01 October, 2020

Palace Of Delusion

Kamal Amrohi’s Mahal is our first reincarnation thriller

Palace Of Delusion

One of the pleasures of celebrating a hundred years of cinema is revisiting films whose influence is profound and long-lasting even though they might not count among the greats. Kamal Amrohi’s Mahal is a fine example, and deserves a special place in Indian film history. Today, Mahal seems not the least bit scary, and some may find the pace painfully slow. But, together with Mehboob Khan’s Andaaz and Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat, all released in 1949, it brought a new aesthetic to Hindi cinema. It’s the story of Hari Shankar (played by Ashok Kumar, also the co-producer of the film), who visits an abandoned mansion, bought in a government auction. An old gardener and his daughter Asha (unseen at this point) live in the ironically named Sangam Bhavan. The gardener recounts the tragic story of...



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