Dhund (1973)

My mother, bless her, likes to watch Indian movies with me. Dhund has been on my short list to watch for some time now, and given our mutual love of mysteries it seemed a good pick—and so it was! We both really enjoyed it, and were mystified as to how it would end right up to the end. Based on an Agatha Christie play called “The Unexpected Guest”, it’s an atmospheric ensemble piece where everyone involved gets to shine (as much as the pervading fog will allow). Besides the main whodunit plot, there is also a charming and unusual effort to portray the police as competent and not-corrupt, one of whom is Madan Puri of all people.

Plus: a new/old mystery hotel!

Our story begins appropriately enough on a dark and foggy night, as a car careens along a road. It soon crashes into a tree, and the reckless driver (not a Kapoor! but Navin Nischol) makes his way by torchlight to a nearby house. Nobody answers his knock, but he goes in anyway.

Inside, he sees a man sitting in the dark in a wheelchair: he is the owner of the house, Ranjit Singh (Danny Denzongpa), and he is dead as a doornail. Somehow the sight of terrifying Danny face-planted on a silver tea tray makes me laugh, but it’s still suspenseful!

Nearby stands his wife Rani (Zeenat Aman) with a pistol in her hand; she immediately confesses to the crime and asks Chandra Shekhar (the reckless driver’s name) to call the police.

He seems reluctant and she tells him that the gun went off in a struggle with her husband. She tells him of the abuse she has suffered at the hands of the vicious and psychopathic Ranjit (crippled by a tigress on a hunting trip, and a man so evil that he killed people’s pets and probably ate their babies too); Shekhar suggests that they concoct a story to keep her in the clear (since film courts won’t accept a plea of self-defense! I knew it! I guess a valid self-defense defense would ruin the plot of too many movies).

Shekhar comes up with an elaborate scheme which will obfuscate the time of the murder (changing it to 11 pm instead of 10:30 or so) and manufacture an alibi for Rani (besides her, the household contains her mother-in-law, younger brother-in-law, and two servants). He demonstrates how it will work to Rani, then removes his fingerprints from every surface and thing he has touched and leaves. All goes as planned, with the result that the maid (Ashoo? Anybody know?) finds Ranjit’s body after she and Rani hear a gunshot while they are in the kitchen brewing tea.

Best Expressionist Nahin Face ever?

Shekhar re-enters the picture with his original (and still true) excuse of needing a telephone. Mrs Singh (Urmila Bhatt, who was surely too young to be playing a stepmother already) asks him to call the police and report the murder, which he does. When Inspectors Joshi (Madan Puri) and Bakshi (Jagdish Raj) arrive, he tells them about his car and that just as he approached the house a “tallish” man in a dark overcoat ran out. Because of the dark and the fog, he explains, he wasn’t able to get a good look at the face.

I should say here that one of my favorite things about this film is the cinematography (Dharam Chopra—a relative of BR, the director?). Scenes are meticulously framed and beautifully shot.

The police now conduct a fairly competent survey of the scene! They photograph poor Danny, who has now been face-down on the coffee tray for a long time, and carefully pick up clues scattered around him: his watch, grazed by the bullet, plus a cigar—Ranjit only smoked a pipe. They also discover that the safe has been ransacked (Shekhar’s work) and deduce that the robbery-murder is probably an inside job.

Banke Lal (Deven Verma), the manservant, has been out all evening and thus becomes the first suspect. He also happens to be wearing a dark overcoat when he’s found at the local kotha (an excellent excuse for a song and dance: “Jubana Se Chunariya”—anyone recognize the dancer?).

He is also drunk and carrying a big wad of cash, and the police drag him off to spend the night in a cell. Luckily he’s cleared by the nautch girl the next morning, and when Inspector Joshi tells him that his employer has been killed Banke is shocked. He tells Joshi that Ranjit was more the type to murder than be murdered, and drives home the point that he was really an awful man: he was mean to his sweet stepmother, literally drove his little half-brother mad (which we have seen with our own eyes), and he abused his lovely wife.

A cleverly edited flashback gives us a glimpse of the rage Ranjit was capable of.

The scene where Banke is let go is quite wonderful for this too: as he is about to leave, he timidly asks about the large sum of cash which the police had confiscated from him the night before, and then backpedals in a panic that he will be locked up again. It’s both sweet and hilarious, and all three in the frame seem to be having a chuckle too.

I love little moments like that. I wonder if any policeman in the cinema audience changed his bribing ways as a result of the fine example Inspector Joshi sets?

Anyway, with Banke off the list and still convinced it was an “inside job”, the police soon find a new suspect: one of the few friends Ranjit Singh had, a lawyer named Suresh Saxena (Sanjay Khan). But he swears that it was one of the few nights where he didn’t come to play chess with Ranjit because he was busy elsewhere, although he is visibly shaken when Rani tells him that there was a witness who saw a man leaving the house.

Suresh goes to the hotel where Shekhar is staying and is relieved when Shekhar fails to recognize him. The police discover that his fingerprints are on the silver tray (the only thing not wiped clean by Shekhar, because Ranjit’s face was on it) by matching them to ones lifted from the cigar he gives Joshi (which also match the brand they had found near Ranjit’s body). They are so forensically…competent!

I wonder if they could help me figure out this hotel location and name; in this movie it is called the Savoy Hotel, which very well could mean that it is the hotel’s real name as often happens, probably as a courtesy “Thanks for letting us film there!”. But I have seen this lobby a few times before, in The Train for one—and in that it was called the Hilltop. I’ve seen those blue stairs before too, and I think the bottom left is probably the exterior. Of course, they could all be sets and/or pieces of different locations but…well, it’s something else for me to obsess about, so I’m happy.

Banke informs Joshi that Suresh was more a friend of Rani’s than of Ranjit’s, which adds to his suspicions that Suresh in fact was the man who Chandra Shekhar ran into. But Suresh tells Joshi that the night Ranjit was murdered, he was hosting a party at the Savoy for his political supporters.

This leads to a flashback of the party and an excuse for a lovely song and dance featuring Padma Khanna and Jayshree (plus it’s an Asha-Usha sister duet, which I always love) “Jo Yahaan Tha Woh Vahaan Kyon Kar Hua”. I am so grateful that the songs are (mostly) subtitled in this, because Sahir Ludhianvi is the lyricist for Ravi’s melodic songs and I adore the witty lyrics for this one, about how a man can be in two places at once!

When questioned by the police the hotel manager confirms that Suresh did indeed host a party that evening, but he remembers too that Suresh left for about an hour at 10:15 pm after getting a phone call from a woman. Suresh’s omission of this bit of info in his conversation with the police cements Joshi’s belief that Suresh committed the murder. He shows Shekhar a photo of Suresh. Shekhar, now a bit panicked that he’s gotten a real person in trouble with his story, repeats that he cannot possibly identify anybody not having seen his face.

Did Suresh kill Ranjit? Was Rani lying? Or did she honestly kill her husband by accident? What will Suresh do if he is arrested and tried for murder? Will Shekhar confess that he lied? With so many people having good reason to kill Ranjit Singh, have the police gotten the right person? (Nana Palsikar will be the judge of that! and Ashok Kumar makes an appearance as the impish prosecutor.)

If you are one of the only people besides me who hasn’t seen this yet, do. The lovely songs, fine performances (even Zeenat isn’t too bad), solid cinematography, and a great plot—with touches of sweetness and humor besides the mystery—give this one definite repeat value!

109 Comments to “Dhund (1973)”

  1. Woww…Sounds like a fun Sunday watch…I am definitely going to watch this one…Thanks for the recco Memsaab…

  2. Cheers. Great to see a review after awhile. Sounds like an interesting move.. Agatha Christie stories are great and make for cool adaptations (Gumnaam…mmm.)

    Ashoo is the Mother in Yaadon Ke Baarat who sings the famous title song to her chillun. She also shows off her legs to Sanjeev Kumar in Seeta Aur Geeta.

    Denny Denzongpa is a bad guy even as a cripple. Will he ever get a positive role? :(

    I see the gruff looking guy with Madan in one of those screencaps too. :)

  3. Does the theme from “Shaft” turn up in this film at some point? Or did I dream that?

  4. Though I’ve seen lots of films from the 70s (mostly on TV), Dhund is the only one I own. Good, solid suspense, and I love the title song! (Incidentally, I remember an interesting anecdote about how Danny got the part – he’d been very keen on it, but B R Chopra thought he was too young for the part. So Danny turned up, in full makeup and dressed for the part – looking older and evil enough to convince Chopra).

    • The title song is fab, I liked all the songs actually although I am a huge Ravi fan so it isn’t surprising. That’s a great story about Danny—thanks for sharing it :)

  5. Great review, once again, Memsaab!
    Saw this ages ago on DD, but can’t remember much except that I was a bit bored by it. Wonder why?

  6. A stylish movie with handsome stars like Sanjay khan and and Naveen nishchol.( Nishchol died few days back while traveling to pune in a car with Randheer kapoor). I specially like the start scene where a plane takes off from runway in darkness and a car moves into jungles with haunting saahir’s song playing in the background , underlining the mysterious ways of life !!! Hotel Savoy was i think favorite of BR Chopra, because it is there in movie Humraaz also. (The same hotel where Raajkumar haunts the corridors in his white shoes….). Good review.. !! waiting for more !!

  7. I am searching the name of the lady who dances for the song “Jobna se chunariya sarak gayore” with Deven verma from many days.

    Her name must be “CHAAND”, I don`t have any exact proof, its just my guess,
    she was there in
    a)Hanste zakham(1973)(lip syncing and dancing for the song ” Gali gali mein kiyaare badnaam”
    b)Saaheb bahadur(1977)(dev anand starrer)(as main dancers who accompany dev anand)
    c)Jaaneman(1976)(dev anand starrer)(she is one of the dancers, who accompany Hemamalini for the song”Jabal pur mein paida huyee,elaahaabad mein biki…naam mera raamkali)
    d)she was there in Chetan anand`s Heer Raanjha(1970) also.

    She was a chetan anand favourite, I think, she starred in all of his directorial ventures

  8. Dhund is one of the best suspense films made in Hindi.I watched it a few years ago in DD channel.

  9. Nice review, Greta. I remember seeing this movie but it was such a long time ago that I remember only bits and pieces. I remember the first few scenes (till Zeenat with the pistol in her hand) – and then it gets foggy for me. ;-)

    I do remember a couple of songs – the opening song (with the credits) and “uljhan suljhe na”. Both were fairly popular in their time. I just listened to them on youtube for old times’ sake. :-)

    Do you have an ID of the seated guy in that screenshot with Madan Puri which has subs as “Both belong to the same man?”? I’ve seen him in a zillion movies, am sure you have too. :-)

    And the credits mention a Prem Sagar. Have seen that name quite a bit too but can’t put a face to it. Would you be able to put me out of my misery? ;-)

    Thanks for the review, Greta. Always look forward to reading updates on your blog. :-)

    • I don’t know who the seated guy is in that screen cap—he was really only in this for a few seconds (the fingerprints expert). I was thinking that Prem Sagar might be the guy who plays the other main policeman in this, name is Rana in the movie (and he’s the guy standing to the right of the seated guy in that cap). He had quite a few lines and scenes, and imdb says that Prem Sagar often played a policeman. I need to do a little research to be sure.

      • Prem Sagar is in fact Inspector Rana. He’s there in Don (as the Inspector who lets the hospital van go) and some Dev Anand movies like Guide (as a lawyer) and Kala Bazaar (as one of Madan’s goons).

    • Raja, the seated guy is such a big mystery! He’s like Aaj Aur Kal Raj Kumar and Gora Robert.. In everything but never credited (to my knowledge). He’s even in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..! in 1991!

  10. Memsaab, I have seen this film, and am ready to give a spoiler, with your permission. But having watched scores of mystery movies, I caught on the culprit before the climax. Still, I admit it was a good whodunnit.
    Both Zeenie baby and the maid, whatever her name is, looks superhot. By the way, where was that painting from? Sure looks familiar.
    Sanjay’s lines in the second picture may suggest that Zeenie should have rather starved Danny or locked him in a Guinness brewery to drink himself to death. In that way, there would be no murder or fingerprints anywhere.

    • No spoilers! Some people can’t help but read them even if they don’t want to (me for one) :D This is easy enough to find. I have to admit that I don’t really ever try to figure out how things are going to end…I just like to absorb what’s going on. Even when I read mystery novels (which I do a lot), figuring out who did it is never top priority for me! I know that’s weird.

      The painting is “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist. It is very famous :)

      • Interesting. The name of the painting matches my favorite horror-comic movie (the entire series). Half the time I was laughing and the rest of the movie hating the heroine. Please give a “bite” on ‘SCREAM’.
        All right, no spoilers. Putting the Miss Marple mind to rest!

  11. the seated guy if i m not wrong is named k l sehgal . he worked in many serials also. it appears that he one time appeared in every movie of bollywood.

  12. I’m a sucker for movies that begin on a dark and foggy night. Sadly though Hindi movies rarely live up to their atmoshpheric starts. Dhund is a great exception and such a *satisfying* watch. The mystery is genuinely puzzling, the film remains focused, the performances are competent and mericifully low-key [except for dear Zeenat :-)] and the songs are nicely woven into the plot – the whole production just has a very professional feel to it. Why oh why don’t they make movies like this anymore? :-(

    • Ah Zeenat…so pretty. Such a bad actress. But I agree, a very very well-made professional movie!

      • Am I the only one who thinks that Zeenat is a decent actress, especially compared to that wooden actor Sanjay Khan? She started off her career with a Filmfare Award for “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” (1972) and received two more Filmfare nominations for “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” (1977) and “Insaaf Ka Tarazu” (1980) (which also was directed by her “Dhund” director B.R. Chopra). I do think she always had good directors guiding her, which explains why she was a major star for 14 years.

        • I think she varied from “good enough” to “abysmal”…probably largely depending on the director’s abilities, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her give what I’d call a “really good” performance. I think she was a major star because she was beautiful and willing to flaunt it, and she was in a lot of fun movies for sure. I think I liked her best with Rajesh Khanna…

  13. Regretfully never watched this movie, but heard nothing but praise for it. At the first opportunity I get, I will watch it. This one and Aitbaar.

  14. This is listed as one of the top 10 Mystery films of Hindi Cinema of all time in a website of my friend.
    Yes, I have seen it twice or thrice and will see it again.Sanjay, Zeenat, Navin Nischol and the evil Danny all play their parts to the hilt..It is a chilling murder mystery film with a realistic portrayal of an abused and lonely wife..
    It is a BR Chopra Product of course, who made Kanoon, Hamraaz, and Ittefaq in the same genre…

    • Yes, very well done in terms of direction, acting, pacing, cinematography…everything. Even a good story can make a bad movie (Gumnaam eg, although I do love that movie for lots of reasons) but this one lived up to its inspiration.

  15. This movie was actually being telecast in one of the movie channels a few days back. I watched it a bit and I do not remember why I did not watch the rest. perhaps I was looking for some other channel or my mind was elsewhere or I was feeling sleepy Like a tipsy Deven Verma I too do not recall the details. :)

    Two of the songs (the movie opening title song, as well as the song “uljhan suljhe na” )are quite hummable. I was not much aware of the other songs mentioned in the movie. Now I need to go and explore them.

    Danny indeed received tremendous critical acclaim for his role in this movie. Though I have never watched this movie in full, I associate this movie with Danny, that is the kind of rave reviews I remember reading about him.

    This has to be one of the more competently made Hindi movies. And I am happy that your review vindicates all the good things that I have said about this movie in the past.

    It was a fun review as always with your trademark witticisms.

    -a valid self-defense defense would ruin the plot of too many movies

    -Best Expressionist Nahin Face ever?

    -They are so forensically…competent!

    -Nana Palsikar will be the judge of that!

    Waah waah ! These observations are priceless !

    • It was so cool to see the police behaving appropriately and like they knew what they were doing :D Danny didn’t get a *LOT* of screen time (being dead, mostly) but when he did he really made the most of it, and not in an OTT way either. He was great. My favorite song is the Padma-Jayshree T dance…I just loved it in the context of the film, and it’s really lively and also well-picturized on them.

      • Police usually behaved well in the ciinema of the time. You would rarely come across a corrupt cop in seventies. Corrupt cops were an eighties phenomena, starting with the Jeetendra megahit Meri Awaz Suno, which was also banned because it portrayed government officials and cops in bad light.

  16. Dhund is really a good mystery film.
    BR Chopra made good films, and this genre seemed to be his speciality. Other films from him which are a ‘must watch’ in this genre are ‘Ittefaq’ and ‘Kanoon’.
    Kanoon especially has a very interesting twist at the end. Come to think of it, so does Ittefaq :)

  17. Memsab, may be you missed it – Nivedita was in the film too !
    The film was shot in Mahabaleshwar

    Atul & Raja – Look at the irony of the situation. In this movie, Sanjay Khan was Zeenat’s saviour as he was her sounding boarding to protect her from a violent beast ; in real life, Sanjay hit Zeenat so badly in the 80’s that her vision in one of the eyes was impaired.Look at the current photos of Zeenat and you will know what I mean.
    BTW, old timers – did this movie run at the box office ?

    • Who did Nivedita play?

      And yes, I thought of that too while watching Sanjay and Zeenat romancing each other. Ugh.

      • Memsaab, what is this SK thing you and CV are talking about? Sounds very scandalistic. Please share with all of us too -unabridged.

        • In 1980 Zeenat and Sanjay Khan (who was already married to Zarine) had a pretty torrid affair and rumor has it that they got married too. But Sanjay hit her so hard one day (probably not for the first time although who knows) that one of her eyes was damaged. The affair/marriage ended badly as you can imagine. I don’t think either one of them has ever talked about it (I could be wrong) but it created quite the scandal, and they were pretty blatant about their relationship anyway.

          • Sad :-( I looked for ‘Dhund’ online after reading your review but couldn’t find it readily.

            On Zeenat and Sanjay Khan, last year I came across this ‘Walk the Talk’ segment of Shekhar Gupta’s (Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express which is one of the still credible newspapers in India that hasn’t become a yellow rag) with Shobha De and felt physically sick after hearing Shobha talk about the Zeenat-Sanjay episode. Like you and some others mentioned above, I’d read bits and pieces about it and since I don’t believe gossip rags, didn’t put much store by what they said, thought it was exaggerated, etc. Well, Shobha blew this to smithereens. And it says much about old, established Bollywood. Apparently, Sanjay Khan ground his heel into Zeenat’s face which damaged an optic nerve and subsequently her eye forever and did it in the lobby of the Taj with socialite women :-( egging the brute on to give it to her! No, no, no. I hadn’t come across that before. It made my stomach turn.

            Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the episode. The bit on Zeenat comes in Part 2.

            Part 1

            Part 2

          • THAT’s where I’d seen the details, although my vintage magazines are chock full of it too. Thanks for the link Suhan. I think ;-)

          • { dont think it was Sanjay khan but the the other lesser known guy mazhar khan who abused her while she was marries to him

          • See comments and links above; it is pretty clear that Sanjay Khan abused her terribly.

  18. Nice movie with a nice suspense plot. (SPOILER ALERT *If you look out for the wallet….)

    Other good suspense movie is Khoj (1989) starring Rishi Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah.

    • Khoj, huh? I will see if I can find it/have it. I do like a well-made mystery-suspense film. Hate horror films, but love a good mystery!

      • If you haven’t seen it, check out Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s “Khamosh” (1985) w/Shabana Azmi, Amol Palekar, Soni Razdan, etc. It is hands down my favorite Hindi mystery movie…not counting “Tessri Manzil” of course but that’s a favorite for non-mystery related reasons.:- D

  19. A nicely done whodunit, didn’t know it was from Ms Christie’s story (now I’ll have to look for that story, seems like she wrote at least two or three stories similar to The Mousetrap.)
    The second screencap brought back bad memories of Zeenat Aman’s glass eye – the beast should know. I didn’t know what to think when later on, he went on to suffer near life-threatening burns while shooting for his TV series, Tipu Sultan.
    I heard a similar line about husbands in a Satyajit Ray movie we watched yesterday – the beast alluded to was a goat.
    Isn’t that other inspector in the frame Jagdish Raj?

  20. Excellent review.

    I remember having seen this movie when I was very young and the details were not very clear till now, I don’t remember the end though and good reviewer that you are, you are not going to give it away. So the best I can do is to hunt for the film, b/b/s – beg, borrow or steal!

    The songs in the movie are very good and two of them come to my mind straight away – SANSAR KI HAR SHAY KA ITNA HI FASANA HAIN, EK DHUND MEIN JAANA HAIN, EK DHUND MEIN AANA HAIN, an excellent song to buttress the leitmotif of this movie – the ubiquitous fog. And then there was the excellent Asha Bhosale song – ULJHAN SULJHE NA, RASTA SOOJHE NA JAOON KAHAN MAIN. But then you would expect good music, if Sahir Ludhianvi is the lyricist and Ravi is then Music Director.

    Liked the bit about Inspector Joshi – (Madan Puri of all guys) – wish more guys in the Police force were like him.

    Sanjay Khan should really be behind the bars for his violent behavior with Zeenat, the incident has been mentioned by quite a number of your readers. The guy is sick, to say the least.

    Any idea how this mystery flick fared at the B/O?

    • I would think it’s pretty easy to find, although the vicissitudes of the Indian dvd industry never fail to amaze me (and not in a good way). My version is a YashRaj dvd.

      The music is really nice, and it was good fun to see Madan Puri as one of the good guys, and a competent one at that :) I have no idea how the film did, but I think it did well. It put Danny on the map, as others have said above…

      • You pretty much covered all the points I made about “Dhund” in my comments, except the one on Sanjay Khan.

        The guy needs to be admonished in the strongest possible terms. What he did to Zeenat is really unpardonable.

        Zeenat needs to be appreciated for the brave come back she made after the two debacles she suffered, one with Sanjay Khan and then with one more Khan, Mazhar Khan, (know the creep?).

        She emerged stronger after these batterings. Wishing her all the best.

        • I’ve sort of said everything about that incident already that I care to…he ought to have gone to jail (and society should have condemned him for it even if the law didn’t–but that probably didn’t happen either), and Zeenat should have learned a lesson from it that she apparently didn’t, if Mazhar Khan abused her too :(

        • Mohanji
          I second your opinion in this regard

          I shouldn`t write this,
          but I have to write this for the things , those two ruthless men done to zeenatji.
          GOD had punished both Sanjay and Mazhar Khan,in his own ways, I think. But the punishment was not enough for the deeds done by them, I feel.

          • Yes Prakashchandra sahab, the wheels of God grind slowly but grind surely. Both the guys got divine retribution in one form or the other.

            I hate to write these things while reading such a lovely review, but then, my revulsion at the things Sanjay Khan did to Zeenat got the better of me.

            Anyway, one has to carry on in life with these things and Zeenat has done it bravely, she even walked the ramp the other day for a well known designer. Brave lass, May God give her all the happiness in the days to come.

            Memsaab, I am sorry to mar this lovely review with the out pouring of revulsion at the abuse. But then

            हम सबको

            एक धुँद में जाना हैं एक धुँद से आना हैं. Life should move on.

  21. Loved reading this review. I am one of the few people who have not seen this movie. :(

    Agatha Christie suspense, mixed with Ravi’s songs, a dance by Padma Khanna and Jayshree T, and Sanjay Khan and Zeenat Aman, good looking people even if they cannot act , it seems like a wonderful way to pass some time.

  22. Seems most (including myself) have got their mind ‘fogged’ about the ending of this film :D. Those two songs and the opening scene are what (again like the others) I remember about this film. Am rushed – Will have to catch up the your review (that’s the entertaining part :)) later.

  23. Kannon(1960) from the BR Chopra stable is one more must-watch.

  24. Memsab,
    Apologies for raking up the SK-ZA issue. But when you review a movie and then look at the reality, then you realise how different is reel life and real life. On second thoughts, I am overwhelmed at the comments of others.
    To answer your question on Nivedita, do you remember the Nun in the end of the movie ? She played the love interest of Navin Nischol.It was a blink and you will miss it appearance. Mostly her last film.
    Some reports say that the film didn’t do that well – mainly because it was far ahead of its times.
    Coming back to Sanjay Khan, as some of our dear members have commented, what goes around comes around. You know what, in the late 60’s SK had almost married Mala Sinha. But he ditched her in the last minute and married Zarine. Pratibha (mala’s daughter) recalled how her mother used to go ballistic while talking about SK. Not only that, during this time, SK and Mala had signed close to 10 movies. Once the liaison ended, SK was dropped like a hot potato from all the movies because during those days Mala had a good runin at the box office. I was in the same batch as Pratibha during college days so I know this.

    • Well it is a completely awful incident which reflects very badly on him (not to mention his treatment of Zarine in the whole thing). Leaves a very bad taste, which comes back whenever I watch his films, partly why I rarely do see a Sanjay Khan film.

      Mala had a lucky escape, it seems :) And thanks for the Nivedita id—I will add her to the Gallery! :)))

  25. @Memsaab, I had seen this movie a long time ago but it is lost in the dhund of my memory. After reading your review and nuggets of information contained in the comments, it deserves a second dekho.
    While one had heard about Sanjay Khan’s treatment of Zeenat, the Mala Sinha story is new. @Chandraprabha, thanks for that and the other pieces that you shared.

    • Yup the Mala Sinha story was new to me too! This film def. deserves a second look, let me know what you think of it :)

      • I did manage to see this again and I agree that it is well made and follows a logical progression, avoiding too many sideshows. I did find the end to be a bit contrived but that could be because the filmmakers wanted to stay true to the original. I have read somewhere that to pick the perpetrator of a crime, novelists (and films) of yore had a limited choice between the hero, his sidekick, the heroine, the villain, the butler, the maid or a tramp :)

  26. Like a lot of other people replying here, I remember watching this movie on TV as a child and liking it. However, looks like I have forgotten a number of details. Somehow I had merged the Navin Nischol and Sanjay Khan characters in to one which probably means I don’t remember the murderer correctly either. When I saw this movie review on your blog, I immediately thought of the “Jo Yahaan Tha Woh Vahaan Kyon Kar Hua” video as a song I had liked however, in my head the song was “Raaz ki baat keh doon toh jaane mehfil mein phir kya ho” from Dharma (1973). There seems to be a lot of cross wiring going on in my head as far as early 70’s movies are concerned.

    On a different topic, have you watched the movie “Aitbaar”. It is an 80’s movie based on Dial M for Murder by Agatha Christie with Raj Babbar, Dimple Kapadia and Suresh Oberoi. Your review reminded me of that movie because there Danny plays the slightly bumbling but intelligent police inspector.

  27. Dhund is a nice mystery thriller. One of the few in Bollywood. In the 60s you got movies like Gumnaam (musical comic thriller perharps), Woh Kaun Thi (good one), Mera Saaya. Then 70s you have few good mysteries like Dhund. I don’t know if you can include it in this list, but Buddha Mil Gaya is a good comic thriller aswell. Khel Khel Mein has a fine second mystery half too. Personally I think 80s had best movies in such genre, with movies like Dhuan, Aitbaar, Khamosh etc.
    I am a big fan of thrillers or mysteries, and there are very few Hindi thrillers/mysteries that I haven’t seen. The few ones that I haven’t seen are Bees Saal Baad, Khoj (remake of Dhuan), Police Public, Hulchul and some other 60s/70s B graders starring some Kumars (Roopesh, Sujit, etc) or Shatrughan Sinha.

    • Hulchul is fun, I have not yet watched Bees Saal Baad which everyone has recommended to me. I really liked Mera Saaya too although I thought Woh Kaun Thi wasn’t very good (except some of the songs) :)

  28. I see. Will watch Hulchul. When I saw Woh Kaun Thi I liked it, don’t know about now since its been long.
    You saw Dhuan? Quiet tight flick too, but I don’t know if you like Mithun Chakraborty.

  29. Haha okay. Are there any other good films you’d recommend me? Like some unknown films that are real good (not cheesy, as I am kind off fedup with them at the moment). And some good overall comedies?

    Do you have a mail where one can talk in more detail? (Just to clarfiy, I am an aspiring script writer/actor, and needed some inspiration, since you watch so many movies I think I could ask you for some things).

    • As far as mysteries go…Kohraa (based on Rebecca)—actually any well-done remake of a good story is worth watching…sadly so many films made from good stories don’t quite fall into the well-done category :D

      My email is memsaabstory at gmail dot com but I warn you that my tastes are not that sophisticated!

  30. Haha ok.

    Well I’ll just ask some basic things. Anyways I visit your forum every once in a while and am amazed at the amount of movies you watch. Is there any B Grade movie that was actually ‘nice’ and not ‘unintentionally funny’?

  31. wow.. your blog is just too too awesome.. completely hooked to it..

  32. memsaab, came here through dustedoff’s site (which I reached through bollyviewer’s site – yes, I do manage to get around!)… I am impressed with the sheer volume of films you have managed to see. :) And thanks for watching so many so I can miss some without feeling guilty :)

    I love watching movies, reading about movies, discussing movies, and once upon a time in the dark ages, I used to be a journalist (not a film one, though) in Bombay. It feels good to find a community that is so passionate about films.

  33. Regarding your question

    Dharam and Yash are both brothers of BR Chopra.Dharam was a good cinematographer.
    If I remember correctly, all three worked together for the first time on Dhool ka Phool. Sort of like Taxi Driver in which three Anand Brothers (Chetan, Dev and Vijay) worked together.


  34. Hello Memsaab,
    A request
    If you happen to find time to write about 1949 film Lahore, it would be great. Many old songs’ lovers would remember ‘Duniya Hamare Pyar ki, yuhi jawa(n) rahe’ rendered by Karan Dewan and Lata Mangeshkar.

    Garm Hawa, worth reviewing. Parinay, Bhuvan Shom, Shodh, Chakr, Giddh, Bhumika – can recall n number of films you can write a detailed posts about. Your work is pretty detailed and I appreciate that you are bringing forgotten/unknown artists to the fore. Interesting trivias add charm to the posts.

    Thanks for your good work and especially for your presence online. :)

    Bhavesh N. Pattni

  35. Memsaab, this finally came up in my Netflix queue, so I can confirm (belatedly) that yes, the Oscar winning theme song from “Shaft” is used generously as Shekar and Rani set up the murder evidence at the beginning of the story. Thanks for this recommendation, as promised, a most enjoyable mystery.

  36. i too love mysterious and being a great reader of all agatha christie books they are great i decided to watch dhund since it was based on one of her books and i really enjoyed this movie. bollywood does not do many movies along the lines of this genre, but dhund was a great watch all the way and all the actors were very good.

  37. I am amazed that for the murder, Chandrasekhar was released even without few years jail.

    The movie is really well maid and you remain absorbed in movie until the end wherein sudden twist comes with the nun.

    One of very good mystery movie in Bollywood and equally good review carried with scenes almost till end court scene and yet even if you read this much, you may not feel it as spoiler

  38. What are the filming locations of Dhund made in 1973 ? Where is the Church shown in the end of the movie ?

  39. This was another masterpiece from BR DA,I personaly believe that sixty percent of the battle is won(filmmaking) if you have complete script in hand before you began actual shooting and I believe BR DA believed the same,a coincidence that I too belong to JALANDHAR,the year 1973 may/june, crime thriller in which till last five minutes one is not sure who is the actual muderer.Except of Sanjay(uncle)who was decade senior in movies all others were new keeping apart deven uncle,dada muni,and nana paslekar,though new to industry Zeenat aunty,Navin uncle(I hope/wish his soul in peace) and Danny uncle gave superlative performances,though it can be coincidece that danny uncle will direct(PHIR WOHI RAAT aug 1980)excellence at par) will write about it some other time,coming back to this one, its difficult to figure out that they were new to industry those times,and I remember exactly that once danny uncle mentioned thatCHOPRAS/SIPPYS have been always family to me,to our generation which was between 1965/70,this movie was treat,unfoturnately cinema is not same as it use to be,leave alone the content/sub minus music now there is dearth of names for ex. there is movie by name’RAGARA’ almost played every fifth day on sat.tv ,my advise to young genaration watch DHUND and you will like to watch it another ten times till next time. RAVINDER MINHAS,JALANDHAR CITY PANJAB.minhas35@yahoo.com.

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