indian cinema heritage foundation

Dilip Gulati

  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

A known name in the so-called category of B- and C-grade Hindi cinema, director, writer, producer Dilip Gulati has to his credit ‘massy’ films such as Jaan Lada Denge (1990), Jungle Beauty (1991), Khooni Kangan (2000) and Nyay: The Justice (2021). With approximately 16 films to his credit as director, he made mostly low-budget entertainers, which were economically produced but were favourites with the masses, and brought in considerable profits. He mainly made revenge dramas and thrillers. Of his directorials, he also himself produced Jaan Lada Denge, Jungle Beauty and Gumnaam (2005). In Vasant Bala’s documentary Marte Dum Tak, which features Dilip Gulati, J Neelam, Vinod Talwar and Kishan Shah, “once big names in the modest world of B- and C-grade cinema,” Gulati spoke of the dreams he once had of being a respected director. However, due to his winding up in “less reputable cinema,” the doors of the mainstream Hindi film industry were closed to him. In an attempt to apparently give his films a sheen of idealism and respectability, he justifies his film Jungle Girl, claiming it is about the rights of tribal communities who live in forests. Describing himself as a commercial auteur or maker, he points out that he was in a different league from those who made cheap, smut movies that “destroyed the subculture of low-budget films.”

Among his earliest films is Jaan Lada Denge (1990), which he wrote and directed. It starred Hemant Birje, Sahila Chaddha and Natasha

The following year, he directed the action-adventure film Jungle Beauty, starring Joshina, Rajeev Kumar and Puneet Issar. Dubbed a ‘masala film’, it told the tale of Bela, who reaches her youth playing with wild animals in the deep forest. Problems start when outside forces desire to plunder the treasure of gold and diamonds in the temple within the forest.

He went on to direct the actioner Gangapur Ki Geeta (1994) about a female dacoit who helps the poor but two other dacoits exploit her name, to kill and loot for their personal gain. A police commissioner comes to the area and gives her the opportunity to clear her name by becoming a police inspector herself and catching the dacoits who are misusing her name. 

Jungle Love Story (1998) saw him direct Raza Murad, Amrit Pal, Raju Srivastava and others in a plot that revolved around an orphaned young woman who swears revenge for the murder of her father and ventures into the wild, peril-laden jungle. Before long, she has a chance encounter with the ‘mighty king of the jungle’.

In the comedy film Chhote Nawab Bade Nawab (1998), he directed Ajitabh – the duplicate of Amitabh Bachchan, as well as Raja Babu – the duplicate of Govinda. The film revolves around two layabouts who get involved in a national security drama and become heroes by saving the country.

With the action-adventure Zimbo (1999), he revived the character more than four decades after the exciting jungle adventure in Zimbo (1958). With this directorial, he brought back the mighty defender of the weak and innocent, the legendary Zimbo, to crush injustice with his furious fists. The film starred Raj Devgan, Naina and Rashi.

Saugandh (2000) saw him directing the actioner starring Dharmendra, Shakti Kapoor and Raza Murad, while his The Revenge: Geeta Mera Naam (2000) was also an action film starring Dharmendra, Kalyani Thakkar and Durgesh Nandini. The latter revolved around Geeta, who, in order to avenge her father’s death, becomes a bandit herself and makes herself a target of both the corrupt police as well as the bandits and her other enemies. 

In 2001, he directed the thriller Main Hoon Qatil Jaadugarni, starring Poonam Dasgupta, Sanjeevani Gupta and Bharat Kapoor. It narrated a story of revenge by a 24-year-old girl named Chandni (Poonam Dasgupta) who loves Amar (Amit Panchori).  However, a few bad boys kill Amit and rape Chandni. Consequently, she decides to punish all the bad boys. She must contend with tantric Bhairavbaba (Raza Murad), who tries to save the lives of the bad boys from her hands. 

The same year, he had directed another actioner with a difference – Shaheed E Kargil (2001). Starring Shehzad Khan, Kiran Kumar and Pramod Moutho among others, it revisited the Kargil War between India and Pakistan of 1999. 

The Power of Woman: Tezaab (2004) saw him direct Hemant Birje, Ali Khan, Durgesh Nandini and Tanya Oberoi in this revenge drama. A simple village girl is raped by a Thakur and she becomes a dacoit and pursues revenge. 

The same year, he also directed The Unfaithful Hawas, a thriller starring Tanya Oberoi and Sahil Singh. The plot revolved around an ad filmmaker, whose life is shattered when he finds his wife is having an affair. Things get even worse when the revelation is made to other people as well.

More recently, he directed Nyay: The Justice (2021), a drama film starring Atsede Addy Ethio, Kushi Anand and Govardhan Asrani among others. The film revolves around a boy called Mahinder who comes to tinsel town with the youthful innocence and exuberance associated with small towns. His sheer perseverance, dexterity and histrionics earn him the admiration of both critics and fans. However, his intellect and choice of scripts sees him lock horns with certain powerful elements. The film narrates how he falls in love and also perishes under mysterious circumstances, amidst the murky mud-slinging of the industry, and the demand for justice for a lost son. It was reportedly inspired by the real life story of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Gulati had ventured into the horror genre with Khooni No. 1 (1999), featuring Ramesh Goyal, Sujata Mishra and Amrit Pal. Khooni Kangan (2000) was another horror genre film he directed, starring Govardhan Asrani, Dinesh Hingoo, Shiva Rindani, and Upasana Singh. In 2005, he returned to the horror genre with Gumnaam, starring Tanya Oberoi, Madhur and Parvez. The film was set in a hostel where a character named Rahul exploits the female inmates and even makes one pregnant. When he finds out she is pregnant, he kills her. There are other spoilt rich boys in the hostel who rape a girl but the principal gives them a chance. However, their behaviour does not improve and they end up raping the principal’s daughter. The hostel witnesses many deaths and the boys also start getting killed one after the other. The film explores the mystery behind these killings. 


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