Papi Gudia (The Sinful Doll) 1996
Dir: Lawrence D’Souza
Cast: Avinash Wadhavan, Karisma Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor, Master Amar, Tinnu Anand, Mohan Joshi, Subhiraj, and friendly appearance by Poonam Das Gupta.
For months children have been vanishing from town without a trace and the policewala have not a clue as to the reason why. The perp turns out to be the dread-lock headed, black cloak wearing Charandas (Shakti Kapoor) who is sacrificing little kiddies in order to complete his black magic ritual.
Charandas and his similarly attired assistant snatch a boy from a park but are confronted by an old beggar woman who witnesses the crime in progress.
The two kidnappers get away with their victim, but when Charandas’ co-conspirator gets panicky, Charandas offs him with a knife to the gut
Beggar woman informs the local constabulary of the incident and quick as you can say “donut hole” Inspector Yadav (Tinnu Anand) is on the case.
Meanwhile, Charandas scouts potential new victims at the local school talent show. No doubt the audience is wishing he’d swipe them all.
The madman chooses Raju (Master Amar), nabs the youngster and takes off. Yadav spots Charandas, who drops the child and flees. Yadav gives chase, cornering our bad guy in the toy section of Green Card Department Store. The officer takes aim at Charandas who, badly wounded, tumbles into a display of “Angel Dolls.” Before expiring he grabs this Hindustani version of Chatty Cathy and causes his evil soul to posses the gudia.
Charandas then dies and the store explodes!!??
Little Raju is reunited with older sister Karisma (Karisma Kapoor) who works as an entertainer at the local disco. Of course she lets it be known to everyone that she only dances for a living because she and her brother are orphans and she is their sole support and don’t anyone get the idea that she isn’t chaste and innocent! Whew!Fortunately for the viewers, this “unsuitable” employment allows for some boss disco numbers.
Just as things are settling down Karisma’s agent informs her of an opportunity for an evening performance out of town which will earn her mucho paisa. She gets her friend Mona to agree to watch her baby brother, but Raju, for reasons unknown, is not crazy about the idea and has a minor fit.
In order to get the little brat to agree to let Mona sit with him, Karisma bribes Raju with a shopping trip. The siblings come across an outdoor vendor selling toys and Raju, having nixed the guns and other macho novelties that the seller has shown them, sets his eyes on an Angel Doll.
Karisma is the progressive type however, and despite Raju being a ten year old boy she allows the purchase, though not without a few jabs at the kid’s self esteem.
Ok sis, give it a rest! Do you want to be paying for that kid’s counseling for the rest of you life?
That night, while executing her babysitting duties, sweet friend Mona quickly turns into a harpy.
Mona sends Raju and his little plastic pal (who we have found out is named Channi) off to bed. Later, while in the kitchen alone, Mona hears tiny little footsteps sneaking up behind her and the next thing you know she is taking a header out the window of Karisma’s high rise apartment.
Karisma returns home from work only find her abode invaded by the authorities, as led by the dashing Inspector Vijay Saxena (Avinash Wadhavan).
She learns that Raju is safe, but that Mona is splattered all over the sidewalk below. Innocent faced Raju then explains very matter-of-factly why Mona had to die….
The police leave the crime scene with a minimum of evidence, but that is Ok since Inspector Vijay seems to be much more interested in Karisma then in fighting crime, and he later fantasizes about the two of them dancing around trees and flowers and shrubs.
Then, he dreams of inviting her over to meet his pop who, in true filmi fashion, snubs the girl because she dances for a living. As it turns out much later in the film, this episode was not just a dream, but a back story. I have to admit that as a viewer I had no clue that this was the case. At the time, I just presumed it to be Vijay thinking about what his father would likely do upon meeting a potential daughter-in-law who dances for pay. I had no idea that this was an actual incident from earlier in the lives of these characters. Maybe it was bad editing, or maybe we just weren’t supposed to know at this point that the two had once been lovers, but the delay in letting the audience in on this bit of information seemed to serve no purpose. When you do evantually find out that Vijay and Karisma had previously shared a relationship it is only because this fact is mentioned very nonchalantly during the movie’s second half, and then never again.
Anyway, while Vijay is reflecting on his lost love, and Karisma is out earning a day’s dishonorable pay, our Raju is becoming increasingly obsessed with his scary toy.
He begins to take Channi doll everywhere, even to school. Soon the two are bunking class and taking a bus to another side of town where Channi disappears while Raju is relieving himself behind a truck. The devil doll makes a quick trip down the street to the home of Inspector Yadav (who, by the way, had made it safely out of the earlier exploding store), and soon another victim has been dispatched to heaven.
Before long there is another grisly murder, this time it’s the old beggar woman who is crushed by Karisma’s stolen car (yes, the doll drives). Everyone (except Raju) begins to wonder just what the heck is going on.
While Raju is being held for observation, Karisma discovers that Channi’s batteries are still in the box the doll had been packaged in and had never been installed into the talking toy at all. She confronts Channi and is promptly attacked by him. Karisma flees to the police station and relays the story to a disbelieving Vijay. Not able to convince her ex that the doll is alive she heads to the local slums to find the vendor who sold it to her, hoping that he can shed some light. Vijay follows and arrives just in time to rescue Karisma from a bunch of gundas by using some unusually impressive fight choreography. Karisma’s chastity remains intact and the seller is found and informs that the doll was from the stock of the destroyed Green Card store, the same store where Raju’s would-be killer had died. Karisma believes that somehow the murders are connected to this doll and to the dead child killer, and when the inspector himself is attacked by Channi (we now learn that this is short for Chandaras), he comes to the same conclusion.
The two former love birds seek out the lair of guru Raghavan (Mohan Joshi) who had years ago taught Charandas the ways of Black Magic, but Channi doll gets there first….
….and discovers from his old teacher that he (Charandas) can leave the doll’s body only if his soul takes possession of moppet Raju. Vijay arrives at the cave and discovers the guru badly wounded (the doll didn’t like him, either).
Raghavan dies, but not before informing Vijay that the doll actually has a human heart and can indeed be killed, but that it must be destroyed before Raju becomes possessed
Will Vijay be able to save the day and foil Charanda’s wicked plan?
Will Karisma stop her sparkly spandex wearing ways and settle down with a legitimate 9 to 5?
Will Raju start to play with boy’s toys and avoid becoming a girly-man?
See PAPI GUDIA to find out..
If you haven’t figured it out by now, PAPI GUDIA is almost a scene for scene duplicate of the very successful 1988 American horror film CHILD’S PLAY (And PAPI GUDIA was not alone, nor was it the first, there is at least one other Bollywood version of the Chucky movie, titled KHILONA BANA KHALNAYAK made in 1995).
PAPI GUDIA is not as technically smooth as CHILD’S PLAY, and certainly not as frightening, but it does have musical numbers, and with a bowl of popcorn in your lap and your favorite pet by your side, it is a good time pass.
Channi sort of reminds me more of THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s “Talking Tina” then of the creepy looking Chucky doll, and if India ever decides to remake Papi Gudia I think my childhood clown doll would be a much better fit for the lead role. He is certainly scary and and I am pretty sure that he could kick ”Angel Doll”‘ butt!