Shikar (1968)

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Set in a jungle estate, this is a fun movie mystery with bountiful clues and plenty of suspects to go around. What really makes it work though is the stellar cast: Dharmendra and Asha Parekh star along with Sanjeev Kumar—he won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award for it. They are also supported by Johnny Walker, Manmohan and Rehman—and my favorite girl Helen who gets two dances and a substantial role in the film! The songs by Shankar-Jaikishan are wonderful, and the dancing superb.

Our story opens with estate owner Naresh and his estate manager Ajay (Dharmendra) stalking and killing a tigress who has just stalked and killed a tribal woman. That night the tribal people celebrate with drums and dancing (fabulous dancing). Ajay is awakened by a storm just in time to see a jeep crash in front of his house. A woman is thrown from it (literally).

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He carries her into his house and goes to get help. He passes Naresh’s house, sees the gate and house wide open, and stops to investigate, only to find Naresh dead from a bullet wound. Forgetting completely about the unconscious woman at home, he brings the police and Police Inspector Rai (Sanjeev Kumar) back to Naresh’s house. They discover some clues: the footprints of a man and a lady’s high-heeled sandals, a red rose, a lady’s muddy handkerchief, a bullet from a .32 pistol. Naresh’s two pistols are missing.

This reminds Ajay (finally!) about the girl he’d left at home, and they go to talk to her—only to find her gone and no sign of her jeep or the accident. Before they get there, though, the tribal chieftain’s daughter Mahua (Bela Bose)—who has come to flirt with Ajay’s servant Teju (Johnny Walker)—finds a gold handbag on the ground where the jeep had been the night before and happily takes it with her.

That evening Ajay attends a charity dance concert and recognizes the dancer as the same woman who had crashed her jeep in front of him the night before.

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It turns out that the dancer is Kiran (Asha Parekh), the former Police Superintendent’s daughter. When Ajay confronts her, she denies knowing anything about him or the jeep, and others attest to the fact that she was at the Policeman’s Ball the previous night. After a few vague attempts to trap her, Ajay is convinced of her innocence in the whole matter, and of course he falls in love with her at the same time.

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Meanwhile, Naresh’s secretary Veera (Helen) appears to have some connection to a client named Ranvir (Manmohan), who has come to the estate ostensibly to hunt. He conspires with Naresh’s lawyer to replace Naresh’s will with a forged one naming Veera as his heir.

Inspector Rai has a brainwave: why not wash the muddy handkerchief found at the scene to see if any clue is revealed? He does so, and—ta da!—an embroidered “V” appears from underneath the dirt. He sends some guys to search Veera’s house but they find nothing incriminating.

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Back at the police station, an old lady by the name of Vimla Devi has showed up claiming that she killed Naresh. Her luggage reveals handkerchiefs exactly matching the one in Rai’s possession and he questions her further.

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Vimla Devi says that she killed Naresh because he had seduced her niece and dishonored her. She refuses to give her niece’s identity to protect her reputation. Veera calls Rai to her house the next day on the pretext of wanting to seduce him (one of my favorite Helen songs: “Haye Mere Paas”); while there he finds an envelope she has left by the sofa which was addressed to Naresh the day before his murder.

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He recognizes the handwriting on the envelope as being that of former Police Superintendent Sharma (Rehman), Kiran’s father. There is no letter inside, though. Back at the station, he releases Vimla Devi hoping that she will lead him to her niece.

Ajay arrives at his house with Kiran to find Veera ransacking it. She tells him she was waiting for him and looking for some booze and makes her escape. Kiran is jealous and Ajay takes her home after convincing her that Veera means nothing to him. As he is leaving, Inspector Rai arrives to question Sharma about the envelope. Sharma tells Rai that it was simply an invitation to the Policeman’s Ball. Rai lets Sharma know that he has several suspects in the case: Veera, the old lady and her niece, whoever she is, and Kiran and Sharma themselves.

At the jungle estate Veera has gone to meet Ranvir. She is angry that he’s forged a will naming her as Naresh’s heir; she says it makes her look guilty of his murder (she has a point). As they talk, the tribals come rushing into the camp with Teju and Mahua, who are now engaged to be married. Veera sees the gold handbag in Mahua’s possession and is obviously interested in it. Mahua won’t give it up though.

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Veera now leads a lively dance (“Main Albeli Pyar”) and during the course of it manages to steal the handbag from Mahua. And at the station, Inspector Rai realizes that Kiran’s hairstyle the night of the Policeman’s Ball (and Naresh’s murder) contained a red rose just like the one at the crime scene.

What’s in the handbag that’s so important? What was really in Sharma’s letter to Naresh? How are Veera and Ranvir connected? And who killed Naresh?

Veera? Vimla Devi and her niece? Kiran? Sharma? Ranvir? or some girl who looks exactly like Kiran? Watch Shikar to find out.

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7 Comments to “Shikar (1968)”

  1. Just saw this movie recently and loved it! The dance between Asha Parekh and Bela Bose is fantatic!

  2. I love the music in it. And what a great cast!!!

  3. I watched this film last night…

    Handsome Dharmendra and a young cute Asha parekh assisted by Johnny walker and murder in jungle.. If thats not good enough, there is
    Sanjeev Kumar who plays a Police inspector in charge of this case quite ably where he is baffled by an unusually nosy ex-Police Commissioner played by Rehman.

    Johnny walker’s comedy tracks with Bela bose( wherever happened to het later?) could have done with some editing..It was two songs too many but in 1968 who was complaining with rafi, lata and mahendra kapoor’s melodies and Helen dancing gloriously..

    On the flip side, they shoot a tiger dead and dance around the bleeding carcass..Obviously they had not heard of animal rights or anti-hunting laws then..

    All in all, a paisa vasool thriller.

  4. This is the first Dharam-Asha Golden Jubilee hit (the second being ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’ – 1971) All the other films with the same pair turned out to be Silver Jubilee hits = ‘Aaye Din Bahar Ke’ (1966), ‘Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke’ (1969) and ‘Samadhi’ (1972).

    In the later years, they did appear in ‘Dharam Aur Kanoon’ (1984) and ‘Hathyar’ (1989), but not opposite each other.

    This pair could have created the same kind of euphoria like that of Dharam-Hema. I simply don’t know why directors didn’t cast them in more movies together.

  5. Finally got around to see this movie. Arresting landscapes, cool jungles, and ferocious, yet devoted forest-dwellers. The elephants on a rampage, contrary to other movies where they become easy victims to Man’s cruelty-reminded me of the pachyderm troop in the ‘JUNGLE BOOK’. Got to see Bela Bose in her prime(superb dancing skills), looking steamy in her tribal make-up. An added bonus: DHARAM showing his STEEL body, making me envious, yet delighted. Another plus point-Helen in a not-so-vampish role and surviving at the climax.
    But given all these facts, I was still unsatisfied; the movie did not measure up to its full potential with such a powerful star-cast. Only SK, Helen and Rehman’s performances were satisfactory till the end. Dharam’s dialogues were cliched, and Asha was good only in her vulnerable scenes-her talent was wasted here. But I was disappointed most by Johnny’s performance-what happened to the happy-go-lucky comedian, with his improvised dialogues? Also could not understand why all the animals started sprinting at the climax-scared of the elephants’ wrath, or uniting against the human interference? But the scene was shot very well.
    As a final ploint, Memsaab-if Shammi+Asha=superhit, then Dharam+Asha=mega-blockbuster. No one can make a better pair with either.

  6. I had seen ‘Shikar’ with mt friends when it had been released in Bombay.We had just loved the movie as it had been a ell made taut murder mystery. The identity of the killer came as a shock to us in the end!

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