Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 24th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: India, 1988 (Veerana), India, 1989 (Purani Haveli)
Directors: Tulsi Ramsay, Shyam Ramsay
Cast: Hemant Birje, Jasmin, Sahila Chaddha, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Satish Shah, Vijayendra Ghatge, Gulshan Grove, Rama Vij, Rajesh Vivek (Veerana), Deepak Parashar, Amita Nangia, Shubha, Tej Sapru, Sikandar, Priti Sapru, Anil Dhawan (Purani Haveli)
DVD released: March 31st, 2009
Approximate running time: 145 minutes (Veerana), 149 minutes (Purani Haveli)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Hindi
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
Even though there is a reference to vampires in the film’s title “Veerana – Vengeance of the Vampire”, the film features no vampires. At the core of the story is a riveting tale about possession that gradually builds the impending terror with its baroque visuals and the mesmerizing performance via its lead actress Jasmin (which also happens to be the name of the character she plays). It is shame that this appears to be her only film, since she definitely has a strong visual presence. The film’s greatest asset is without a doubt its lead actresses piercing eyes.
Visually this film is a tour de force of style and atmosphere in which each new revelation being more outlandish than the last. One of the film’s standout moments is a scene where an adolescent Jasmin is in her room on a swing and her mother is in the background. Her mother has figured out that all is not well with her daughter. The juxtaposition of the two characters in this scene further intensifies the impending danger.
Purani Haveli – Mansion of Evil: A young woman named Anita whose parents left her an inheritance is being raised by an uncle whose wife plots to steal her fortune. Anita and her friends decide to spend the weekend at the mansion in the country that her uncle recently bought with her money. What starts off as a trip for pleasure quickly turns into a weekend of terror!
Purani Haveli – Mansion of Evil is equal parts horror and comedy film. The film loses its momentum every time it shifts from horror to comedy. Also the bulk of the comedy scenes are a secondary plot that feels more like padding than actually adding any substance to the film’s main plot about a young woman with a sizable inheritance and the cursed mansion in which the bulk of the story takes place. The film’s pacing doesn’t help things out as the film just meanders along until its bizarre ending. If you have the patience to make it tell the film’s finale, than you are in for an extraordinary conclusion. Unlike Jasmin in Veerana – Vengeance of the Vampire, Amita Nangia the lead actress for Purani Haveli –Mansion of Evil lacks charisma and any depth in her portrayal.
Veerana – Vengeance of the Vampire and Purani Haveli – Mansion of Evil were both directed by Tulsi Ramsay and Shyam Ramsay who also directed Purana Mandir and Bandh Darwaza. From a technical stand point both films are beautifully photographed. Performance wise outside of Jasmin in Veerana –Vengeance of the Vampire none of the performances really standout. Also both film’s feature pulsating scores that help drive home the building tension.
Overall Veerana – Vengeance of the Vampire is a well made horror film while Purani Haveli – Mansion of Evil is a convoluted story that never fully realizes it’s potential.
Mondo Macabro presents Veerana – Vengeance of the Vampire and Purani Haveli – Mansion of Evil in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratios. Both films have some mild print damage and edge enhancement while noticeable is never too distracting. Colors and flesh tones fare well for both films. Also the image for both transfers look crisp with only a few instances where things look too soft.
Both films’s come with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Hindi and removable English subtitles have been included. Outside of some mild instances of distortion both audio mixes fare well as dialog is clear and easy to follow.
Extras include trailers and text pieces about each film that were written by Pete Tombs. Rounding out the extras is the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release.
Overall Bollywood Horror Collection Volume 2 is another strong release from Mondo Macabro.