Monday, November 28, 2011
The use of special effects in Indian films was one of the many things pioneered by producer/director D.G. Pahlke, who employed primitive optical effects to depict fantastical scenes from the Hindu religious epics during the early silent era. These techniques were further explored in the coming years by adventurous technicians like Babubhai Mistry, who used them not only in the production of mythologicals, but also in “Arabian Nights” style fantasy films and Italian Peplum inspired stunt films like Dara Singh’s King Kong.
Hawa Mahal or Magic Carpet, Khufia Mahal appears to tick off a list of what were essentially generic plot elements. There is a wicked, all-powerful sorcerer (Sheikh) who, smitten with a beautiful princess (Zimbo’s Chitra), abducts her in his flying palace, much to the displeasure of her manly suitor (P. Jairaj), who, along with his comic sidekick (?), endeavors to defeat the sorcerer’s powerful magic with muscle alone. Along the way we have the aforementioned genie, who gets shrunken by the sorcerer and imprisoned in a bird cage, the aforementioned flying horse, and lots of magic auras projecting from people’s hands by way of someone drawing them directly onto the film.