero-budget shocker taking its cue from The Evil Dead and co.
Another zero budget piece of sleazy garbage hailing from the South (fertile ground for horror trash these days) featuring a bunch of 30-something teenagers heading off into the jungle to research the local tribals (yeah right!).
The elderly looking students drive along merrily in their jeep having song contests and the usual moronic banter that one associates with 30 year olds who have yet to graduate. On their way their jeep breaks down but fortunately in a delightfully scenic spot complete with a waterfall where it doesn’t take the girls long to take a dip and enjoy some frolic while the cameraman closes in on the wet clinging clothes of the rather lumpy beauties.
On the road once again spirits are high and the jokes flowing when suddenly they are ambushed by some very hostile natives carrying spears and behaving very badly indeed. An all out fist fight ensues with the burly teens more than holding their own against the spindly natives. However after much kicking and punching the blimp that seems to be the leader of the students pulls out what looks like a pistol and immediately the natives meekly surrender, clearly being familiar with the power of the barrel. Meanwhile one bulbous beauty has been dragged away by some eager natives who start to smear her with the gooey black tar-like shit that they favour and the impression that one gets is that she is probably going to be consumed that very night. However when she regains consciousness she merely kicks her captors and flounces off into the jungle once more hoping to hook up with her imbecilic research group mates.
Order is restored and once again the natives seem to be toeing the line and the group is shown to an old dilapidated Haveli which is to serve as their living quarters while they carry out the work for their thesis, though by the looks of it lustful thoughts are the only thing that they seem to have on their mind. It’s not long before there are long steamy scenes of fairly hideous heavy petting and much rubbing of flesh – most unsavoury indeed and one wishes the threatening demon spirit indicated to viewers by a roaming Point-of-view camera would get to work with some haste. Soon the malevolent spirit strikes when one of the beauties, Ruby, fancying one of the lads like mad, settles down to write him a note explaining the way she feels. An eerie wind picks up and for some very odd reason Ruby is compelled to wander out into the jungle, searching for god knows what. She wanders further and further into the thick jungle and is suddenly assailed by the twigs and the vines of the forest that force her to the ground and proceed to “rape” her for about ten painfully gratuitous minutes before letting up and leaving her for dead.
There is much sobbing and weeping when her bloodied body is discovered by her fellow researchers. One of the lads who is accused of being responsible for her death is sitting at the same desk that the victim sat at the night before and soon the same ill wind picks up and all of a sudden in a quite brilliant Anti-Tobacco statement of a scene, the fag Vivek is smoking starts spewing up an almighty mushroom cloud causing him to flee into the forest like a madman. Escape isn’t so easy though as a flame lights up from the cigarette and starts to follow the floundering Vivek in his mad dash for survival. Soon he is engulfed and torched yet mysteriously discovered the next night by one of his friends having a head-spinning fit like Regan’s from the Exorcist!
Later Bhavna, one of the brain dead researchers, freaks out in fear and dashes out of the house only to be menaced and tracked by the serial rapist vines that eventually catch up with her and administer another ten minute interlude of pure sleaze. Though the rapist remains largely unseen, the audience is treated to a protracted scene where the woman bobs up and down and struggles, strains and sweats – it’s a most unpleasant voyeuristic scene shot from a point-of-view camera perversely turning the audience into the protagonists of the rape. And once again, the scene seems simply endless.
Finally what’s left of the research team turn to the local Tantrik for help though the audience has already been shown that he is dreadfully evil chappie who worships the stone of the Ichhadhari Shaitaan (Immortal Demon) and waits to trap innocent passers by and offer them as human sacrifice to his idol. He pretends to be helping Bhavna and reawakens her from her deathly state much to the excitement of her friends but it soon turns out that she has other plans and has become a deadly instrument of the diabolical Tantrik’s plans of world domination (I kid you not).
So, will the Tantrik succeed in turning his forest-raped beauties into an army of undead zombies to achieve his master plan or will the remaining intellectuals lead by that inflated moron manage to derail this diabolical scheme. Unlikely though it seems, they do have a stone that bears the head of the Icchadhari Shaitaan which might come in handy when push comes to shove. This film directed by the unheard of Anil Naidu is in keeping with the rest of 90’s Bollywood horror – stretching the bounds of cheapness to the extreme.
The film is shot like an amateur home video and the acting is unimaginably awful, though the story and script hardly allow for anything better. There isn’t even half a scare on display and the most terrifying aspect of the film remains the absolutely frightening Hindi dubbing. Ichhadhari Shaitaan is a quite stunningly inept film entirely in keeping with 95% of horror coming out of Bollywood in the 90’s and beyond. Once again this kind of drivel makes the stuff the Ramsay’s did in the 70’s and 80’s seem like pure class.