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KARZ (1980)

The story of reincarnation


Karz 1980

This 1980 movie about reincarnation was one of the best reincarnation movies made in the Hindi film industry and Karz is also one of Subhash Ghai’s better made films. Fantastic song picturisation like the ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ and the eponymous ‘Om Shanti Om’ which had Rishi Kapoor dancing on a revolving LP on stage.

Karz was a trend-setter in film song picturisation in future Hindi films, it was in the category of musical thriller a genre specific only to our Bollywood industry. Though inspired by the 1975 Hollywood film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud but perfectly blended for Indian sensibilities. It spawned many other remakes in various Indian languages and also a latter-day adaptation in the 2008 movie Karzzz by Himesh Reshammiya proving it’s popularity and subject durability. Karz was well received by the youngsters in India but not so with the older population. Though proclaimed a hit but not a super-duper or a blockbuster.

Story of the movie is set in scenic Coonoor. It begins with Ravi Varma (Raj Kiran) winning back his ancestral properties from Sir Judah (Premnath-mute menace) and informs his mother that he is on his way back home alongwith his newly wedded wife Kamini (Simi Grewal- beautiful and mature) herself a wamp planted by Sir Judah in his life. Kamini bumps off Ravi enroute in front of a Kali temple. Ravi’s mother (Durga Khote – graceful) is in a shock and can’t believe and makes a wish with the goddess for her son to redeem his debt or Karz to come back to her as promised. Though Kamini inherits everything she is a puppet in the hands of Sir Judah. Ravi’s mother and sister are relegated to oblivion to fend for themselves with his mother always believing that her son will be back.

Some twenty years down the line singing star is born by the name of Monty who is promoted by his mentor Oberoi. Monty sees flashes of Ravi’s memories, his murder and a particular temple by the roadside whenever he plays a particular tune. As he is really upset so the doctor advises him to go off to a hill station to have some rest and also pulls his leg by saying he could be experiencing a reincarnation memory. As luck would have it Monty retreats to Ooty a hill station very near Coonoor the place where it all started. Falls in love with Tina (Tina Munim) who has been bought up by Ranisahiba and her foster father Kabira ( Pran) who has just been released from prison . Hearing about stories of Ravi Verma’s family from the locals it only aggravates the flashes and a theme starts to form.

With the help of Kabira, Monty is able to locate Ravi’s family. His mother instantly recognises Monty as her son Ravi. Now it all boils down to teach Kamini a lesson and take revenge of his own death. Monty arranges for a stage show invite’s Kamini or the erstwhile Ranisahiba to the same and performs Ravi’s murder scene, exactly as it was done, on the stage. He also gets Ravi’s mother and sister face to face with Kamini all this freaks out Kamini.

Kamini runs away and when Monty confronts her she confesses her crime which is recorded by the police. In the meantime Sir Judah kidnaps Tina and all meet at one place, in the chaos that follows Sir Judah is killed, Tina and Ravi’s family is saved and Kamini again runs off only to be intercepted at the very spot she killed Ravi and as she tries to ram Monty in exactly the same way, this time Monty side-steps and she goes down the gorge with the jeep.

The music was great, the signature tune which started this all was haunting. The flashes of Kali temple the jeep bumping off Ravi was all done in such manner which was eerie and remained in memory long after the movie was over.

The incomparable music duo Laxmikant Pyarelal even received a Best Music Director’s Filmfare award for it’s music. It released on 11 June 1980 under Subhash Ghai’s Mukta Arts banner. (Image courtesy source – IMDB)

  • Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

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