Thursday, 1 January 1970

Shikar 1968, Dharmendra, Asha Parekh, Sanjeev Kumar

Movie: Shikar (1968)
Actors: Dharmendra, Asha Parekh, Sanjeev Kumar, Ramesh Deo, Rehman, Helen, Johnny Walker
Director: Atmaram
Screenplay: Abrar Alvi, Dhruva Chatterjee
Music Shankar Jaikishan
Lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
Songs: Parde me rehne do lyrics, 

The movie opens at Timli Forest Estate with a man eating tiger that is on the loose and attacks a tribal woman. Interestingly, Timli Forest Estate is a real place on the order of Uttar Pradesh, current Uttarakhand and close to Himachal Pradesh too. They run to forest officers, Ajay Singh (Dharmendra) and Naresh (Ramesh Deo) who happen to be passing by. They chase the tiger and kill it.

(In retrospect, this move seems too harsh but different times. Also at one point Naresh suggests that they should start clearing out more part of the forest, to which Dharmendra says, that the hunters enjoy hunting which is a good source of income for the estate.

Characters are established beautifully. Hindi movies have the habit of typecasting actors which essentially gives away the plot. But Ramesh Deo is one of the actors who was not typecast and this has been used well here. And also Helen's vamp image adds well to the twist.)

At Naresh's office, Vira (Helen) is seen rummaging through some papers before Ajay and Naresh enter the cabin. Naresh reveals that living in the forest makes him worry about his life and so he has already signed his will and has nominated his aunt as the owner of the forest estate. He also reveals that he used to live in the African jungles before coming here, and in case of his death Ajay will continue to be the manager of the estate. As they go about their day, Naresh and his secretary, Nina, seem to be vigilant about Vira's actions who continues to move a number of papers here and there.

Later, as there is a celebration going on amongst the tribals for the killing of the tiger, Ajay lazes around in his room and as he is watching the rain outside he sees that a jeep rams onto a shed and a girl (Asha) is tossed out of it. He runs towards the scene. After bringing the girl to his home he tries to revive her. He tries to check her pulse and removes her bracelet in the attempt. The girl gets up and faints again. Ajay places her under the observation of his help, Teju (Johnny Walker) and goes to seek help.

As Ajay runs around the colony searching for some help, he instead finds Naresh has been shot and a pistol lying next to it. As Ajay leaves in his jeep a handkerchief is seen lying in the mud. An unseen man watches Ajay leave in his jeep, he comes to the place of incident and takes away the pistol.

Police Inspector Rai (Sanjeev Kumar) examines the situation and find two tracks leading away from the crime scene, one with men's shoes and the other likely made by high heeled sandals. Rai finds a mis-shot bullet in the wall and Ajay informs Rai that Naresh has two of the .32 pistols resembling the one found at the crime scene. They also find a red rose lying on the floor. The few suspects (Keshto Mukherjee) are found to be absent as they are at the tribal celebrations during the night.

As they are gathering other material at the scene, such as the handkerchief, Ajay informs Rai about the girl-tossed-from-the-jeep incident. Rai says they need to talk to the girl. But as they drive to Ajay's place, they find that both the jeep and the girl are missing and there is no proof that any of this has happened. Teju, who is the only other witness cannot be found at the moment. Rai says needs some solid evidence and none that could be attributed to imagination. As Rai leaves Ajay finds some ash that has dropped from a cigar.

As the tribal leader's daughter, Mahua, flirts with a clueless Teju, Ajay comes and asks Teju how the girl disappeared. Teju informs him that he was catching a few winks and did not know when that turned into a slumber. As Mahua is running away from this confrontation, she finds the purse that fell out of the girl's hands earlier.

Ajay goes to the lawyer Satyamurthy to discuss Naresh's death. The lawyer informs him that some guy named Ranveer Singh had hired the place for hunting for an entire month at a good price. Ajay asserts the action and asks about Naresh's will. The lawyer says that as soon as the criminal is found the will can be put to use. He then invites Ajay for a concert. At the concert Ajay finds that the dancer is the same girl whom he had found injured by the jeep accident.

After the concert, Ajay asks the lawyer if he knows the girl. The lawyer tells him, she is the daughter of retired Police Commisioner Sharma's (Rehman) daughter who dances only at charity shows to help the orphanage.

Ajay chases the girl to her home and tells her that he has been searching for her. But when he confronts her, she says she remembers nothing of any accident or she being at Ajay's home. He then says if she is denying ever even meeting him then may be she is involved in the murder. When he is trying to make her recall the events. Her father walks in and says that he was with his daughter on the mentioned day, and he is very protective of his daughter and wouldn't let his daughter drive recklessly around forests at night.

Still unconvinced, Ajay goes to Inspector Rai and tells him that he thinks there is a chance that Commissioner Sharma's daughter, Kiran, may be involved in the murder. But Rai says that Kiran was at an event at the police quarters on the day of the murder and shows a picture of Kiran as proof. Rai also informs him that it is likely that Naresh was murdered with his own pistol.

Ajay takes the picture given by Rai and mails it to Kiran saying that he has evidence that there indeed is a girl who looks like her. And if she could visit him at the estate it would help clear things up. Kiran comes to the estate and Ajay tells her that her being there was an evidence of her innocence. However, Kiran is upset at being tricked like this and refuses the friendship that Ajay offers her.

But Ajay convinces her and they go around the forest for a tour. As they are roaming about an elephant goes wild and Ajay saves Kiran's life by taming the elephant.

Mahua shows off the silver purse to Teju, and he find a letter addressed to Naresh by Vira.

Vira hands Ajay the resignation from his secretary, Nina, and flirts with him about how there was a girl at his home. But Ajay finds this uncharacteristic of Vira and knows that she is digging for some info. Vira asks him if he had checked her purse to find her identity. Just then a man walks and introduces himself as a Ranveer Singh (Manmohan) who will be staying there for hunting for a month. Although they act like strangers in front of Ajay, Vira and Ranveer know each other. Ranveer demonstrates how is very skilled at forgery by imitating Ajay's signature. He asks Vira for Naresh's signature to grab his estate, but Vira refuses to help.

At the police station, Rai tries to search for evidence and cleans the handkerchief to find a monogrammed V on it. He immediately suspects Vira and goes to search her home for the set of handkerchieves. Despite finding no evidence Rai arrests Vira under suspicion.

When Ajay comes to the police station, Rai tells him that an aged lady, Vimla Devi, has surrendered herself as the murderer. The woman claims to have come from Africa less than a week before the murder. She says that Naresh was bothering his niece, whom she had raised as her own daughter. When Ajay and Rai visit her cell, the woman appears too docile and so they have a hard time believing her.

Rai continues to question Vimladevi but she doesn't tell the identity of the niece, or where she had hidden the pistol. She however shows him that she is the person with the high heeled sandals as she was wearing them still.

In the meanwhile, Ajay and Kiran pursue their romance, despite being warned against it by her father, Sharma. Sharma finds them singing-songs-around-the-trees and chastises Kiran. Later, Sharma calls up Rai about an update on the case.

Vira finds Ranbeer or Robbie trying to steal papers from Naresh's office. Ajay finds Vira strugging with Robbie and beats him up. But Vira stops him. Robbie then takes the paper to lawyer Satyamurthy and claims that he has Naresh's will which names Vira as the claimant of the property. Robbie bribes Satyamurthy and eventually convinces him to accept the Will as authentic despite the lawyer having figured out that the Will is forged.

Here Commissioner Sharma is found calling up the fingerprint expert and is surprised about the findings. He says he would collect them himself from Delhi. Kiran overhears all this and becomes suspicious.

Rai releases Vimladevi but holds her passport.

Teju and Mahua find a pistol hanging by the tree.

Kiran meets Ajay despite her father's disapproval. As they are coming back, Ajay finds Vira rummaging through his cupboard. But when Ajay finds her, she starts flirting with him. Kiran comes in and sees this, gets upset and starts to leave, and Ajay runs behind her to convince her.

Teju gets married to Mahua in a ceremony where becomes part of Mahua's community. As the celebration of Teju and Mahua's wedding go on, Kiran, who is at Ajay's home, becomes very disturbed when she hears the tribal music.

As Ajay drops Kiran off at her home, he is confronted with her father. Sharma is upset about their relationship and asks Ajay for her intention. Ajay says that his intentions are honourable. However, Ajay notes that he had found ash from a similar cigar at the day of Naresh's murder.

While Ajay is leaving, Rai comes to Sharma's home. Rai hands him an empty envelope and asks if he knows anything about the letter. Sharma says he had written the letter inviting Naresh to a club party. But Rai argues why he had denied having ever known Naresh.Rai says that all evidence points towards Sharma and his daughter being involved in the murder.

Ajay confronts lawyer Satyamurthy about the status of the Will and why Vira is claiming it. In a light tussle the lawyer names Ranbeer Singh to have forced him to accept the fraudulent Will. At the forest clearing where Robbie is celebrating the impending Will's success Vira protests against Robbie for having done the fraud. Ajay takes out the letter from the silver purse, Robbie follows him and grabs the purse and takes it to Vira. Vira opens the purse to see that the purse no longer contains the letter.

Teju tells Ajay that he needs some bullets to show off his bravery. When Ajay questions him how he would use the bullet, Teju shows Ajay the pistol he had found on the tree. Ajay meets Sharma and shows him the letter that was written by Vira to Naresh, and asks him if the bag belongs to Kiran. He implores Sharma to tell the truth.And Sharma tells him the incident, (not shown on screen). Ajay tells him that he has hatched a plan that can help them catch the culprit red-handed.

Robbie forces Lawyer Satyamurthy to work out the Will but Satyamurthy says he doesn't want to take the risk as Ajay knows the facts and they could get in trouble. Robbie says he will create trouble for Ajay instead.

Ajay takes Kiran to the tribal festival. While Kiran participates in the dance, Ajay sees some visible anxiety in her as the music plays. Ajay remembers something similar had happened on the day he had her found her in the jeep accident. After she faints during the dance, Ajay asks Teju and Mahua to continue the dance and music and takes Kiran to the house that belonged to Naresh. Even in these surroundings she becomes more tense. And when Ajay tries to calm her, she starts screaming that she doesn't want to marry Naresh. When Ajay calms her down and tells her that he had recreated the scene as they had transpired the night of the murder. And that Kiran had repressed the memories as they were too traumatic for her. Ajay asks Kiran to remember.

Kiran tries to recall the events of the night as they transpired. She says she remembers being at the party and her father insisting that she should marry Naresh, and that Kiran refused to accept this as she believed Naresh to be of questionable character. Kiran vows to find out the truth there and then and leaves the place to go to Naresh's place. At his place, she doesn't find anyone at home and as she is about to leave, she finds a letter written by Vira to Naresh where she says she has been abusing her with his promise of marriage and she is aware that he plans to marry the commissioner's daughter. Just then she hears someone coming. It is Naresh who is dropped by some woman. As Naresh comes in Kiran confronts him about the woman, but Naresh who is drunk tries to force himself on her.

As they struggle in the dark, two shots are heard. During the second shot Naresh falls down. Kiran says that she did shoot Naresh and that she is ready to face the consequence, and as Ajay consoles her, someone shoots at them. Ajay finds out that it is Robbie and he shuts down the lights of the place.

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