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1920 is a 2008 Indian horror film written and directed by Vikram Bhatt. Filmed in Hindi, the film revolves around the events surrounding a married couple living in a haunted house in the year 1920. The film stars debutant actors Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma as the married couple.


The film opens in the year 1920 at Palampurmarker, Indiamarker. An architect arrives at a large haveli (manor house). The manager of the haveli, MK, discusses how the owner of the haveli wishes to have it torn down and have a hotel constructed in its place. Later that night, the architect hears strange sounds, and when he goes out to investigate, he is killed by a mysterious force. It turns out the architect who was engaged before him was killed in a similar manner some time ago.

The film introduces another architect, Arjun Singh. Arjun is religious (he recites the Hanuman Chalisa every day) and devoted to his family; but he is also in love with Lisa. This meets strong disapproval from his family because Lisa (born of a British father and an Indian mother) is of mixed faith. Arjun decides to marry Lisa anyway. As he travels to Mumbaimarker, his father and his brothers intercept his car, beat him up and try to burn Lisa alive. Arjun fights back and decides to disavow his faith (and thus, his family) for Lisa. He ultimately becomes an atheist.

The haveli project is handed to Arjun's firm, and Arjun and Lisa arrive at the haveli soon after. Strange things happen (sounds, objects moving by themselves). Arjun is unaware of the events, but Lisa soon senses a malevolent alien presence. Lisa questions Balwant (the caretaker and servant), but he feigns ignorance. He discusses the matter privately with MK, and earnestly pleads with MK to relieve Arjun and Lisa of the project for it will claim their lives just as it killed the others who came before them. The haveli does not wish to be destroyed, says Balwant, and that is why it reacts to anyone who wants to tear it down, including MK. (Balwant himself is unharmed because he is only acting on orders and does not carry an intent to destroy the haveli.) MK is aware of some evil presence, but he silences Balwant with a fat bribe.

Arjun leaves for Bombay on a business trip. Lisa experiences stronger events, and confides in a local church priest. At Lisa's request, the priest arrives at the haveli, and immediately senses a strong evil presence in the main hall of the haveli. Later that evening, in his church rooms, he experiences an evil force, and wakes up to find a Baphomet, drawn in blood, on a wall in his room. He consults with the head priest and they quickly conclude that an evil spirit resides in the haveli and is specifically targeting Lisa. The priest returns to issue a stern warning for Lisa. Lisa is away, and Balwant takes the message, but does not mention it to Lisa.

Lisa becomes ill, refuses food and water and takes to bed. (Arjun spots her eating a dead animal that night, but is unable to make sense of this creepy event.) The priest returns and attempts to place a cross on Lisa. Lisa transforms into a diabolical personality and attacks the priest. Arjun engages a doctor but it turns out to be fruitless as Lisa's evil outbursts (and telekinetic attacks) simply overwhelm the hospital staff. Now convinced there is an alien force at work, Arjun storms into MK's office and demands the truth. MK reveals the name of the previous owner/occupant, Radhama, and Arjun visits her in Nawanagar.

Radhama reveals how it started in 1857 (during the Sepoy Mutiny), when she was a servant at the haveli. A wounded mutineer, Mohan Kant, sought cover at the haveli. He turned out to be a spy for the British forces. The owner's daughter, Gayatri, seduced him to buy time until her uncle arrived. Her uncle and his men hanged him. He vowed revenge with his dying breath, and his soul has remained in the haveli ever since. (Gayatri, it turns out, died in 1896; and Lisa was born on the same day.)

Arjun returns to the haveli. The soul of the treasonous soldier has now completely possessed Lisa's body. The priest suggests an exorcism, and decides to perform it himself. The ritual begins well, but the evil soul is too powerful for the inexperienced priest, and the priest and Balwant are both killed. The evil spirit impels Lisa to slit her wrists (so as to die, and eject her soul from her body) when the spirit can carry her soul with it to hell. Unable to physically restrain Lisa, Arjun is forced to reexamine his lost faith. Now, Lisa who is empowered by the evil soul, beats Arjun badly. After Arjun is beaten badly, a possessed Lisa now emotionally tortures Arjun. Soon Arjun feels that only God can save Lisa. Arjun rises up, he limps towards Lisa and embraces her. Arjun then embraces Lisa with full might and begins reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. The evil soul is now being tortured. He tries to run but Arjun holds Lisa's body with all his might. He then drags her into a small room while reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. After some time, the evil soul is in enough pain because of listening to the words. Arjun then says "Jai Bajrang Bali" and the evil soul is flushed out of Lisa's body. The evil soul runs out in extreme pain and is eventually destroyed. Thus, Arjun saves Lisa.



Director Vikram Bhatt's previous films Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (2002), Deewane Huye Paagal (2005) and Life Mein Kabhie Kabhie were termed as box-office failures in the media. Speaking in corroboration, Bhatt felt the need for introspection for making inconsequential cinema. His want to make a horror film stemmed from the visuals of a chariot riding through the mist that constantly played in his mind. Claiming it to be his most ambitious project to date, Bhatt took a year and a half to complete the script, which he thought was more powerful than his earlier film Raaz (2002).

Though Bhatt was looking to cast newcomers, he did not conduct any auditions for the film. Instead, when Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma came to his office, his search for the lead cast ended. For their enthusiasm and efforts, Bhatt was delighted to work with them. Sharma found Bhatt to be a very calm, composed and patient director to work with. Duggal, a who won the 2003 Mr. India title, was a New Delhimarker-based model in the fashion industry. Since he thought Vikram Bhatt to be a technically sound man, and that the he was getting a character he would have preferred in his first film, he agreed to act in this film. Since Bhatt used to enact scenes for the cast before filming them, Sharma and Duggal thought that Bhatt was a good actor as well. While filming, both of them felt quite comfortable working with each other.

For scouting for an appropriate location for filming, the production house hired six location managers who visited about 12 countries over a period of six months before settling down on Allerton Castlemarker, North Yorkshire, Englandmarker. When Bhatt saw the images of this house, he was convinced that it would be the real protagonist of his film. This mansion was owned by a billionaire, whose wife had fallen in love with a carpenter. When the husband found out about the affair, he killed the carpenter. The carpenter's spirit is rumored to be haunting the place. Bhatt and Sharma experienced an unusual incident while filming at this house. Inside the mansion, a huge portrait of the lady is hung on one of its walls. When they attempted to take a photograph of this portrait, the picture always came out blurred, no matter what angle they took it from.

One of the producers of the movie, Surendra Sharma thought "never has a supernatural thriller been attempted in a period setting and made at this scale." His father-cinematographer Pravin Bhatt and he decided to shoot in candlelight to recreate the conditions during the year of setting – 1920. At the same time, they hoped to fill every frame with artistry and create the eeriness of a cold haunting. Director Bhatt watched a lot footage of true accounts of poltergeists and hauntings. In addition, he wanted to establish the same style of portraits of this period. To achieve this, instead of resorting to computer graphics, he asked Anjorie Alag, the supporting actress to pose for five hours in front of an artist. The entire shoot was completed in a 12-hour night shift for a 18 days during the winter.

To further enhance the effect of horror for this film, Ashoke Chowdhury and Indraneil Roy were hired to work on the visual effects. When they approached Bhatt and showed him samples of their previous work, they were hired with the instructions that he expected good, international quality work. During their work, the film was treated digitally using a specialized software. Using this, they were able to make glasses break and generate smoke. They made use of techniques such as chroma, rotoscoping and wire-rigs for levitation. One of their most challenging scenes in the film was to recreate Mumbaimarker's Victoria Terminusmarker as it was in 1920. This required them 40 days of work.

Several scenes within the movie are identical to scenes in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Stigmata, and one scene from One Missed Call.

While Adnan Sami composed the music for the film, Sameer penned the lyrics. Pandit Jasraj, Shubha Mudgal, Parveen Sultana, Asha Bhosle and Kailash Kher feature in the soundtrack.


A coffee-table book, with trivia and in-depth detail about the film, was launched prior to the film's release. Bhatt thought that the audience will find it better to read about the film before its release. The film released on 12 September 2008.


The music of the film is composed by Adnan Sami with lyrics by Sameer.

Song Singer(s) Duration Notes
1920 - Theme 2:18
Aise Jalta Hai Jiya Asha Bhosle 5:29 Picturised on Anjori Alagh & Indraneil Sengupta
Bichua Shubha Mudgal 5:17 Picturised on Rakhi Sawant
Bichua - Remix Shubha Mudgal 4:21
Tujhe Main Pyar Karu Kailash Kher 5:11 Picturised on Rajneesh Duggal & Adah Sharma
Vaada Tumse Hain Vaada Pandit Jasraj 6:26 Picturised on Rajneesh Duggal & Adah Sharma
Vaada Tumse Hain Vaada Parveen Sultana 6:46


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