Karz (film)

Karz (The debt) is a 1980 Indian Hindi-language 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.

Directed bySubhash Ghai
Produced byAkhtar Farooqui
Jagjit Khurana
Written byDr. Rahi Masoom Reza(dialogue)
Screenplay bySachin Bhowmick
StarringRishi Kapoor
Tina Munim
Simi Garewal
Raj Kiran
Pinchoo Kapoor
Mac Mohan
Music byLaxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi (Lyrics)
CinematographyKamalakar Rao
Edited byWaman Bhonsle
Gurudutt Shirali
Distributed byMukta Arts Ltd.
Release date
  • 27 June 1980 (1980-06-27)
Running time
157 mins
Box office₹55 million[1]

The film's music was by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, giving successful numbers like "Dard-E-Dil" and "Om Shanti Om" (which samples the eponymous song by Lord Shorty), 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]


Ravi Verma wins a legal battle against Sir Judah, his dead father's business partner. Shantaprasad Verma, Ravi's dead father, was a rich man in Coonoor, whose property was unjustly usurped by Sir Judah after his death. Ravi gives the good news to his mother without realizing that Judah has already set contrary plans in action. Ravi has fallen in love with Kamini, a gold-digger working covertly for Judah. Ravi tells his mother that he is going to get married and come back to get her blessings for himself and Kamini. On their way to Coonoor, Kamini throws Ravi off the cliff near a small temple of Goddess Kali. Two decades later, Monty, an orphan raised by G.G. Oberoi, is a twenty-one-year-old singer fond of a tune Ravi liked, which activates some of Ravi's memories subconsciously present in Monty.

Monty soon falls in love with a girl in some remote place. He chooses Ooty (near Coonoor), partly because Tina lives there. There his inherited memories become intense when he sees all the locations of these memories. Tina tells him that she was brought up by her Rani Sahiba at the behest of her uncle Kabira. In truth, Kabira was sentenced to life imprisonment and is about to be released, whereafter Monty wins his permission to court Tina, but learns that Rani Sahiba is Kamini. Kabira later reveals to Monty that Tina's father learnt some deadly secret about the Kali temple, Kamini and Ravi Verma, for which Kamini's brother killed him. In retaliation, Kabira killed Kamini's brother and blackmailed her to raise Tina with proper education, by pretending to know the secret. Monty has also learnt previously that Ravi's mother and his sister were ousted unjustly from their house by Kamini and her brother. He tells the whole story to Kabira, who offers to find Ravi's estranged family, with whom Monty is united. Realizing that Kamini is a puppet of Sir Judah, Monty gradually tricks Kamini into believing that Ravi's ghost seeks revenge. Slowly, a rift arises between her and Sir Judah. Finally, in the local school opened by the Verma family, the inauguration of a hall in the memory of Ravi is planned by the school with Kamini Devi to do the inauguration. Monty and Tina perform at the function, where they dramatise 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. Thereupon, Judah captures Ravi's relatives and agrees to release Tina in exchange for Kamini. Just as the exchange is about to take place, Tina attacks Kamini. In the mêlée, Kabira and Monty gain the upper hand. Judah tries to burn Monty's family; Monty saves them, and kills Judah in the fire. Kamini escapes in a jeep. Pursued by Monty, she attacks him at the temple, but falls to her own death. In the end, Monty marries Tina.


Actor Role Other Notes
Rishi Kapoor Monty Ravi Verma's re-incarnation A Rockstar
Raj Kiran Ravi Verma Shanta Prasad Verma's Son
Simi Garewal Kaamini Verma Ravi Verma's Widow Rani Sahiba
Tina Munim Tina Kabira's Niece Monty's Love Interest
Premnath Sir Judah The Main Antagonist
Pran 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 Baayan (Left Hand) Kabira's Man
Birbal Daayan (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, "Dard-E-Dil" and "Om Shanti Om", Laxmikant-Pyarelal however, won the trophy for Best Music Director of the year. With hits like, "Dard-E-Dil" by Mohd. Rafi and "Ek Haseena Thi" and "Om Shanti Om" by Kishore Kumar, 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.[5][6]

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.[7][8]

All lyrics are written by Anand Bakshi; all music is composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

1."Om Shanti Om" (Meri Umar Ke Naujawanon)Kishore Kumar9:05
2."Paisa Yeh Paisa"Kishore Kumar5:10
3."Ek Haseena Thi"Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle7:55
4."Dard-E-Dil"Mohammed Rafi7:05
5."Main Solah Baras Ki"Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar5:05
6."Kamaal Hai"Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Anuradha Paudwal5:55
7."Karz Theme Music" (Instrumental) 3:15

Meanwhile, the Filmfare Best Music Director Award notwithstanding, the film's music turned out to be heavily "inspired" in later years, like the dramatic Ek Hasina Thi was taken from George Benson's We As Love, while Om Shanti Om itself came from Trinidad Calypso artist Lord Shorty's version[9][10][11]


The story of this movie about reincarnation and revenge became the ninth highest grosser of the year, and was declared a "Semi Hit" nationwide.[1] 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.[12]

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.[9] Karz may have also been inspired by the 1958 Hindi film Madhumati.[13] 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).[13]


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.[10][11]

The songs of the film inspired several film titles, notably 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.[14]

Awards and nominations


  1. Box Office 1980 Archived 2 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Box Office India
  2. 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.
  3. Karz (1980), retrieved 17 September 2018
  4. BACKGROUND SCORES IN HINDI MOVIES Passionforcinema, Movies, Talking-Points | 12 June 2008.
  5. 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.
  6. Karz (1980), retrieved 17 September 2018
  7. "Karz 1980 songs". Bollyfm.net. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  8. "Karz 1980 songs". Raaga.com. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  9. "Bollywood Gossip | Filmmaker Subhash Ghai | Actor Himesh Reshammiya | Film Karz". Entertainment.oneindia.in. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  10. Karz Review Upperstall.com.
  11. Karz (1980): Movie Review movietalkies.com.
  12. 'I thought Kisna will be a big hit' Rediff.com Movies, 6 March 2008.
  13. 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.
  14. Nikhat Kazmi (10 November 2007). "The Times of India: OSO Review". The Times of India.
  15. "1st Filmfare Awards 1953 to 2005, awards and nominations" (PDF). Deep750.googlepages.com. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
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