The Merits of Sin: Kafan (1990) (India)

It’s 1990, it’s India and things are about to get rowdy. Cheap violence realized by cheaper special effects and some cheeky naughtiness are offered up along with the usual suspects of dance numbers and comic relief. You’re either into South Asian horror flicks or you’re not. That middle ground doesn’t exist here. At two plus hours, there’s just no room for it.

Yes. I’m into it.

When the black magic practicing holy man in their employ promises immortality in exchange for a virgin, a group of four shit-heel men folk are happy to oblige. Under the leadership of the head prick, Robert, two of the group go to collect. Because these are awful human beings, they just can’t keep it in their pants and they rape the poor girl. Thinking it won’t matter, they deliver the girl to the evil magician and he goes about with the sacrifice. That proves to be a big mistake. The wronged woman comes back as a pissed off evil spirit and starts working on her vengeance.

Get ‘em grrrrl

Universal justice would play out as it should if it weren’t for a pretty medium named Neelam caught up in the awful business. She has been seeing visions of the murders taking place and attempts to alert her police detective boyfriend, Shekar, to the oncoming massacre. At first he treats her as any level headed human would when told that an evil spirit is killing off a bunch of strangers but as her intuitions prove to be chillingly correct, Shekar comes around and begins to take Neelam’s claims seriously.

Clean as a whistle and visions of evil

Looking to rid herself of her connection to this evil force, Neelam asks for help from an inexperienced professor. Hesitant as first, he finally agrees to assist her in an exorcism. It seems to be a complete success up until poor Neelam is possessed by the spirit and goes on to finish off the still living pieces of crap that brought about the shit storm. You bet your ass it will all come to a close with a battle between good and evil for Neelam’s soul.

At least not in this neck of the woods

While all this is going on there is a “comic” subplot involving another police officer named Badam (Bollywood staple Johney Lever) and his attempt to win the affections of a young lady. He summons a ghost to aid him but the horny female ghost ends up being more of nuisance than anything. This story has nothing to do with the main plot (except for some tenuous setup) and involves a colossally craptastic fight scene with the best awful choreography I’ve seen. So…enjoy?

Horny ghost problems

Kafan is exactly what I’m looking for in my South Asian cinema. Cheapjack effects, a handful of toe tapping songs and a jumbled story structure. When I barely notice something is going on for two hours, all signs point to a good old time. There’s a climatic chase through an out of nowhere concert involving dancers and musicians in cheap monster masks. The opening black mass has music and audio from Predator (including Bill Duke saying “Anytime”) and ends with a slaughter. There’s a whole bunch going on in this flick including (but not limited to) the aforementioned insanity, flying stuffed animals and dinnerware, floating heads and exploding fat men and who could forget animated magic electricity shooting out of our demonic princess. Head on over to and snatch it up. 9/10


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