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Cast

Credited cast:
Pomy Dev Pomy Dev ... VIrendra
Dolly Mattoo Dolly Mattoo ... Manju (as Dolly Minhas)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dinesh Hingoo ... Car Owner
Kulbhushan Kharbanda ... Thakur Chandra K Singh
Johnny Lever ... Ramkumar Bedil
Raza Murad ... Mr. Thomson
Amita Nangia ... Tomson's Daughter
Alok Nath ... Nathu
Suresh Oberoi ... S P Rane
Manohar Singh ... Advocate Katju
Sharmila Tagore ... Mohini Devi
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Genres:

Drama | Mystery

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Details

Country:

India

Language:

Hindi

Release Date:

29 November 1991 (India) See more »

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Color
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An old fashioned but well-knitted murder mystery
4 January 2014 | by jmathur_swayamprabhaSee all my reviews

In the dark hours of a night, a young girl clad in white clothes heads towards a magnificent mansion (whose architecture reminds of the British times) which is the residence of a rich man of royal lineage. The environment prevailing is eerie with the addition being made by the girl who appears to be a spirit. A hawk (apparently a pet) is visible in the house which is surrounded by trees oscillating with the gusts of the wind. A mystery-filled song (in female voice) is also floating on the air. In a nutshell, the atmosphere prevailing is indicative of some undesirable happening which is going to take place soon. The old servant of the house is putting off the lights and about to sleep. A renowned lawyer who happens to be the friend and legal adviser of the rich man is shown as handling and examining a sharp knife and shortly thereafter, he also moves towards the mansion known as Chandan Villa. And almost simultaneously the watchman doing his duty outside the mansion is thrown into unconsciousness by suppressing his mouth and briefly stopping his breathing process by an unseen stranger. This is the opening scene of the Hindi movie - Dastoor (1991).

This suspense-filled and somewhat scary scene cuts to the scene inside the house where the owner of that mansion, Thaakur Chandan Kunwar Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) is drinking and waiting for a contract-killer whom he has called for. His awaited guest, i.e., the contract-killer who is a youth of barely 24-25 years of age, arrives. Thaakur tells the contract-killer that he is hiring his contract-killing services and his fee is there in the briefcase lying on the nearby table. The briefcase is full of currency notes. The contract-killer youth shares a drink with him and asks the name of the would-be victim. He is startled when Thaakur tells him that himself (Thaakur) only is going to be the victim and the contract-killer is to kill him only in return for the fee which lies in the briefcase. Greatly surprised, the young contract-killer puts a logical question to him that when he can commit suicide and die free of cost, then why he wants to spend so much money for his death. 'I am a man of royal lineage and have lived the whole of my life in a royal manner, hence my death also should be royal only', answers Thaakur. The contract-killer inquires for the reason behind his desire to die. Thaakur tells that though this reason is not to be revealed, he will tell him because he appears to be a nice guy and can be trusted to keep the secret with him only. But ! But barely one sentence has come out of the mouth of Thaakur in this regard and he falls on the table flat on his face. Now the contract-killer finds that a knife has gone inside Thaakur's body from the side of the back and he is dead. He rushes to see the murderer but finds none. When the contract-killer is out, looking for the murderer, the legal adviser of Thaakur enters and steals away some documents from the drawer of the table (on which Thaakur has fallen dead). And just after that the girl clad in white enters the scene, reaches the dead body of Thaakur and pulls out the knife stabbed in his body with utmost indifference. Then she leaves in a car with the murder weapon (i.e., the knife) in her possession. She is not a spirit. It is known later that she is a sleepwalker knowing not in her sleepwalking condition as to what she is doing and where she is going.

Now starts the quest for the murderer. This young man (Pomy Dev) who is the hero of this movie and this young girl (Dolly Minhas) who is the heroine of this movie, are murder-suspects in the eyes of the police. However there is no dearth of suspects otherwise also. In addition to these two, there are many other suspects also, viz. 1. The mother of the sleepwalker girl who is a courtesan (Sharmila Tagore), 2. The friend-cum-legal adviser of the victim (Manohar Singh) who has stolen some documents from the victim's table after the murder, 3. The old and faithful servant of the household (Aalok Naath), 4. The mentor of the young contract-killer (Raza Muraad) who is a known bad character and who only had sent the young man to Thaakur Chandan Kunwar Singh in the first place for accomplishing the contract-killing job. It's a challenge for the investigating police officer (Suresh Oberai) to single out the real culprit among the available suspects. Who is the murderer ? The climax tells the answer.

Dastoor (custom)is a taut murder mystery and except some comedy and a little bit of romance between the young lead pair, there's nothing in this movie which can be termed as superfluous. When the suspense is revealed, we can see that everything is logically connected to everything else. Even Johnny Lever's comedy track also has a strong link with the main track.This is a movie which shows the police investigation of the murder in detail. Despite introducing a young pair in romantic lead, the movies presents the investigator (Suresh Oberai) as the real hero with ample footage given to his activities. He shows a lot mannerism also just in the fashion of the stylish detective heroes created by many Indian and foreign authors.

All the principal characters have done well. Suresh Oberai has played a stylish investigator in a highly impressive manner. Seasoned actors Sharmila Tagore, Aalok Naath, Manohar Singh, Raza Muraad and Kulbhushan Kharbanda have done complete justice to the assigned roles. Debutantes Pomy Dev and Dolly Minhas have not done badly considering the fact that this is their maiden acting venture.

Dastoor is a highly admirable murder mystery which is a treat for all those who like murder mysteries.


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