Karz (film)

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Karz, 1980 film poster.jpg
Directed bySubhash Ghai
Written byDr. Rahi Masoom Reza(dialogue)
Screenplay bySachin Bhowmick
Produced byAkhtar Farooqui
Jagjit Khurana
StarringRishi Kapoor
Tina Munim
Simi Garewal
Raj Kiran
Pinchoo Kapoor
Mac Mohan
CinematographyKamalakar Rao
Edited byWaman Bhonsle
Gurudutt Shirali
Music byLaxmikant–Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi (Lyrics)
Distributed byMukta Arts Ltd.
Release date
  • 1980 (1980)
Running time
157 mins
Box office₹55 million[1]

Karz (transl.The debt) is a 1980 Indian Hindi-language romantic thriller film directed by Subhash Ghai, starring Rishi Kapoor and Tina Munim as leads, also starring Simi Garewal, in the critically acclaimed role of Kamini Verma, the murderous wife from the past life, which won her a Filmfare nomination. It is based on the 1975 film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. The film's music was by Laxmikant–Pyarelal, giving successful numbers like Om Shanti Om and Dard-E-Dil, and they went on to win Filmfare Best Music Director Award for this film, the lyricist received two Filmfare nominations for these two hits.[2][3]


The movie begins with Ravi Verma winning a legal battle against Sir Judah who had unjustly usurped Ravi's father's wealth and property after his death. Ravi calls his mother to tell her the good news and that he is marrying his girlfriend Kamini, who unbeknownst to him is a gold-digger working for Judah. On their way home to Coonoor, Kamini rams Ravi over a cliff near a small temple of the Goddess Kali. Distraught at the sudden death of her son, Ravi's mother demands the Goddess allow her son to pay his mother's debt for dying prematurely, while Kamini inherits everything. Two decades later, Monty, an orphan raised by G.G. Oberoi, is a twenty-one-year-old singer who starts to have visions of Ravi's memories triggered by a tune that Ravi used to like.

Monty's doctors joke that maybe he is Ravi's reincarnation, but in all seriousness should just take a vacation and rest. Monty travels to Ooty (coincidentally near Coonoor) where Tina lives and they fall in love. Tina tells him that she was brought up by a woman she calls Rani Sahiba and her uncle Kabira who, having served 10 years for murder, is released from jail. As Monty explores the area and learns the Verma Family story from the locals, including that Ravi's mother and his sister were ousted from their house by Kamini, he starts to experience more of Ravi's memories which become more intense. He is later shocked to find that Tina's Rani Sahiba and Kamini are one and the same.

Kabira then reveals to Monty that Tina's father was murdered by Kamini's brother after overhearing a secret involving Ravi and the temple of Kali. In retaliation, Kabira killed Kamini's brother which is why he went to jail. Pretending to know Kamini's secret, Kabira blackmailed her to raise Tina with a proper education. Monty in kind reveals to Kabira his connection to Ravi Verma, and that they must find Ravi's estranged family, with whom Monty is united. Accepting that he is Ravi's reincarnation, Monty is able to piece together Ravi's murder.

To set things right, Monty and Kabira gradually trick Kamini into believing that Ravi's ghost seeks revenge. In their final trick, Monty and Tina perform at a local school opening function attended by Kamini, where they dramatize Ravi's story.

Kamini is horrified to see Ravi's mother and sister, and flees. When Monty confronts her, Kamini confesses to Ravi's murder, which the police record. However, Judah holds Tina hostage and offers her in exchange for Kamini. Just as the exchange is about to take place, Tina jumps on Kamini causing a mêlée. Kabira and Monty gain the upper hand but Judah locks Ravi's mother and sister in a house and sets it ablaze. Monty saves them, and kills Judah in the fire. Kamini escapes in a jeep but Monty pursues her. She tries to ram Monty off the cliff at the temple of Kali in the same way she killed Ravi, but this time Monty jumps away, causing her to drive off the cliff to her death. In the end, the Verma wealth and property is returned to Ravi's family and Monty marries Tina.


Actor Role Other Notes
Rishi Kapoor Monty Oberoi / Ravi Verma Ravi Verma's re-incarnation A Rockstar
Raj Kiran Ravi Verma Shanta Prasad Verma's Son
Simi Garewal Kaamini Devi Verma Ravi Verma's Widow Rani Sahiba
Tina Munim Tina Kabira's Niece Monty's Love Interest
Premnath Sir Judah The Main Antagonist
Pran Kabir Badshah aka Kabira Tina's Uncle
Durga Khote Mrs. Shanta Prasad Verma Ravi Verma's Mother Rani Maa
Abha Dhulia Jyoti Verma (Pinkey) Ravi Verma's Sister
Jalal Agha Doctor Dayal Monty's Friend
Pinchoo Kapoor Mr. G.G. Oberoi Monty's Mentor
Iftekhar Dr. Daniel Dr Dayal's senior Monty's Doctor
Viju Khote Baanya (Left Hand) Kabira's Man
Birbal Daanya (Right Hand) Kabira's Man
Mac Mohan Sir Judah's Man A Man who translates Sir Judah
Aruna Irani Dancer In "Kamaal Hai" song Guest Role
Mukri College Principal
Yusuf Khan Roxi Kabira's Rival
Kamaldeep Advocate P.P. Roy Sir Judah's Lawyer Guest Role



Soundtrack album by
Released1980 (India)
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelSa Re Ga Ma / EMI
Laxmikant–Pyarelal chronology
Jyoti Bane Jwala

The soundtrack of the film includes tracks composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi, who received two Filmfare nominations for these two hits, "Om Shanti Om" and "Dard-E-Dil", Laxmikant-Pyarelal however, won the trophy for Best Music Director of the year. With hits like, "Ek Haseena Thi" and "Om Shanti Om" by Kishore Kumar and "Dard-E-Dil" by Mohammed Rafi, the soundtrack was a trendsetter for disco music in the Indian music industry and film's background score, especially the signature tune are still remembered as one of the most memorable ones.[4] The title track is heavily inspired by the Lord Shorty song of the same name.[2][5]

The film's chart-buster song, Om Shanti Om, sung by Kishore Kumar, reached the number 2 spot on Binaca Geetmala's annual list 1980, while another duet between Lata and Kishore, Tu Kitne Baras Ki reached number 13.[6][7] This song heavily interpolates Sixteen Going on Seventeen song from 1965 Hollywood hit The Sound Of Music starring Julie Andrews.

# Song Singer
1 "Om Shanti Om" Kishore Kumar
2 "Paisa Yeh Paisa" Kishore Kumar
3 "Tu Kitne Baras Ki, Tu Kitne Baras Ka" Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
4 "Ek Haseena Thi" Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle
5 "Kamaal Hai, Kamaal Hai" Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Anuradha Paudwal
6 "Dard-E-Dil, Dard-E-Jigar Dil Mein Jagaaya Aap Ne" Mohammed Rafi
7 "Theme Music" Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Some of the film's music was alleged to be heavily "inspired" in later years by other work. For instance the dramatic Ek Hasina Thi resembled George Benson's We As Love, while Om Shanti Om itself is likened to Trinidad Calypso artist Lord Shorty's version.[8][9][10]


Despite being counted as a cult classic today, Karz was declared an "average" nationwide during its opening and very next week Feroz Khan's mega budget Qurbani was released and crashed it at the box office. Rishi Kapoor admitted himself about its failure in his many interviews and also in his biography. In a 2008 interview, film director, Subhash Ghai admitted that film was ahead of its time, and was thus panned by critics of the times, and "flopped" at the box office, it was only years later that it started being considered a classic and even remade several times over.[11]

The film is also one of the finest films of Subhash Ghai, notable for picturisation of songs like Ek Hasina Thi on stage as well as Dard-E-Dil, and set the standard for his future films, as most of them became known for his dramatic flair, and above all their music score. However, the director Subhash Ghai admitted that Karz was partly inspired by the 1975 American film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, mixed in with Indian beliefs on reincarnation.[8] Karz may have also been inspired by the 1958 Hindi film Madhumati.[12] Karz was itself remade several times: as the Kannada film Yuga Purusha (1989), the Tamil film Enakkul Oruvan (1984), and more recently the Hindi film Karzzzz (2008). Karz may have also inspired the American film Chances Are (1989).[12]


Though the theme of reincarnation was earlier handled in Madhumati (1958), Kudrat (1981) and Mehbooba (1976), the modern twist with murder and revenge angle set in Karz was a pot-boiler; it went on to inspire several other Indian remakes, notably Yuga Purusha (1989) in Kannada; Enakkul Oruvan (1984) in Tamil; Aatmabalam (1985) in Telugu; and the Hindi film Karzzzz (2008), starring Himesh Reshammiya.[9][10]

The songs of the film inspired several film titles, notably Dard-e-dil (1983), Paisa Yeh Paisa (1985), Main Solah Baras Ki (1998), Ek Hasina Thi (2004), Aashiq Banaya Aapne (2005) and Om Shanti Om (2007), which was seen as a light-hearted tribute to the film, as it borrowed many elements from it.[13]


28th Filmfare Awards:[14]




  1. ^ Box Office 1980 Archived 2 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Box Office India
  2. ^ a b Ramnarine, Tina K. (September 2011). "Music in circulation between diasporic histories and modern media: exploring sonic politics in two Bollywood filmsOm Shanti OmandDulha Mil Gaya". South Asian Diaspora. 3 (2): 143–158. doi:10.1080/19438192.2011.579454. ISSN 1943-8192. S2CID 154941959.
  3. ^ Karz (1980), retrieved 17 September 2018
  4. ^ BACKGROUND SCORES IN HINDI MOVIES Archived 27 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine Passionforcinema, Movies, Talking-Points | 12 June 2008.
  5. ^ Karz (1980), retrieved 17 September 2018
  6. ^ "Karz 1980 songs". Bollyfm.net. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Karz 1980 songs". Raaga.com. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Bollywood Gossip | Filmmaker Subhash Ghai | Actor Himesh Reshammiya | Film Karz". Entertainment.oneindia.in. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  9. ^ a b Karz Review Upperstall.com.
  10. ^ a b Karz (1980): Movie Review movietalkies.com.
  11. ^ 'I thought Kisna will be a big hit' Rediff.com Movies, 6 March 2008.
  12. ^ a b Doniger, Wendy (2005). "Chapter 6: Reincarnation". The woman who pretended to be who she was: myths of self-imitation. Oxford University Press. pp. 112–136 [135]. ISBN 978-0-19-516016-1.
  13. ^ Nikhat Kazmi (10 November 2007). "The Times of India: OSO Review". The Times of India.
  14. ^ "1st Filmfare Awards 1953 to 2005, awards and nominations" (PDF). Deep750.googlepages.com. Retrieved 28 September 2010.

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