Kohraa (1964)

While reading Shilpi’s first post about her father Tarun Bose I realized that I had never yet seen Kohraa, a remake of Daphne Du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” One of the benefits of my poor memory is that although I’ve read the book and seen the Hollywood film version, I couldn’t really remember how it all ended. This helped keep me attentive, although honestly this version too is so well done that I would have been anyway. From the opening scene until the screen went black at the end, I was positively riveted. It’s a faithful (if uncredited) adaptation of a story well-suited for an Indian setting. The wealthy Maxim de Winter is easily transformed into Raja Amit Singh (Biswajeet even sports Laurence Olivier’s pencil-thin mouche) and his mansion Manderley into a sprawling seaside haveli full of wind-swept rooms. Waheeda Rehman is absolutely perfect as the timid orphaned bride who finds herself up against a formidable enemy in housekeeper Dai Maa (Lalita Pawar at her awesome best!).

I am not going to dwell on the plot much, since probably most of you are familiar with it already (and if you aren’t, acquaint yourself with it immediately in whatever form you prefer!). But what a production this is! Biren Nag directed; his mega-stellar abilities as an art director (Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, CID, Tere Ghar Ke Samne among others) are fully showcased here too (he also directed Bees Saal Baad which I have shamefully neglected to see yet).

If you are going to use miniatures in a bid to spare yourself problems with logistics or budget, this is the way to do it:

Complement these with finely detailed sets and interiors and the result is a visual winner, from the lavish haveli and rustic tin-ceilinged bungalow:

to the busy police station. It begs the question: “Are you understaffed, Inspector?”

(Replace those stacks of files with Hindi movie dvds, and you might be in my living room.)

With a story as dependent on atmosphere as this one is, it helps that the lighting and ambient effects are just right too.

Day-night continuity issues have no place in this film! The settings are interspersed with outdoor locations—waves crashing against rocks—when required, too, and everything is beautifully photographed.

But even an excellent story backed by superb sets, lighting and cinematography can fall flat without good performances. Good-looking but hollow wears thin quickly, na?

No fear of that here: the acting is tremendous, and the actors play off one another just beautifully as well. It is truly an ensemble effort. Even the much-maligned-by-me Biswajeet comes through, especially in a scene where he stops his desperately troubled wife Rajeshwari (Waheeda) from making a huge mistake. It is the culmination of a long sequence and it’s pivotal: Amit finally understands (he has been a mostly absent and clueless husband thus far) how very terrified and confused his beloved wife is. Waheeda nails it—and so does Biswajeet.

Chills ran down my spine, they really did.

The only problem with casting Waheeda in the role of second wife is that constant references (and by inference, comparisons) to first wife Poonam’s beauty are made. There is no power on earth that can convince me she was more beautiful than Waheeda (we never actually see Poonam’s face in flashbacks). It is simply impossible to out-beautiful Waheeda.

And as naive, kind-hearted, insecure Rajeshwari, Waheeda is completely believable without descending into irritating victim territory. Even my sticky black heart of tar is moved with worry on her behalf. This film really belongs to her and to Lalita Pawar as the intimidating housekeeper Dai Maa. Again, hers is a performance with enough shading that Dai Maa is real, not a caricature. She is an implacable—and seemingly invincible—enemy to poor Raj, but her obsessive devotion to her late first mistress renders her human and even sympathetic at times.

Biswajeet doesn’t have much to do, but he is more than adequate for what is required of him. Apart from the scene I described above, he epitomizes a self-absorbed and tragic figure, plagued by memories of his first wife and distracted and busy enough that he doesn’t much notice the deteriorating condition of his new one. On the rare occasion when he does perceive her pain, he tries uncomfortably to soothe her but is soon drawn away again.

These three are the main characters, and they are ably supported first of all by Tarun Bose as crazy caretaker and keeper of secrets Ramesh.

Ramesh may be nuts but I love seeing Mr. Bose unfettered by Spare Hair and makeup…he looks young and handsome, and anyway I kind of like crazy.

Abhi Bhattacharya is hilariously if aptly (and possibly unintentionally, although everything else about this movie is done with care) gothic.

“Your honor, I vant to object! If you do not sustain my objection I vill drink all your bloood!”

And the music…my goodness, the music. Hemant Kumar’s soundtrack is quite simply beautiful. The songs are haunting and blend perfectly into the story, especially the lovely and creepy “Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat.” My favorite though is the brightly lilting love song “Rah Bani Khud Manzil.”

Altogether, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this one. It is beautifully done, it is suspenseful, it is just superb. I loved it, and look forward to forgetting how it ends so I can watch it with renewed eagerness once again some day.

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99 Comments to “Kohraa (1964)”

  1. Like you, even I had not seen this movie. I remember having seen “Rebecca”. So it is an adaption of “Rebecca”. Good, good. Let me try and see both.

  2. WOOT! One of the first ones here- for once.

    I’ve seen the original “Rebecca”- probably the only movie I can stand Joan Fontaine in, I don’t like her much at all.

    Anyway, first heard of this movie through the song “O Bekarar Dil”- beautiful song. I remember seeing a kid in this movie. Do Rajeshwari and Raja have a child?

    Waheeda, I love! She’s always been beautiful, but was even more so up until ’63, after ’64, she sported a more mature, matronly look- perhaps b/c she stopped lining her eyes with eyeliner?

    Figures that Lalita Pawar would play the psycho, Mrs. Danvers. By “sympathetic,” do you mean the way she is in “Junglee”? If so, that would be the one of the very rare occasions in which the bollywoodized version actually fleshes out (rather cariacturizes) from the original. version.

    • I don’t think there’s a kid in this, unless my memory is even worse than I thought! By sympathetic I mean that the viewer has some sympathy for Dai Maa, as undoubtedly not nice as she is. I thought of that too—that Lalita P. did a better job here than the actress who played Mrs. Danvers; I remember Mrs. Danvers as an out-and-out scary but one-dimensional character :)

  3. I remember seeing Kohra in 1964 when I had not heard of Rebecca.I was 16 and totally blown away by music,art,direction and of course Waheeda.Interestingly famous music director Jaikishan had come to see this movie in the same show at the”Lido” theatre in Bombay with his wife Pallavi and both seemed to be enjoying the awesome music as they were in the row right in front of us.

  4. I have not seen this one but have seen Rebecca. Your review is great. Now I will see this one for sure :)

  5. It’s nice to see Biswajeet surpass his wet dishrag standard. :)

    This looks like one to watch!

  6. ooooooo.. .I would love to watch this!! I was fascinated by Rebecca (the novel) at 14.. and would read & re-read the book over and over again. Not seen any movie version yet.. Kohraa just might be the ideal place to start. (Waheeda as Rebecca & Lalita Pawar as Mrs Danvers?? That’s like a *dream* cast..:D). ~ I guess it’s good that Poonam’s face wasn’t shown.. so often movie adaptations don’t leave anything to imagination; and in the novel I thought that a lot of new bride’s insecurity came from what she perceived as being held against impossible standards of beauty and grace of the former wife (as fed to her by Mrs Danvers ofcourse!) — so I’m glad that “imagination” is left intact.

    “The only problem with casting Waheeda in the role of second wife is that constant references (and by inference, comparisons) to first wife Poonam’s beauty are made. There is no power on earth that can convince me she was more beautiful than Waheeda (we never actually see Poonam’s face in flashbacks). It is simply impossible to out-beautiful Waheeda” ……. Humm, even without seeing the movie, I still think the casting is apt. Waheeda is beautiful and gorgeous, but she’s *relatable* beautiful & gorgeous.. if that makes any sense. But someone like Madhubala, as for example, might have been great as Poonam but not as Rajeshwari– I guess Madhubala/Poonam are ethereal beauties while Waheeda/Rajeshwari to me is *real* world beauty.. if that makes any sense :$ :$

    • sorry for the rather longish comment.. i’m back to commenting after a long time i guess.. + favorite novel.. couldn’t resist :D

      “(Replace those stacks of files with Hindi movie dvds, and you might be in my living room)” — haha, this made me laugh! let me know if *you* are understaffed Memsaab, and I’ll come on over!! 8-D 8-D

    • I was mostly joking when I said she was miscast…she was perfect for this. Poonam of course had been a (to quote Dai Maa) “westernized and sophisticated” girl, educated abroad. Waheeda was a stark contrast—shy, simple, unassuming. A good bhaartiya naari!!!! :) (But not annoying.)

      And I AM understaffed, Gemma does not help out at all! :)

  7. Oh my, this looks fantastic!

  8. I saw this film at the beginning of my Bollywood induction. I need to see it again.

  9. I remember this one for the songs but haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet. Now I think I’ve got enough on my list of to-be-watched films. I like where you say replace the files with Hindi film DVDs :) That place sounds like heaven to me.

    • If heaven is precarious piles of Hindi movie dvds from all decades, then I live in paradise :P Of course many of them are likely very BAD movies, but that’s another story.

  10. It is quit epossible that I’ve seen this movie, but I can’t remember. I love the original and I remember the film still, though I saw it some twenty years back. Thus I’m very wary of watching Kohraa, although it has two fav actresses of mine.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. I’m really glad you liked the film, memsaab. :-)

    There’s another version of Rebecca starring Charles Dance and Emilia Fox (Georgiana Darcy of BBC Pride and Prejudice).
    This and the black and white version and the book and Kohraa have kept me pretty engaged with Rebecca over the years. :-)

    And of couse I found Kohraa very well made.
    Biswajeet is quite good in Bees Saal Baad too where he has starred with Waheeda.
    It was his first hindi film.

    • I loved it :) It is such a good story. Is the other version you talk about BBC also?

      • Unfortunately not. It was shown on ITV (as per the DVD).
        I would reccommend it only if one is a collector of classics otherwise it isn’t worth buying.

        The colour takes away a lot from it. I think such films should always be in black and white.
        The second wife (Emilia Fox) wasn’t so shy or frightened, I felt. I think to interest a modern audience they tried to make her less helpless.

  12. I remember the songs from Kohraa but do not recollect having seen this movie. With Biswajeet (in spite of Waheeda) being there, I am not so sure.
    I recently saw another Biswajeet film ‘Do Kaliyan’, a remake of The Parent Trap and while I liked that movie, it might be a while before I want to watch him again.

  13. Ah, one of my favourite movies! It was first made as a Bengali movie ‘Kuheli’ (which also means fog or mist, the same as ‘Kohraa’) which was scored by Hemanta Mukhopadhyay (a.k.a. Hemant Kumar) as well. And ‘Raah Bani Khud Manzil’ is one of my favourite road songs ever!

    Do check out ‘Bees Saal Baad’ – it also has equally great music from Hemanta.

  14. I saw this movie as a kid, and was so spooked by the leg rising out of the bathtub that I had to be taken home midway.

    I saw the movie much later on doordarshan and was disappointed because it departs majorly majorly from the novel in the end.

    But apart from that…. the songs….. are simply heavenly.

  15. Oh Greta !! How can there be no mention of “Yeh nayan dare dare” when you talk of the music of this film? This is the song where Waheeda and Biswajit consummate their marriage (if I remember correctly)?

    Though I cannot watch this movie since I haven’t laid my hands on the DVD, I keep watching this song on You tube way too often.

    Biswajit acts very maturely in this song and which came as a pleasant surprise to me. Waheeda as the neglected wife is just too awesome….

  16. Looks like Superman was inspired by Biswajit’s look in this movie :-D Look at the ‘tuft’ of hari on their foreheads.

  17. I love this movie so much! Waheeda has a face made for mysteries. This movie, Baat Ek Raat Ki and Bees Saal Bad – lovely.

    • I haven’t seen Baat Ek Raat Ki either, but she has a face made for everything IMO…:)

    • Well said Amrita. It’s not a mysterious face and maybe that is why good for mysteries.
      Memsaab–screenshots are intriguing. Those are sets? I’d have seen this movie just from the movie title but your review makes me want to see it more. I love this sort of thing.

  18. Super write up as always Memsaab,

    Tell ya first bench, first show, big hall, the effects were mind blowing, and mind yu we were all young lads at that time, thoroughly enjoyed this movie, along with the other great Bees Saal Baad( 1962) and then
    Bin Badal Barsaat (1963), again with

    Biswajeet
    and this time with
    Asha Parekh
    Mehmood
    S.N. Banerjee
    Nishi
    Moni Chatterjee
    Dev Kishan
    Padma Chavan

    MD ofcors Hemantda with superb renditions and my evergreens like-

    jab jaag utthe armaan to kaise neend aaye- in Hemantda’s voice, now then DO, did we have this song in Hemantda Top 10 Blog. and the one below ???

    zindagi kitni khoobsurat hai aaiye aapki zaroorat hai- duet with Latadi and Hemantda

    bin badal barsaat na hogi o nadanon o deewaanon – this one sung by Latadi first and then another version by Ashtai

    mareez-e-ishq hoon ae jaan-e-man meri – Rafi Saheb
    and yet another goldie

    dil mein teri yaad sanam lab pe tera naam Ashatai, Rafi Saheb

    Btw Waheedaji, again chip of da ol block, and her innocence was captured beautifully in the rocking Ek Phool Char Kaante, a g8 movie all around.

    It was very popular with such type of movies then and they did a wonderful job, and always with evergreen songs.

    Cheers .)

    • This would be lots of fun to watch in a movie theater on a big screen, especially on a rainy stormy day :)

      • And as yu are also aware Memsaab how the nights in our part of Africa can be, in my case Nairobi in the 60’s, with a rainy and a show finishing at 9 pm or the last one at mid night, a journey thru the dark alleys with no soul in sight was a task by itself. Me and buddy parted ways half way, the other chap three quarters of the way and the rest of the quarter going alone was kinda scary… yu watched over yr shoulders.. koyii hai peeche .)

        And we pretended we were brave.. those were the dayz.)

        Cheers

  19. Thank you for yet another excellent review Memsaab (and I really looked for you in the credits of 3 Idiots and were so happy when I spotted your name :) )

    The thing I’m curious is the ending. Rebecca is a fave novel of mine and I do like the film but do not care for Hitchcock’s ending which sort of took away from the underlying sinister air of the novel in the end.

    I wonder how this film ends, according to the book or according to Hitchcock adaptation?

    • I don’t remember how those two end!!!!! I’d have to reread/rewatch…which I just might do, and then I’ll let you know (in the meantime maybe one of the others here who have seen/read all three versions can tell you :)

    • From what I remember of the novel and Hitchcock’s version, they both end the same way, no? I think the only difference lies in what happened between Rebecca and Max on the boat.

  20. What I like about this review memsaab is the way in which you have drawn attention to the sets and lighting, after all this adds to the overall appeal a film.

  21. Hello Memsaab,

    What a great review, I read it yesterday, and I realized I had been ignoring a really good film in my collection. Your review led me to see the movie this morning, it was very good indeed. I agree all the actors were superb, and the direction was magnificent. I have a question though, what is Ramesh’s relationship with Poonam?? I never got why he calls her unfaithful.
    I haven’t read the novel so I’m not sure of the whole story…..but I’m planning on reading that soon :)

    See how you inspire ppl memsaab, I love reading your thoughts on my favorite movies!

    Sumera

    • Sumera, I’m so glad you watched it and liked it too :) My understanding was that he (Ramesh) was in love with Poonam (along with all the other men in the vicinity) and he called her unfaithful because she WAS :) I need to read it again too, clearly!

  22. oh ok, I understand then….thanks for answering my question :)

  23. Memsaab I read the book long long ago but what I remember of it is that it was definitely interesting. There was a character called Ben in the book and it was not such a significant character but that character was developed and he was the Ramesh played by my dad.

    • I read it probably 35 years ago…and I liked it (I devoured all of Daphne Du Maurier’s books around that time). Just don’t remember the details :) A mind is a terrible thing to lose…

  24. Yes, Rebecca was unfaithful to him, and their marriage was actually a failed one almost from the beginning. IIRC Rebecca even lied about her being pregnant to Maxim and it wasn’t his baby she said.

    The first and the last lines are absolutely fantastic, starting with “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”, and ending with the light that lighted up the sky. I thought it meant dawn till I realised. :-) Can’t recollect the actual words.

    After Jane Austen’s novels this is among my favourites along with Jane Eyre and others.

    • OK I just remembered the last lines (I think).

      ******SPOILER*****

      Don’t read if you don’t want to know the ending.
      …”and the ashes blew towards them”.

      The narration ended very stylishly with words that hint at something without actually wording it. Beautiful.

  25. Truly, no one can out-beautiful Waheeda. Though I don’t like Biswajeet much myself, I think he did well too in ‘Bees Saal Baad’. Maybe Waheeda brought out the best in him. I haven’t seen ‘Kohra’ though. Must see. Must see.

  26. Just watched this and I have one word “WOW!”.

    Ok, I have more than one word – but then you figured that out by now.:-)

    Losing your memory is usually a bad thing but in this case, I am quite happy about it. Though I have seen Rebecca (about 30 years ago) and read the book too (also about 30 years ago), I had NO recollection of the story when I started seeing Kohra. The only thing I remembered was that there was a second wife involved and the first wife had died in mysterious circumstances.

    So, much like with you Greta, I was riveted till the very end. Not that the story alone was fascinating – everything was. I think I can safely say the direction in this movie is one of the best I have ever seen in a Hindi movie. Bringing all the elements together, using the sound effects so wonderfully – and silence even more wonderfully, the setting in the haveli and in the bungalow, the use (or absence) of lighting…everything. Absolutely outstanding!!! Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the director is that this could have been Hitchcock – and I rate Hitchcock very very highly.

    I don’t want to give out any spoilers here but my fav scene (among the many brilliant scenes) in the movie is the part where she goes to the top of the building and Biswajeet stops her. That was just SO awesome!

    Then, the acting. Waheeda, O Waheeda!

    I don’t think anybody could have played this role better – she just nailed it perfectly! The only other actress who, I think, could MAYBE have done this is Meena Kumari. But I am not sure about Biswajeet-Meena pairing (have they acted opposite each other?).

    The movie had a lot to do with Waheeda expressing her fears, her doubts, her vulnerability and there were plenty of close-ups of her. She looked just amazingly “out of the world” in ALL of them. I have always rated Waheeda as an actress very highly – which is why it bothers me when she is wasted in movies like “Shatranj”.

    Lalita Pawar was also just perfect as Dai Maa. And Biswajeet was not too bad either. I remember seeing Bees Saal Baad many years ago – and liking the Biswajeet-Waheeda combo in that too.

    And Tarun Bose. Now that we know him a bit better (thanks to Shilpi and Greta), I watched his role with a lot of affection. And it was SO wonderful to see him in this. A very realistic, if scary, portrayal.

    And the music. Uff yu maa!!! Just outstanding. Hemantda’s “Raah bani khud manzil” and “ye nayan darey darey”, Lata’s “jhoom jhoom dhalti raat” (cannot think of a more perfect song for the situation) and “o beqarar dil”. My cup of joy overflowed when I saw these songs in the movie (I knew they were there so I was eagerly anticipating each one).

    What more can I say that has not already been said? I think the review says it all, as do the comments already posted here. If you have not seen it yet, it is well, well worth the effort.

    And nice review, Greta. I see you have taken care not to reveal anything of the plot itself. Good job! :-)

    LOL at the comment about the police station and how it could have been your drawing room if the files were replaced by your DVDs. :-)

  27. Nobody has mentioned the second Hindi remake of “Rebecca” titled “Anamika” (2008) starring Dino Morea. Has anybody seen it? How would rate that remake compared to Kohraa, which had flopped at the box office in 1964. There is also a film titled “Naina” (1973) which has shades of “Rebecca.” Rajasri played the title role in flashbacks, but the real heroine was Moushimi Chatterjee as the second wife, and Shashi Kapoor as the husband who can’t forget Rajasri. That film also flopped.

  28. have wanted to see this movie for quite some time and after reading this review i went to the local movie shop and asked for it. they dont have it in their stock but the owner’s promised to get me a copy. :)

    i also got very curious about the book Rebecca itself and did a bit of googling and ran into this piece of write-up which i thought of sharing with people here on this thread –

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/daphne-du-maurier-venetian-tendencies-448666.html

    Some interesting insights and revelations, which would be hard to portray or even suggest in 1960s Indian culture!

    • Wow, that is very interesting indeed…and not a note of it came through in the Indian film (well, very little anyway—maybe some if you look hard enough) :D

      • Well that was interesting! Hitchcock’s Rebecca did somewhat suggest – but I wasn’t able to pinpoint the queerness. Well the ‘L’ love was quite often seen in 50s 60s cinema! See Chitralekha and also Mughleazam where Nigar Sultana puts the crown on her head.

    • Interesting article. It shows how reading the personal life of an author can bring a new understanding of her/his book.
      I have spent /still spend, a lot of time on books/letters of Jane Austen, in order to understand her novels, and it indeed is rewarding.
      Thanks for the link Simplegal.

      Coming to the interpretations *without* having read about the author’s personal life, here are a few examples of my interpretations (if anyone is interested, of course :-)
      The quotes are those the article quotes from the book.

      >”she was not even normal”, he says, savagely.
      >Lovemaking was a game to her, only a game. She did it because it made her laugh.

      What I understood by ‘not being normal’ is that Rebecca didn’t have ‘womanly’ tastes (as discussed in that interesting post by Memsaab about womanliness ) in things like becoming a mother, being modest, leaving extramarital affairs to the men, lovemaking with her husband (after all how many times can you laugh afterwards at the same thing with the same man ;-) the reason she changed them, I guess) etc etc

      The second quote, about the second wife.
      >there’s a preoccupation with Rebecca’s physical attributes, which she cannot seem to control. “Wherever I walked in Manderley, wherever I sat, even in my thoughts and in my dreams, I met Rebecca,” she says.

      I understood this obsession as of one who’s intensely jealous **of what she herself lacked** and wants to know all about this. After all she has been brainwashed into thinking she’s nothing, leading to an unhealthy obsession with one who supposedly had everything.

      I could of course take all points showing the other side, but that would take a while, this not being the place for it anyway.

      So my point is that anybody reading the book without knowledge of the author’s personal life, would have the interpretations on these lines, and KOHRAA was a good adaptations which went along with the book (as much as an adaptation can).

      Getting off the proverbial soapbox now. :-D

    • I don’t remember the story at all, but I have just finished reading the Wiki entry for Rebecca. And based on that I’d say this explains Mrs Danvers and her Rebecca obsession then.

  29. SPOILERS for Rebecca (the film and the book)

    In the book Max is the one who killed Rebecca (one can argue she provoked him but still Max is a murderer), in the film her death is accidental/suicidal. I thought this drastically changed the dynamics of their times before the novel goes to flashback and the new wife’s character in living together with him knowing this.

    • Oh thank you Eliza…no wonder this version didn’t really ring any bells!!!! It has a different ending entirely! :) And of course the dynamics are completely different in all three; I must must must re-read the book…

    • *spoilers*

      Ah, is this the part people wanted to know?
      I literally mentioned ‘the ending’ of the book. :-)
      This shooting of Rebecca came to light (in the book) some time before the ending.
      I think it would not have proved popular (in India) if the hero was shown to have commited murder.

  30. Finally got my grubby hands on Kohra and watched it last night – it was a “monsoony” night with some thunders thrown in by the heavens. Perfect ambience to watch a thriller – with some wine and pretzels (not the best combo but it worked)

    Some observations:
    1. Waheeda looked too plain and not her beautiful self. Perhaps it was done deliberately to contrast her with the glamorous Poonam. Waheeda also looked painfully thin to me in this movie to the point that I really felt sorry for her.
    2. For some reason, I was really amused at the fact that Dai Maa is kinda redeemed in the end as a mother figure who saves the day. I was comparing it to the article I had posted on the relationship of Mrs. Danvers (aka Dai Maa) with Rebecca as possibly having a lesbian undercurrent. What a contrast – how cultures transform interpretations!
    3. Biswajeet really had very little to do. But he looked very good with the little wisp of curly hair dangling on his forehead and the moustache made him look princely.
    4. Tarun Bose’s famous laughter (esp in the scene Shilpi said scared him as well) added to the chills and thrills.
    5. I think sexuality and debauchery was, for the time this film was made, quite openly portrayed in several instances. Like the shower scene at the beginning when Poonam is introduced. I was shocked to she her washing her thigh so openly and the bare back! Some things were pretty bold for the times.

    Lastly, the music was great. The song Raah bani khud manzil I’d never heard before but now it’s been playing in my head all day!

  31. i didnt even know about the movie but one day i heard the song “yeh nayan dare dare” and i became fan of this song and then i started digging all the information about this song..then came movie name..and story and cast and other songs of the movie and now it is my favorite movie..but i am still searching for the book rebecca…

  32. I’m a little spooked.
    I’ve been searching for this film for a couple of days (both in Alphabetical and chronological list), but it isn’t there.

    I have bought the DVD and before watching it I wanted to read the reviews.

    I was able to get here because of Shilpi’s comment.
    I went back to check in the list, but no, its still not there.
    Why, oh why?

  33. That’s easy to explain! I forgot to put it there :) Thanks for letting me know, next time you check it will be there!

    • Phewwww! Am I relieved. :-)

      I thought I was in some twilight zone.
      I remembered the review very well.
      Remembered commenting there.
      Then not finding it while Shilpi was able to.
      Thanks. :-)

      • You can always do a search using the search field at the top of the sidebar :)

        And let me know what you think of it after you watch it!

        • Now I definitely feel silly :-(
          Never noticed the search thing there.

          I really loved Kohraa in spite of the drastically changed ending. I didn’t remember much of it from an earlier viewing long ago.
          Its always a pleasure to watch Waheeda Rehman and Biswajeet was the surprise element..which motivated me into watching Shehnai :-)

          (I’ve bought some DVDs of him)

  34. Dear Memsaab,
    Could you please lend your DVD/VCD to me? Or can you somehow manage to forward one to my address(POD)? I will be v.v.v.v.v. grateful. Because I have scanned half of Kolkata and all reputed VCD/DVD centers in Kolkata for this film: some said they do not stock it and elsewhere I received blank stares. Somehow this movie has disappeared from the shelves and the brains of these nutty vendors(in a fog, perhaps?).
    Actually I have seen “BEES SAAL BAAD” not once but several times, so when I heard of this movie and the song “JHUM JHUM DHALTI RAAT”, I have become desperate to acquir it somehow. I want to see how the lead pair have revived their chemistry first seen in BSD. By the way, did they team up in another picture after this one? Like to know.
    Nice pictures, as always, Memsaab, but I would have liked the review better if it contained your usual entertaining,bewitching plot synopsis. Waiting eagerly to your next review. LOL

  35. how can you forget the song, ‘yeh nayan dare dare’ by hemant? it’s the epitome of romantic intoxication

  36. Good news Memsahab. Finally managed to grab a DVD through http://www.flipkart.com. To those who are finding it difficult to get a DVD/VCD of any movie, I am refering this website. Delivery charges free, in three days.
    This movie though shot superbly and containing some really good songs, fell short of my expectations. At first I thought this was a Hindi version of the Bengali movie “KUHELI”(the mystery), which also had Bishwajit as the hero and a widower. But that movie had a more gripping storyline till the climax even.
    Also I think, “BEES SAAL BAAD” was a better movie than this one. Despite the scorching chemistry between the lead couple and the powerful performance of LP as Daima, this movie started to sag greatly at the last quarter( after the second version of the song “JHUM JHUM DHALTI RAAT”, to be exact.) The courtroom scene was totally bland and the talrnts of Abhi Bhattacharya criminally wasted: he seemed totally bored, and kept shouting the same question 6/7 times at Daima. I think the director himself and all the actors(except Waheeda) got terribly bored of the movie and decided on a hackneyed ending. This was not the case in BSB; the suspense, CSP and action scenes were superbly balanced against each other, making it thoroughly enjoyable.
    Tarun Bose’s character intrigued me and I would watch this movie again only to understand it. Who was he exactly-a lunatic? a drunkard? an accomplice of Madan Puri? or another admirer of her-whose-face-should-not-be-shown? Or a mixture of the same? Because he was addressed and questioned most reverentially in both the Big House and the Court. Can an insane person be called to give evidence in Court?
    However your review is as usual fabulous(never mind the movie). Waiting for your next review.

  37. Finalllllly they released an updated dvd in 2010…..Finally!!
    I’ve been bugging my local dvd store for years….
    and I just got the dvd :P

    I am thinking of uploading the movie online for fans as I too was once a lost person desperately looking for this movie existence somewhere.

  38. Waheeda Rehman is such a timeless beauty, but there is a lot more than beauty in her, that’s her acting..so realistic.

  39. I had seen Kohra on TV long back and I liked it very much. The director has done full justice to the classic story of Rebecca (unlike the poorly executed Anamika of Anant Mahadevan). I appreciate your review and I put up a question to you and all – who played the role of Poonam in the movie (the first wife whose face was never shown to the audience) ?

    If anybody can tell me, I will be highly grateful.

    Jitendra Mathur

  40. I got the DVD of Mosderbaer…The Movie is great and works well with the gothic ambiance, lovely photography and great music by Hemant da.
    Waheeda simply rocks as well…

    But it left some loose ends after the Court punished the culprit who confessed…
    What happened to all the special effects which indicated her ‘bhatakti atma’ ( wandering restless spirit ) of Poonam, the first wife?
    All the rippling curtains, banging doors and rocking chairs, and white apparition which torments Waheeda?
    Did ‘it’ go away after ‘hearing. the court verdict? or was it just her hallucination?
    Can they live happily ever after in the same haveli, just ‘thinking’ that spirit has finally gone away for good?
    If he Director means ‘No explanation, just have fun’, then its is mindless entertainment, isn’t it?

    This kind of loose ends were plenty in another famous spoky thriller by Raj Khosla too–‘Woh Kaun thi’?

  41. First of all, some of our dear members, their English is so sophisticated that we have to look at a dictionary. Flogging, Soap Box, Gothic, wow, my vocabulary is up on the learning curve.

    Whenever i see the song – “O bekaraar Dil, ho chuka hai mujhko asoon se pyar” I am really enchanted with the scenic beauty. It is always a good feeling to look at how the locations looked in the past. Unfortunately, most films never tell the names of exact locations, which is a let down. It can actually increase tourist traffic. (Kamalhasan – Guna cave – Kodaikanal).

    I personally felt Waheeda was beautiful in the O, bekarrar song. Was this movie a 1964 movie ? Does Waheeda’s looks havve to do anything with her personal life that was sorrowful at that point of time.. if anyone wnats to know I can send a link to that !

    The said song is a bit of an irony… It means – :I have fallen in love with tears, i do not need happiness, wonder what it actuallyu maeant

  42. I am still awaiting the reply to my question that I put to all (and you had promised to get the answer through Shilpi Bose) who played the role of Poonam in the movie (only the torso was shown, never the face) ? I reiterate my request that somebody may take the pain to find out the answer to this question which has been bothering me for decades (since I had seen the movie on Doordarshan).

    • Its not revealed anywhere as to who played Poonam. I watched it on youtube recently and I think it could be Vimmi, the female lead of “Humraaz” (1967).

      I could see the same kind of lethargy in Poonam too whenever she appeared on screen. Possibly, Shilpi would know better….

  43. Memsaab,

    I have been following your blog since 2 months. A flower leaves its smell. I find this blog such and to decide to watch a movie or contemplate by reading on movies, I do come here.

    Recently just four days back, I watched Kohraa and Solva saal back to back in two days after reading this post. And thought to comment after viewing ‘Baat ek Raat ki’ yesterday and CID day before yesterday. Again both these movies starring Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand. Reading your posts, I find that you will love these two movies a lot. I was illusioned by another blog reading which didn’t appreciate the movie ‘Baat ek raat ki’, but I went then for plot narration and sensing that these acting pair will definitely not let me down. And I think it will give you same joy like watching Kohraa and Solva Saal. The songs in CID are just class apart and na tum humein jano in Baat ek raat ki is also very much classic. Recently, I did write your blog name and name ‘Memsaab’ in my diary notes! and so thought that now it’s time for first comment.

    So do watch the mentioned movies.

    warm regards,

    • Thanks so much for your kind words :) I have seen CID and loved it. Waheeda and Dev Anand are a sweet pair indeed. I’ll have to search out Baat Ek Raat Ki, sounds like fun!

      • You have really made a lot of difference to my thought process for my portfolio preparation. Hence the name in my diary and would like to photograph it and send to you:) I am studying movies on human relationships and human issues (like portrayed in Bandini and movies by Bimal Roy, like portrayed in Kannathil Muthamittal. I am not into analysing movies for now (and thus never commented till now in your reviews) as dedicating more time to my prepration. We did had much of critique at NID Film Club and where we saw amazing movies from all over the world.

        Would be glad if I can know your name. If it is not meant to be addressed here, then sure would not do so but just let me know your name then at my email: anisuddha@hotmail.com

        • Every regular of this blog knows the name of memsaab and many details about her. It is all there in the blog itself if one goes through it.

  44. not for comment. so can be deleted. but just thought that the person who writes if can have an online link, one always likes to know. So above comment on ‘Baat ek Raat ki’ is by me. I am Manish.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tavruday/

  45. Baat Ek Raat Ki is a nice mystery with good dose of romance and music. Anyway, I am sorry to see that nobody has yet been able to answer my query above as to ‘Who played the role of the deceased wife of Biswajeet in Kohra (whose face was never shown, only the torso and the back side of the body were shown).

  46. Yes, It is a masterpiece. I saw it in a dilapidated village theatre 45 years ago. Watching it today on youtube, I enjoyed it even more. Biren Nag was truly a talented director, Hemant Da , Wahida, Lalita Pawar- they are all time greats!
    – Ravi Shivde

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