Woh Kaun Thi?
India 1964
Directed by Raj Khosla.

An Indian ghost story in the Scooby Doo mode. Dr. Anand (Manoj Kumar) is about to get a huge inheritance, if he is sane. Naturally, at about that time, he meets a ghost (Sadhana), his fiance (Helen) is murdered, and he slowly becomes decidedly unhinged. The key word is "slowly." While the initial build up is both suspenseful and entertaining, the movie begins to repeat itself after that point and never moves forward to the resolution until about ten minutes till the end of the picture. The inheritance, mentioned early, is completely dropped, as if no one cares much about it. It's the obvious motive driving him insane, but the filmmakers apparently thought audiences wouldn't put it together. Dr. Anand makes multiple trips to a creaky haunted house, and of course there is the usual haunting melody which leads him out of his home to follow the mysterious beautiful ghost (the same device appears in every Indian ghost movie). The haunting song, Naina Barse, is good but alas reprised endlessly. With his fiance dead, Dr. Anand agrees to marry someone else for his mother's sake, but his new wife turns out to look just like the ghost he keeps seeing. Finally, he gives up and goes ice skating for a while, before that haunting song traps him yet again. Effectively shot in black & white, except scenes in the abovementioned haunted house, which are much too dark. WOH KAUN THI was a hit, a rare big budget supernatural thriller, and led to another Manoj Kumar supernatural thriller, GUMNAAM, splashing out in color the following year.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on January 09, 2005.

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