AJOOBA KUDRAT KAA (THE MAGNIFICENT GUARDIAN) is one of the most obscure films by India’s famed Ramsey brothers Tulsi and Shyam, who after turning out around 20 Bollywood horror movies decided to make a film about the legend of the yeti—or Bigfoot—said to reside in the Himalayas.
Their efforts, unfortunately, resulted in this 1991 goof. Unsurprisingly, it was a resounding box office flop, and hasn’t been seen much since; as of early 2014 the film’s sole home video appearance was on an out of print Indian VCD, followed by a limited edition DVR (retitled INDIAN YETI) from the now-defunct Bijouflix.
A band of mountaineers happen upon a yeti in the Himalayas. One of the mountaineers snaps a picture of the creature, and upon getting back to civilization shows it to his boss, a slimy businessman. The latter becomes determined to hunt down the yeti and turn it into a circus attraction.
In the meantime the young Sasha is kidnapped by the evil gangster Lala. The latter is looking for revenge against Sasha’s cop father, who busted Lala years earlier.
Sasha escapes from the cabin where Lala and his goons are holding her, and runs off into the wilderness–and straight into the lair of the yeti. She’s freaked out at first but finds the yeti to be an unexpectedly sweet and nurturing presence, and the two become fast friends.
Lala dispatches his goons to bring back Sasha, and grab the yeti in the bargain. Sasha’s father and aunt are also on the trail, and manage to locate the yeti’s cave. They scare off the yeti and take Sasha back to civilization, just as Lala and co. bust in on the creature and subdue it.
The scumbags, in cahoots with the evil businessman, imprison the yeti in a cage and force it to perform for groups of children. Among the latter is Sasha. She’s with her father, who frees the yeti, precipitating a lengthy chase through the snow in which Lala and his henchmen take on the monster. Guess who wins?
I’ve no idea how familiar the Ramsay brothers were with Bigfoot cinema when they made this film, but it contains many of the clichés that often typify this unique subgenre (see David Coleman’s exhaustive 2012 tome THE BIGFOOT FILMOGRAPHY for a full accounting), from the cute kid who humanizes the creature to the evil businessman who seeks to exploit it. What the Ramsays ignore, curiously enough given their status as scaremeisters, are the more horrific elements of Bigfoot cinema, providing what is essentially a dumb comedy that outside some gory killings in the final reel is more in line with HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS than NIGHT OF THE DEMON.
The film also suffers from Bollywood movie conventions, such as the distracting song and dance numbers—complete with gaudy outfits and synthesizer flavored music redolent of the previous decade—and a vastly inflated 2 hour-plus running time, with too many superfluous subplots cluttering an already scatterbrained film.
There are some endearing elements, such as the jaw-dropping “Yeti I love you” music number, crooned by the little girl protagonist early on and later reprised by a bunch of kids. The yeti itself (listed in the opening credits as “Mighty Himalayan Man”) is a sublimely ridiculous creation with webbed hands and odd, vaguely tribal markings on its face. Listen also for snatches of various well known movie scores on the soundtrack, including STAR WARS, GOLDFINGER and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY.
Bottom line: sporadically enjoyable nonsense for b-movie fans with time on their hands, but those wanting a real Bigfoot movie are advised to look elsewhere.
AJOOBA KUDRAT KAA (THE MAGNIFICENT GUARDIAN)
Directors: Shyam Ramsay, Tulsi Ramsay
Producer: Shaikh Mohammed Shakeel
Screenplay: Geetanjali Singh, Salim Haider
Cinematography: Gangu Ramsay
Editing: Keshav Hirani
Cast: Shagufta Ali, Beena Banerjee, Hermant Birje, Anil Dhawan, Manik Irani, Goga Kapoor, Huma Khan, Raj Kishore, Kohli, Manjeet Kullar, Johnny Lever, Mac Mohan, Deepak Parashar, Randhir Singh