I have been a fan of Murder mystery films from a long time and make it a point to watch as many whodunits as possible.With such a penchant for this genre of films, it is no wonder that I thought about writing a post listing 20 of such favourite Hindi films starting from 1960s till now..
This is based on my likes only and your own may vary..Please comment if you like to add some more..
In any case you may like to catch up with these movies if you have not watched some..
So here it goes....in descending order of ranking from 20 to 1....
20. Jangal mein Mangal (1971):
The movie starts with the a group of College students ( Kiran Kumar, Reena roy play the lead) getting romantic in a jungle camp, despite the strict forbidding wardens played by Pran and Sonia Sahni..Things go bump in the night and a ghostly creature wreaks havoc and murder..Who or what is it.?.This film was a cult hit then, popular among the younger generation what with its hit songs and romance .... but somewhere in the end the plot comes unstuck and loses grip, meanders into a usual masala film climax…...which explains why it got the last rank...( Tum Ktni khoobsoorat ho... being a memorable song from this oldie!)
19. Gupt (1997):
Rajiv rai's thriller starring Bobby Deol, Manisha Koirala and Kajol is an interesting premise about a jealous suitor and the mania it induces which has homicidal consequences.
Well kept suspense till the end, Good music and tight screenplay with the lead trio putting in professional performances made it a worthwhile watch...
18 . Anamika(1973):
This tells the tale of a mysterious woman played by Jaya Bhaduri who comes to the shelter of a woman-hating author Sanjeev Kumar , the story takes many interesting turns and then a surprise mystery solved in the end…Well known hit songs ( Meri bheegi bheegi si and Baahon mein chali aao ) and tight screenplay makes it worthwhile on a rainy day!
In his pre superstar era (1970) , Amitabh Bachchan plays a jilted lover to Yogita bali who falls for handsome Navin Nischol..Is all fair in love and murder?...Many have motives, but who is the real culprit?…Excellent premise of schematic murder that comes unstuck in the end...Referenced in the recent movie, Johnny Gaddar!..A couple of unforgettable songs too.( Simti si sharmaayeesi, Yoo na sharma phailaade)
Amitabh bachchan’s towering presence, Pretty Parveen babi, mysterious fatal disease dogging the hero and a murder and ransom case. Add to this: Tight car chase scenes and well handled suspense of the killer’s identity makes it all watchable repeatedly, the movie has some hummable numbers (Nahin main nahin dekh sakta, Roote rab ko and Aadmi jo kehta hain)
15. Mahal (1969):
Dev Anand and Asha parekh star in this long winded story of impersonation and murder of a rich old man in a palatial bungalow and hero is framed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.. Wait till the end to find out the truth on what transpired…Good performances, storyline and being a typical Dev Anand film and its share of popular hit songs!( Ankhon ankhon mein hum tum and Yeh duniyaawaale poochenge)
B R Chopra's hit thriller...Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar and Vimi ( the ill fated actress who died penniless in real life) star in this musical murder mystery which is quite an edge of the seat stuff...Superbly handled plot , suspense and music in heady mix makes it a favourite ( Nile gagan ke tale, Na Mooh chupaake and kisi paththar ke moorat se etc are hummable even today)
This is a late sixties offering starring a stylish Dev Anand and beautiful Vyjayanthimala. It has a solid multi layered suspenseful story of a homicide tried in a court of law, excellent courtroom showdown between Balraj Sahni and Dev Anand , hit music and pleasing photography…A little slow in the first half but a good humdinger watch nevertheless! ( Dooriyan nazdikiyaan is still popular today)
12. Khel Khel mein(1975):
Rishi Kapoor and Neetu singh with Rakesh Roshan star in this popular musical murder mystery of a college students’ prank going awfully wrong....The screenplay, the hit music, the chemistry between the lead pair and well-kept suspense all make this a heady concoction..
( Ek main aur ek tu… and khullam khullaa pyaar)
This is a very thrilling and professionally produced movie staring Sushmita Sen as a female Police Officer in a rare role for a heroine . Everything about the investigation and killer’s identity is kept under control, and yet the last few scenes come off too timidly and leaves a a bad taste in the mouth..., It had a lot going for it but somehow it leaves this mystery film in the 11th position and not any higher.
This movie set in an offbeat mode by Directors Aruna-Vikas tells the story of an office colleague’s murder which raises the hero’s wife’s suspicions convincing her that he had a hidden role in it and that rocks their marriage…But what’s the truth?…A strong and silent Vinod Khanna teams up with talented Shabana Azmi in this gripping thriller.
9. Buddha mil gayaa(1971):
Known more as a comedy caper starring the veteran Omprakash as the runaway old man, it is actually a riveting murder mystery in which two out- of- work Photographers( Navin Nischol and Deven Verma) get embroiled in several murders taking place one after another.....
They are at their wits’ end, trying to unravel the mystery.. Good hit songs by Kishore-RD Burman combo.
Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s only brush with thrillers!
( Raat kali ek khwab mein aayee among the hit songs)
8. Kab, Kyoon aur Kahan?:(1970)
Dharmendra plays a suave CID Officer who romances Babita on board a ship and slowly we get to the plot which involves Babita’s dad who dies under mysterious circumstances leaving behind a huge “ jaaydaad” and an evil looking uncle Pran who is after it and her.. Nothing is at seems as the sinister plot unfolds and our innocent heroine is under threat of losing her sanity and perhaps her life too.. Unless of course the hero manages to unravel the mystery and save them all...A dash of horror makes it more pulse-pounding...
7. Shikar (1968):
Dharmendra and Asha Parekh star in this late sixties Murder mystery set in a jungle resort in which both the police and villains are after the heroine who has amnesia, suspected to have killed the villain, and an innocent hero rushes to her rescue. Good screenplay, nice songs and a very satisfying film…
A classic whodunit in a mystery island where the characters get bumped off one after another and each suspects the other ; all the while a ghost song repeatedly plays near the bungalow...what’s really happening here?...Manoj Kumar, Nanda, Pran and Helen star in this golden oldie mystery thriller. ( Title song and Hum kaale hai to kya huva)
5. Teesri Manzil(1966):
This was a tie for the fourth place..It’s a great entertaining movie with hyper-energetic Shammi kapoor, pretty Asha parekh, glorious RD Burman songs and an excellent murder mystery that keeps you glued till the last scene…
Director Vijay Anand’s best work in the era and total paisa-vasool !
( Aajaa aajaa and deewaana mujh saa nahin and a host of others in the hit album.)
Again BR Chopra, the maverick is back with a chilling mystery starring Danny, Zeenat Aman and Navin Nischol , where on a foggy night the woman is ostensibly is shown to have killed her sadistic hubby, and a stranger has a car breakdown and enters the home at the same time to rescue her…..But what is the truth? Excellent cinematography and tight screenplay, and the mist creating an eerie feel throughout. A worthy watch to see how nicely everything falls into place at the end.
Rajesh Khanna and Nanda star in this 1970s songless BR Chopra mystery about a Mental patient cum murderer on the loose and a lonely woman at her bungalow on a rainy night where they find a corpse…Excellent eerie ambience and tight screenplay…Must watch to find out who is behind it all..This is a gem of a movie starring the superstar in a role few would have chosen in their hey days..Rajesh Khanna and the story makes it worthwhile...
Vidhu Vinod chopra was good at his work and here he is at his professional best as the Director of a chilling serial murder mystery which takes place in the sylvan Kashmir setting amongst a film crew out on outdoor shooting.
Good solid performances from Nasiruddin shah, Shabana Azmi , Amol Palekar and Pankaj Kapur. The last minute revelation and a shocker of a climax are the high points in this thriller.
This classic is like the definition of a murder mystery. Ashok Kumar and Rajendra Kumar lock horns as Judge and Lawyer in ‘whodunit’ case in the courtroom with a layered plot… Shot in B&W, with no songs and other common distractions, B R Chopra manages to bring out the best from the thespian artistes and make you glued to your seats till the final dénouement.
A thinking man's mystery far ahead of its time...
Now over to you, readers...!