DRACULA IN PAKISTAN
THE LIVING CORPSE
The character of Count Dracula has a popularity that has been spun through almost every culture interpretation ventures to Turkey in Dracula in Istanbul (1953), to the American West in Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1965), Hong Kong/China in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) and Japan in Lake of Dracula (1971). It is rather fascinating seeing Dracula play out in East Indian terms, where the basics are interpreted in terms of Pakistani culture and the dressings in Draculas castle are all typical for the region rather than standard Western studio-bound conceptions of a castle.
Dracula in Pakistan has been made not so much as another version of Bram Stokers Dracula (1897) but as an unofficial remake of Hammers version Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958). (Bollywood films are notorious for shamelessly stealing the entire plots of Hollywood films). The opening copies Horror of Dracula directly with the films equivalent of Jonathan Harker (Asad) going to Draculas castle (although he is not a librarian in this version or even a lawyer as Stoker had him leaving his reasons for visiting the castle unexplained). There are many other scenes copied from the Hammer film such as having Aqil/Harker write in a diary, which is then found after he is killed by the films equivalent of Van Helsing, who is now Aqils brother (Habib). Kh. Sarfaz even copies the staging of entire scenes from Terence Fisher in particular, Draculas dramatic entrance and the scene where Dracula interrupts his wife trying to feast on Harker/Aqil (although here the film has the wonderful additional scene where he tosses her a baby and snarls feast on this).
There are some interesting differences. Like Nosferatu (1922), which had to do so for copyright reasons, the film doesnt call its vampire Dracula. There is also a prologue where he is introduced as a scientist who takes a potion of immortality that transforms him, making this the first time we have seen a vampire created by scientific methods. The characters are also not as distinctive. The films equivalent of Van Helsing is merely Harkers brother, not a vampire hunter steeped in mythological lore, making the character much more mundane than the crusading savant he is in Peter Cushings incarnation in The Horror of Dracula and most other screen Van Helsings. There are variants on classic lines Draculas children of the night what music they make, which was immortalised by Bela Lugosi, becomes Children of the night. But such music will not appeal to city folk like yourself.
Kh. Sarfaz does an okay job directing, even if you feel he has taken all his moves from other classic vampire films. The scene with Deeba waiting in bed for the professor to arrive and he then taking her is quite evocative, as are the scenes with her moving through the graveyard. There is some reasonable climactic running around the castle. Sarfaz also conducts an effective copy of the classic climax from The Horror of Dracula where the vampire is driven back and the drapes whipped open to expose him to sunlight, reducing him to ashes.
The film has an at times completely crazed score, which often uplifts pieces of classical music wholesale, at other times is like experimental jazz and all over the place. The professors wife (Nasreen) even gets to do a dance routine accompanied by sixties-styled Shadows music. There are various other songs and dance numbers throughout just like a typical Bollywood film. One thing that the film does retain from The Horror of Dracula is the vampire as a carnal force seducing the women something that would have been even more alarming transplanted to such a conservative country as Pakistan where even the rather staid dance scenes we have were censored as being too lewd and suggestive.
Other adaptations of Dracula are: the silent classic Nosferatu (1922); the classic Bela Lugosi version Dracula (1931); the Spanish language version Dracula (1931) shot on the same sets as the Lugosi version starring Carlos Villarias; Hammers classic Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958) with Christopher Lee; Count Dracula (1970) a continental production that also featured Christopher Lee; Dracula (1974), a tv movie starring Jack Palance; Count Dracula (1977), a BBC tv mini-series featuring Louis Jourdan; Dracula (1979), a lush remake starring Frank Langella; Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) with Klaus Kinski; Francis Ford Coppolas Bram Stokers Dracula (1992), featuring Gary Oldman; the Italian-German modernised adaptation Dracula (2002) starring Patrick Bergin; Guy Maddins silent ballet adaptation Dracula: Pages from a Virgins Diary (2002); Dracula (2006), the BBC tv adaptation starring Marc Warren; the low-budget modernised Dracula (2009); Dario Argentos Dracula (2012) with Thomas Kretschmann as Dracula; the low-budget Canadian Terror of Dracula (2012) with director Anthony D.P. Mann as Dracula; and the tv series Dracula (2013-4) with Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
(Review Copy Provided by Prodosh Bhattacharya)