Bullet (1976)


I got this only because Vijay Anand directed it, but I confess that I feared it would be disappointing. How could he top Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief, Chhupa Rustom and Johny Mera Naam?

Well, he didn’t top them, but he didn’t fall short either. Bullet has all the characteristics of his finest work in this genre—suspense, thrills, plot twists, excellent costumes, strange camera angles—strongly flavored by mid-70’s kitsch. And by strongly flavored, I mean reeking of it. The sets are atmospheric and fantastical, colored with acid greens and bright reds and yellows, and lots of graffiti.



The strong cast includes gorgeous Parveen Babi at the height of her beauty and fame, equally gorgeous Kabir Bedi, Rakesh Roshan (better known now as Hrithik’s dad) and of course, Dev Anand. I was also really impressed with Jyoti Bakshi as the poor little rich girl drug addict; sadly, she only made two other movies (at least according to IMDB).

Dharam Dev (Dev Anand) is a policemen with the Special Forces. He is investigating swindler Durga Prasad (Kabir Bedi) who milks the poor of their savings and sends the money to his Swiss bank account. He is also in love with DP’s secretary, Sapna (Parveen Babi), from whom he has kept his true identity.


When she does discover his identity, she agrees to help him after DP pimps her out to Mr. X (DP’s boss, who doesn’t much factor into the film except for this). DP trusts her completely, so she has a lot to contribute to the investigation. She gives him the combination to DP’s safe, where he keeps his “files”—which contain all that’s needed to put him away for his crimes for good. Unfortunately, DP has rigged his safe with a camera:


DP recognizes him from the photo. After an unsuccessful bribe attempt, DP arranges to have Dharam framed for drunk driving and killing a pedestrian.


Really, is it any wonder public officials prefer bribes? Anyway, Dharam is convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, but is let out after six months because he has friends in the police force. Imagine that! Although he has lost his job, he vows revenge and visits DP in his office, showing him a bullet and telling him that it has his name on it. Sapna has been waiting for Dharam and they have a sweet reunion. She is still DP’s trusted secretary, and still wants to help Dharam. She gives him information which he uses to cause DP’s aide some trouble at the airport:


And he taunts DP afterwards with said bullet. DP hires some goons to rough him up and take the bullet from him. Dharam overpowers all of them with some excellent dishum-dishum, and shows up at DP’s favorite nightclub where he arranges for a song and dance (with Village People-costumed girls—and one dressed as DP—all chanting “bullet, bullet”). Again, I have to say…



DP is not happy. But he IS handsome!


The police, in the form of Dharam’s protege Inspector Rajesh (Rakesh Roshan), have not been idle either. DP is unable to leave the country due to some Rs 600,000 which he owes in taxes (he shouldn’t have sent all his money to Switzerland!).


We now discover that DP has a mistress named Mala (Sonia Sahni) who is married to billionaire Seth Ghanshyamdas (Shreeram Lagoo). Ghanshyamdas has a daughter, Roshi (Jyoti Bakshi), who is addicted to drugs and gambling. Inspector Rajesh is in love with her and trying to make her go straight, but she is unhappy and self-destructive. She dislikes her stepmother:


(nice dress!) but her father lets her run wild since he is too busy with his business empire to pay her much attention. He is tight-fisted with his money and Roshi has run up some big gambling debts.


Again—nice dress! (I think I may have had a leisure suit with similar patchwork around this same time).

DP needs money; Roshi needs money; and once Dharam Dev finds out that the precious files now reside with DP’s accountant Zaforullah Khan (who also needs money as dowry for a third wife), he needs money too!

DP and Mala design a brilliant plan to rid themselves of both Roshi and Dharam once and for all.

Mala befriends Roshi by sympathizing with her after her father slaps her one night in exasperation. She suggests that since they both need money, and Ghanshyamdas is so miserly, they should scam him out of some of his wealth. Mala ropes in Dharam Dev to help them with a kidnapping plot. He will “kidnap” Roshi (who will go with him willingly) and hold her for ransom. Once Ghanshyamdas pays up, Roshi will return home and they will all have the money they need. Dharam reluctantly agrees because he needs money to give Zaforullah Khan in exchange for the incriminating files.

All goes well at first. Roshi and Dharam check into a hotel, where Roshi slips him an “English pill” and a funny cigarette. Woo-hoo!



It’s a wonderfully Alice-In-Wonderland kind of song. But DP and Mala are smarter than Dharam gives them credit for (and evidently also much smarter than Dharam Dev himself). When he retrieves the bag containing the ransom and returns to the place where he is to meet Roshi and Mala, he finds Roshi dead. He also discovers that the bag is full of newspaper and not money. Since this was supposed to be a fake crime, he’s made very little attempt to cover his tracks and now realizes that evidence against him is everywhere.


He is reinstated in the police force, and assigned to the kidnapping case along with poor Inspector Rajesh. Rajesh is heartbroken when Roshi’s body is discovered, and he is very determined to find the culprit.

Will this be enough of a disguise so that witnesses they interview can’t recognize Dharam Dev?


Or will he end up back in jail? Will Mala and DP escape to Switzerland and their millions? Watch Bullet to find out!

It’s FAB!


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33 Comments to “Bullet (1976)”

  1. WOW,
    What super photos.
    That skull! (my 7 year-old has almost the same in his bedroom)!
    That embrace! (I do this to my wife when I feel good towards her)
    Those hats! those shorts! (I have a special liking for excessive accoutrements)
    Those stinging eyes! That beard (I have the same during the holidays when I don’t shave – the beard, not the eyes, my eyes are like those of a a quiet little mouse) That tie! (I wish I had a red one like that)
    That poking tongue! (won’t give you my reason)
    That purple sun! (Never saw one like that before)
    That old walking on the wall trick! (never misses)
    That blood! (means she’s probably dead)
    And last BNL: that achingly pleasant face! (Parveen your candle burnt long before your legend ever did)

    These are all the reasons why I enjoy Bollywood! Hurray!

  2. Always love your comments, Yves! I am glad to see that you feel the same gleeful appreciation for Vijay Anand’s aesthetics that I do :-)

    And yes, “Candle in the Wind” could have been written for Parveen Babi as well as for Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana.

  3. Wow! This film looks great! I found clips from Bullet (1976) on YouTube – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=r0bCrJZaYHI – Indians really knows how to portray an era more than anyone else! Is it possible if you could review these films (with pictures) once you’ve watched them?

    – Aan (1952, India’s first Technicolour film) – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=OFitWRuhg6Q

    – Amrapali (1966) – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ_q9dgY1uM

    – Hanste Zakhm (1973) – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-X3nsbo–fA

    – Chitralekha (1964) – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=FQTwlw5wKjo

    – Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Vw2fL1Hw4

  4. It IS great, you will love Bullet. Watch all of Vijay Anand’s films, they are sublime.

    I’ve never had requests before! I have seen Aan, Chitralekha and Chaudhvin Ka Chand so will try to queue them up and dig out the others :-)

  5. Does anyone know what became of the actress Jyoti bakshi?

  6. The only thing I’ve been able to find out is that she died all alone—very sad. I found that info here: http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1218930.cms.

    I wish there was more information available about so many Hindi film actors and actresses who seem to have disappeared without a trace, some after careers that spanned decades too!

    • ya, it would be nice to know to know more about them but I think they flops that’s why no one cares . her parents were divorced so her grandmother brought her up. the dad visited her whenever he had free time from his work. she was kind of mixed up character but then it was expected wasn’t it.

  7. Very few know that Poor Jyoti bakshi had to face too much difficulties….for money…once during year 92-93 she got cought in delhi for pros charges….Sad Very Sad

    May God bless her soul

    • Did you know her? She was fairly rich after she inherited a huge property in Ludhiana with the name of ‘Gill Villa’ from what we heard. She had many relatives living overseas such as canada, States and the Uk. She apparently had relatives residing in Punjab as well in the city of Chandigarh. How did she manage to become so bad at looking after her finances. At one point she was also engaged to a person working IN the Indian Navy. She often talked about her cousins with he names of vanita and Harinder. Apparently they were very rich, could they not have been supportive to her in her times of difficulties? She also has very rich relatives somewhere in his world with he names of Pinky, nina and an aunt with the name of Lakhiwinder gill. I wonder what happened. She old us many stories regarding her life every time she invited us for a dinner party to her apartment in Mumbai. It would be nice if they could come forward and clarify why this young woman had such a problematic life to us because we are indeed left feeling baffled.

      • Unfortunately it seems that the richer people get, the more ungenerous they get at the same time. But who knows…maybe she rejected offers of help for some reason too. We’ll probably never know, and for her I guess it doesn’t matter now anyway.

        • must be or were they too toffy nosed?

        • Talking of actors who fell into bad days, my old favourite Navin Nischol is one..Once marroied to Dev anand’s niece, after a string of affairs with married women, lost his home, abused his wife , git arrested and cooling his heels is a jail..that’s what i heard last..Anyone remotely interested or know more?


          • Navin Nischol died due to heart failure a day before Holi (On Purnima Day) in March 2011 while going in a car from Mumbai to either Pune or Thane. I think his friend Randhir Kapoor was also travelling with him when this incident occurred. Navin Nischol is also one of my favorite actors though he was bogged down by domestic issues

  8. Memsaab, I usually agree with you wholeheartedly, but this time I find myself less enthusiastic. The look of the film is remarkable (love the videshi goli trip), Parveen Babi is simply divine,and I had no idea Kabir Bedi was ever such a dreamboat. But Roshi’s fate (and Dharam Dev’s rather cool reaction to it, except where is own guilt is involved) was so off putting, that Bullet lost me.

  9. Memsaab, I usually agree with you wholeheartedly, but this time I find myself less enthusiastic. The look of the film is remarkable (love the videshi goli trip), Parveen Babi is simply divine,and I had no idea Kabir Bedi was ever such a dreamboat. But Roshi’s fate (and Dharam Dev’s rather cool reaction to it, except where is own guilt is involved) was so off putting, that Bullet lost me.
    it was a super hit movie of 1976 in my view

  10. WOW this looks amazing! I’d see it just for that room with the skull, but the spiderweb, clothes, and plot sure don’t hurt. :) Also, what a find of Dev with his hair wet, demonstrating that the pompadour is not in fact his natural state.

  11. Wow Greta, thanks for this post! I was sent here by Beth Loves Bollywood and you are the end of the rainbow for my quest to find this movie…good work and thanks for sharing!

  12. i just finished watching bullet. it is a very good film being a huge fan of parveen babi (she is a good actress) and dev anand. he produced such fantastic classics such as jewel thief and guide.

  13. Jyoti was with me in school for two years in Chandigarh, as far as I know she came from a broken family and she left for Mumbai to join her father arjun bakshi gill who was in the film industry. for a few months she wrote letters and in one of them she had mentioned about being one of the choices for RK’s Bobby….incidentally her pet name too was Bobby. But it never materialised. soon the letters became fewer and the last one she sent was a autographed photo of Rajesh Khanna. Later on I heard of her tragic death.

    • Maitri
      Very unfortunate About Jyoti. Last I saw her she was staying in a big bunglow in Civil Lines Ludhiana along with her grandmother in 1970.
      This is Balraj from the same class. We are trying to contact all our class fellows. Have 15 of them connected, including Ruby, Poonam etc.Cud you get in touch via email.

      • Dear Balraj/Maitri,
        Jyoti was my cousin. She died on 17.8.2005 in her home at Versova Bombay when she was alone in the House.

  14. Nice and enjoyable movie based on a thriller of James Hardly Chase

  15. Jyoti’s father was a close friend of my father. He stayed with us for months at shimla.
    We were in school that time.

  16. Hello All,

    Long time reader of this site, but first time writer. Where can I find this movie online? I’ve searched, & searched (Googled, etc) to no avail.

  17. I saw Bullet during my college days at Vivek cinema in Delhi along with my friend Surinder Bedi on the first day and first show of its release. In fact we saw it thrice in the same week just because we liked Dev and Vijay Anand. I was not greatly impressed with the movie nor did the crowd at the theatre. I liked it in parts and would like to edit it and show it to my children minus some songs and some scenes. Opening titles and music was good and the second half of the movies was ok.. One thing I remember is that this film was made during the emergency period when there was strict and selective censorship for some filmmakers. This film was a victim of this kind of censorship prevailed for some and those who supported Mrs. Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi or VC Shukla, the then Information and Broadcasting Minister who passed some action oriented movies of AB and others while the master Goldie failed to film some scenes with gusto.

  18. The Bullet climax is some how is same with Dev Anand CID film. In CID they also used the same track to catch the real murderer .

  19. Long Live the reviews(oc including reviews of some super-dead films too) of Memsaab. Dellighted and enlightened once more.

  20. i saw this film in delhi’s Shiela theater we were huge fans of dev anand folks were rooting for him after a colossal flop in ISHK ISHK ISHK and protege Zeenat moved over to RK camp– overall Dev fans wanted a hit –esp. Goldie directed there were lot of hopes but the film was a dud in comparison to Johny, Jewel theif etc.- Goldie had lost his touch as wisely said then he was wanting to act and become a hero versus direct somehow the film was good in parts but was not his better efforts and was very mediocre in production/music/editing versus his other line of films. Gulshan Rai one of the leading distributors then and a close friend had said — Goldie wants to be a star like Dev and Dev wants to be a director like Goldie — and this is not good— true Goldie never again directed Dev till Chetan Saab pushed him and he started the un released Janna Na Dil Se Door… Dev n his part gave the fans the closure they were rooting for with Des Pardes and thats was it — he kept trying to come up with a success like hare ram hare krishna ..but never could and slowly went to churning b-to C level grade films. The other factor which played in the movie was the emergency and no concessions allowed by then Min VC Shukla who was upset by the Anand brothers for their non support of congress.

  21. Watched this movie since direction was of Vijay An and but disappointed everybody looking tired in the movie very loosely based plot and Praveen baby couldn’t match chemistry with Dev Sab

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