The movie begins with a grave being dug and you think that you’ll get what you’re expecting from a Ramsay film. But soon after the titles the disappointment begins. We meet the central character of the film Rajvansh (Surendra Kumar…who had previously starred in the F U Ramsay production Ek Nanhi Munni Ladki Thi and went on to do nothing else), a moneyed Hindu gentleman who is there at the graveyard to put flowers at the grave of his dead Christian wife (who was not only his wife, but his love – as he puts it himself). Now remember this detail because it is going to be really important later. Nah, just kidding. The dead wife has no relation to the rest of the story. None whatsoever.
Incidentally, the grave digger is played by Habib…a man whose career spanned from 1942 to 1983 during which he played bit roles in 65 films (listed on IMDB, which means there are very probably quite a few more that he did) including cult legends like Hunterwali, Zimbo, Jungle Queen and some pretty well known hits like Jewel Thief, Rafoo Chakkar, Dharmatma and the big daddy of them all Sholay (he was the non speaking Banjara sardar who supplies weapons to Gabbar Singh and entertains him with an item number). And for some reason he speaks with a Joginder level weird accent for the entire duration of his 2 minute 3 scene role.
Moving back to the film, immediately after the graveyard scene we see the dashing Rajvansh looking at plants and collecting some samples, when he hears the scream of a girl. He rushes out to see Anjili (Introducing Shobhna…who went on to star in nothing whatsoever. Her IMDB page lists two other movies but those are from 1981 and 1992, so I’m guessing those were two different Shobhnas.) being chased by some goons.
He does what any decent man does in a Hindi movie – he takes on the many goons, beats them all up and saves the girl. It appears that the girl was out here in the wilderness on a picnic with her friends but got lost. Since her house was too far to be reached before nightfall, Rajvansh takes her to stay the night in his haveli. And then we see that the sinister figure of Satyen Kappu has been watching them from the shade this whole time.
At the Haveli we meet the support staff, Dhumal and some girl. Now the thing to keep in mind here is that this movie was shot by the Ramsay brothers over a period of 40 days in Mahabaleshwar…the whole cast and crew (a large portion of which was the Ramsay family) basically went on a long picnic. If you look at Dhumal’s presence in the film, one thing is for certain…he wasn’t there for the full 40 days. So they just filmed as many scenes as they could with him to provide the comedy sidetrack (mostly based on his interactions with Satyen Kappu) and then invented excuses for his not being there during the rest of the film.
Anjili is shown to his dead wife’s room (why did they have separate rooms if they were so in love?) while Rajvansh goes to his lab and does some experimenting.
Then they have dinner together and say good night. Sometime during the night, Anjili leaves her own room and goes to sleep in Rajvansh’s bed. Rajvansh is woken up when she tries to take the blanket away and is only mildly surprised by her. When he finds out that she can’t sleep alone due to fear, he agrees to let her sleep there, next to him. But as we all know, being a widowed man in bed with a girl is difficult and he can’t sleep…neither can she. His vaguely sexual thoughts are brought to the fore by the decorations in his room like this painting here…
Or this weird looking sculpture on his nightstand, which seems to be arousing some hitherto unknown feelings in him, judging by his expression. (or considering that he keeps this thing that is clearly arousing him on the nightstand, maybe the expression just means that he is hoping that she falls asleep soon so he can jerk off, like every night, to these hot pointy metal things on this tiny little woman.)
This turns out to be to much for our Vishwamitra and his penance is broken. He reaches out and takes her willing hand…
And then, for some Godforsaken reason, the Ramsay brothers give us one of their creepiest shots ever. It’s not even remotely supernatural…but surely it is a distilled, pure extract of the very stuff that nightmares are made of. The shot they use to symbolize sex is this…
Thankfully they continue after this shot to show the two people faking out (that’s my term for how Indian cinema treated passionate intimacy for a long time…it looks like they’re making out, but actually they’re just rubbing their noses over each other’s faces while making O-faces…kind of like cows nuzzling)…interspersed with shots of a raging fire in the fireplace. If that hadn’t happened, you would have assumed the worst and thought that Anjili (with that creepy weird spelling) was some sort of Succubus and Rajvansh has suffered the worst possible fate based on that shot.
So anyway, we get a few shots of the fireplace and faking out (maybe his shirt comes off in one of them, you’ll have to watch to find out) and then cut to the next morning when Rajvansh is strolling nervously while Anjili is crying on the bed. He tries to console her by saying that they have both committed a grievous wrong that cannot be righted.
And then of course since the only way to right the bad idea of sleeping with someone you’ve just met and hardly know is to top it with the worse idea of marrying someone you’ve just met and hardly know…that is exactly what Rajvansh does.
As it turns out, that’s not a very good decision…the sinister Satyen Kappu turns out to be Anjili’s uncle who had planned it all from the beginning. The goons were his men and he had instructed his niece to seduce Rajvansh by sleeping in his bed. We also find out that Anjili loves someone else called Anand.
Anjili and her mamaji start sucking as much money as they can out of the rich man they have ensnared. Sometime after this, as Rajvansh is out collecting more plants and herbs…lightning strikes again. A happy go lucky sort of girl is wandering about the hills singing a happy go lucky kind of song (something about becoming a bird and flying off) when she suddenly, unexpectedly falls into a stream of water that just happened to be in her path. Seriously, she’s literally dancing about singing one moment and down in the stream the next…it goes like this…
A normal person would stand there and laugh screaming “HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU NOT SEE A FUCKING STREAM RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES???” But not our Rajvansh…he immediately rescues the girl (Rajvansh 2, Goons 0, Stream 0) and takes her back to his haveli (if he didn’t have his plant samples and his chemistry lab set, I would have thought that his full time occupation was saving girls and bringing them to his haveli).
That girl turns out to be Meena (Pooja…who went on to star in, well nothing. Am I the only one noticing a pattern here?), Dhumal’s niece who works as a nurse in a nearby village. Her professional life soon goes the way of Rajvansh’s dead wife…it is never mentioned again. She starts living at the Haveli.
Rajvansh starts developing a tenderness for Meena, Anjili starts becoming jealous and unsatisfied and Rajvansh starts fighting with Anjili about her greedy mooching uncle. All this comes to a head in a huge fight where Anjili flat out says that she married him for the money (and because they had sex once). Rajvansh loses it, throws a lot of money at Satyen Kappu and rushes back to his lab where, unbeknownst to him, some of the boiling thick red liquid he had been creating had spilled over into his jug of water.
He does not notice this major spill of his ‘faarmula’ and in all his tension, he takes a drink of water from the jug. And turns into the Man-Bat! Nope. He just falls down like he’s had a heart attack.
Some crying and wailing happens and the Doctor is called. While Meena, who has no relation to Rajvansh (technically, she’s not even an employee/slave even though she calls him Maalik all the time) prays for his well being, his wife Anjili sits and reads a magazine (unfortunately, the print is not clear enough to recognize the exact book she’s reading. I had initially thought that it was a comic book like Lotpot ot Madhu Muskan, but on closer inspection it definitely seems to be one of those lurid pulp rags in Hindi…which is more in keeping with the theme of the film and the career of the Ramsay Brothers).
Even better is the reaction of her Mamaji, who openly sits around drinking with the safe. And when I say drinking with the safe, I mean he literally clinks a glass on the safe and says ‘Cheers’ to it.
Rajvansh finally regains consciousness. But as soon as he tries to walk, his legs give way under him…he can’t walk now. The doctor wants to hospitalize him, but Anjili makes flimsy excuses for not letting him go and insists that he be treated at home by a doctor of her choice. She reveals everything to her lover Anand and convinces him to pose as a doctor so that they can live together in the haveli. Her lover Anand is played by Imtiaz Khan, making his debut here a couple of years before his much better known brother became famous as Gabbar Singh. Imtiaz was never as successful as Amjad, but did do his fair share of films…quite a few of them with the Ramsays.
Loads of relationship drama shenanigans ensue until finally, after half the movie is over, Anjili and her uncle hatch a scheme to kill Rajvansh and things start veering into somewhat familiar Ramsay territory. Anjili uses her sexy charms to convince Anand to go along with their plan of killing her husband and stealing his money.
He finally agrees and then in a long, drawn out, cliché ridden sequence that goes on forever, Anand (aided by Anjili) kills him with a lethal injection. Things start getting creepy as they put him in a trunk and take him to a location where Mamaji working with the gravedigger we saw earlier has prepared a place to put Rajvansh to rest Two Yards Under the Ground (the film manages to avoid the expected speaking out of the title by a character…I couldn’t).
All sorts of weirdness now breaks loose, starting with the fact that they cannot locate the key of the safe (which contains all of Rajvansh’s money…because banks and investments are for stupid people who can’t do chemistry experiments). Of course they naturally assume that the key would be in the pocket of the corpse…so they exhume the body but still can’t find the key.
The key turns up in Mamaji’s pocket, sowing the seeds of dissension among the ‘villains’, but the safe is empty…except for lots of BLOOD! (DHEN TAN TAAAAN!)
They eventually discover Rajvansh’s diary that says that he has given all of his wealth to his servant Ramdas (Dhumal) for safekeeping because he suspected that his wife was up to something (thus giving a reason for Dhumal’s absence). It also said that his experiment had been successful…he had recreated the serum made by the American Zombie tribe (yes, this is exactly what it says) which can enable a soul to keep on animating its own corpse (again, this is exactly what it says).
Considering that this is a Ramsay brothers movie after all, we now know that the ‘Zombie’ is going to make some appearances in the film…he did have the red liquid!
In a way, this makes Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche India’s first Zombie film…but then again, apart from the word Zombie being used once and one corpse getting reanimated, it has none of the standard features of an actual Zombie film. In fact, even the word Zombie is used in a completely made up and wrong kind of way.
Anyway, things are set into motion when footsteps are heard and Rajvansh’s old bed is seen covered in grave dust…
Anjili now truly believes that Rajvansh is walking about, but the men laugh her fears away. Anand goes off in search of Ramdas and Anjili is alone at the haveli. And then finally, the creepiness goes up a couple of notches when for the first time in the film, the partially rotted reanimated corpse of Rajvansh makes an appearance.
Confronted by Acne’n’Hoodie here, Anjili does exactly what Bollywood women are supposed to do…she faints. And before you can even start thinking about where Mamaji is during all this, the directors answer your question with an item number with Mamaji drinking and watching Helen dance.
Yes, THE Helen. She’s dancing around to a forgettable song with Satyen Kappu in an uncredited appearance. (I also have a feeling that at least some of the other patrons of the bar in this song are Ramsay family members). Anyway as soon as the song is over, we go back to Anjili in the haveli, sleeping as if nothing had happened so far…and thus begins the most Ramsayesque sequence of the film.
Step 1: External Shot of the ‘Old Haveli’
Step 2: Weird Taste in Home Décor
Step 3: Strange Man in Weird Makeup
But that’s it. She wakes up freaked out, comes out into the balcony and sees him standing somewhere in the gardens. She screams at him to go away and the scene ends.
If you thought that was bizarre, things get even bizarrer after this as we cut to Mamaji sleeping alone in the bar we saw earlier. (Is this still the same day? Did Zombie Raj terrorize Anjili twice in the same night? In that case, after she ran out and fainted outside the first time, how did she end up back in bed again? Or is Mamaji generally found drunk in this bar at all hours and the song earlier was only establishing that? Nobody really knows the answer to any of these questions.)
As Mamaji sleeps, the bar starts filling up with smoke and the bottles and glasses start vibrating as if T-Rex is about to make an entrance. The lighting of the place changes to a hot pink tone and a strange looking hand reaches for Mama’s shoulder. He wakes up scared, but there’s no one there. He decides to have one more drink. But Zombie Raj spooks him again and then demolishes the whole bar! (While remaining unseen by Mamaji the whole time.)
And now the bizarrest thing happens…we see Mamaji watching Meena bathing at a stream.
And he decides to rape her. How this scene follows from the one preceding it seems to be amazingly stupid at first glance, but if you really think about it…maybe Satyen’s character suddenly came face to face with his own mortality in his drunken encounter with the supernatural, which made him want to make the most of the moment and the moment happened to present him with a half clad young woman…No. It’s just stupid.
Of course pious, God-fearing, Swami-bhakt Meena can’t be raped so she is saved by the appearance of Zombie Raj, who scares Mamaji into falling off a hill.
As we move towards the climax, Anand returns, Dhumal doesn’t and Zombie Raj makes another appearance. Will Rajvansh’s reanimated corpse (aka Zombie Raj) exact its revenge upon those who wronged him? Will Anjili and Anand’s illicit relationship survive the challenges thrown up by the supernatural? Will their greed be their undoing? Is there anything supernatural at all or will it all be explained away at the end in a mundane anti-climactic twist?
Whatever the answer might be to these questions (you can watch the film if you really want to know), there is one thing for sure…it is not a very satisfactory experience for the fans of the cheesy campy B Horror Ramsay Brothers brand of film. The brothers have not yet found their groove. They are only beginning to experiment (sort of half-heartedly) with the genre and the tropes that would make them successful. None of their usual trademarks have yet been formed…the comedy track is virtually non-existent, the sound cues are not yet established, the stuffed animals and typical Ramsay atmosphere is also missing (even in the parts which are horror). There are some glimpses and flashes in the film of what would eventually become the Ramsay style. It is of interest only to the hardcore Ramsay fan…because it marks the beginning of the long Ramsay Brothers saga.