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Macchar does a Gabbar

Ramsay’s ‘Sholay’ inspired horror film is a scream

Mayur Lookhar

India’s low budget horror films are always unintentionally funny. But the 1984 hit ‘Purana Mandir’ is a hoot. Because Brothers Ramsay have deliberately missed the jugular to bite into the funny bone.

‘Purana Mandir’ stars Mohnish Behl and Puneet Issar in leading roles. And has three giants of Indian cinema: Jagdeep, Rajendra Nath and Lalita Pawar.

Long before Hollywood killed it with the ‘Scary Movie’ comedy franchise, JK Ahuja and Kumar Ramsay scripted this hilarious spoof of the 1975 blockbuster ‘Sholay'.

Jagdeep plays Gabbar Singh as Macchar Singh; Rajendra Nath plays Thakur as Thakur Murdaar Singh, and Lalita Pawar played Basanti. Interestingly, Lalita Pawar is no village belle here. She was 68 then and played her age.

Unlike Gabbar, Macchar Singh is the dacoit leader of an Indian tribe. He has not only chopped off Thakur Murdaar Singh’s arms, but he’s twice outraged 70-year-old Basanti’s modesty.

The dacoit tribe captures a poor village girl who’s rescued by Puneet Issar’s character. What follows next is a hilarious take on the classic 'kitney aadmi thay’ scene. 

Macchar just can’t get enough of Basanti, so he’s out on his Sambha (horse) to hunt for his beloved. But he is soon captured by Issar, who hands him over to Murdaar Singh.

What transpires next will have you rolling on the floor with laughter…


After being handed over to Thakur, Macchar is set be hanged but is saved by Issar, who plots to recapture him and reap the bounty money once again. (Sorry Mr Eastwood, that good, bad and ugly trick is commonplace now).

Well, the bounty money has been increased and the punishment worsened. Macchar will not be hanged this time round but be locked in a cage with a bear.

As the poor bear turns out to be no match for the cunning mosquito; Macchar escapes yet again. This ‘Sholay’eventually ends with the Thakur proposing to Basanti.


‘Purana Mandir’is a horror film that can kill you with mirth. Beware.