The film opens with a scene taking place some 200 years ago, with the royal procession of Raja Harimansingh of the sultanate of Bijapur, stranded near the Kali Pahari (literally, black mountain). The Raja is concerned because his daughter Princess Rupali has disappeared near the lair of the devil-worshipper Samri (Anirudh Agarwal). The princess wanders into the ruins of an old fortress and is promptly captured and tortured by the villainous Samri. His trademark attack is mesmerizing the hapless victim apparently sucking out their life force through the eyes, causing their natural eyes to be replaced with demonic white shades. During this process, Samri's eyes gleam blood red. Raja Harimansingh catches Samri in this terrible act and orders the soldiers to capture him.
Samri is put on trial, where his terrible litany of crimes is read. He has performed various heinous acts to please his demonic spirit masters and enhance his own evil powers. He has raped and disembowelled newly-wed brides; he has mutilated and cannibalized young children; he has — it shocks the crier as he reads out this charge — exhumed corpses for sacrifice and eating; and he has terrorized the hamlets surrounding Bijapur with his reign of evil. While the rajpurohit (royal priest) suggests Samri be subjected to pure Agni i.e. to be cremated, the Raja proposes another sentence—Samri is to be decapitated, with the headless body to be buried behind the old temple at Kalighat and the head secured in a strong-box to be kept at the Raja's haveli (mansion). The strongbox is chained with a trishul as advised by the rajpurohit (trident, the weapon of the Hindu God Shiva) to hold the evil in thrall. Samri pronounces his curse upon the Raja: "So long as my head is away from my body, every woman in your line shall die at childbirth; and when my head is rejoined to my body, I will arise and wipe out every living person in your dynasty."
As the years pass, the princely states merge into the Indian republic, and the great-great-grandson of Raja Harimansingh, Thakur Ranvir Singh (veteran actor Pradeep Kumar, known for his royal roles), now resides in the city. Samri is long gone, but not forgotten. His evil legend is passed from father to son in the Harimansingh clan, and his sinister curse occurs with each generation. Ranvir Singh's wife died at the birth of his daughter Suman (Aarti Gupta). Suman, now a college student, has a boyfriend Sanjay (Mohnish Behl) and they spend most of their young love frolicking in pools, the beach and nightclubs. One the Thakur learns about their relations, he severely disapproves of their relationship ostensibly because Sanjay is not of royal birth. (The real reason is that any man who marries Suman must endure her inevitable death when their child arrives.)
Suman is unaware of the ancient curse and resolute in her love, and Sanjay is steadfast in standing by her. They try to confront the intractable Thakur and the latter succumbs and reveals the curse which has been terrorizing their families for 200 years. Sanjay finally understands the father and walks out on Suman. However Suman leaves her home in the middle of the night and convinces Sanjay to accompany her to Bijapur where they can track and, if possible, to investigate the sordid tale put an end to the demonic barrier to their love. They head down to Bijapur accompanied by Sanjay's bosom buddy Anand (Puneet Issar) with his wife Sapna.
They undertake a frightening journey to Bijapur. After their car blows a flat, they are met by an old toothless hag Mangli and her mysterious son Durjan (Sadashiv Amrapurkar) who is the cook andchowkidar (caretaker) of the Harimansingh haveli. There is also a deformed woodcutter Sanga (Satish Shah) who makes fast friends with Durjan but secretly believes there is a treasure buried somewhere in the haveli.
The haveli has a painting of Raja Harimansingh; this painting shifts its gaze when Suman looks at it; and the eerie likeness of Samri appears through it. Various other sinister events (creaking beds, flaming torch lamps and random winds) somehow lead Anand and Sanjay to smash the wall behind the painting and uncover the strong box that holds Samri's head. Misinterpreting the head to be potentially that of a brave soldier who incurred the king's displeasure, they head back with the intention of sealing the wall the next day. Unfortunately Sanga and Durjan notice the whole incident. Sanga, already biased with self-created visions of treasure, yields to his temptations (believing the treasure is within the box) and detaches the trishul.
Samri's undead head mesmerizes him putting him into a trance. Sanga brings the head to the body behind the old temple and rejoins it in a gruesome ritual by piercing his hand with a dagger and the blood falls on Samri's neck, making Samri whole. With the hatred of 200 years under him, Samri begins his murderous rampage to eliminate the descendants of Raja Harimansingh and once again wreaks evil all over the surrounding hamlets.
The townsfolk are unprepared to deal with evil of such magnitude. Misunderstandings and tensions claim the lives of many townspeople and Anand meets a horrific death at the hands of Samri. The remainder barely withstand the onslaught when Thakur Ranvir Singh arrives. He relates the legend but he, too, does not know the means to defeat the bloodthirsty Samri.
Despondent, the townsfolk seek refuge at the temple as Samri cannot enter that holy ground. They perform aarti (lamp adornment) to Lord Shiva. Divine guidance comes before Sanjay; the trishul holds the key to check the monster. Sanjay and Suman return to the haveli to seek the trishul and offer a battle to Samri. Unbeknown to them, Durjan had moved the trishul to a different location within the haveli itself. Sanjay and Suman find themselves trapped in the haveli while being hunted by the bloodthirsty Samri.
- Genre: Horror
- Runtime: 144 min
Purana Mandir (Hindi for The Old Temple) is a 1984 Hindi feature film, produced and directed by the Ramsay brothers. It is a horror film chronicling the story of the monster-demon, Samri. The Soundtrack were composed by Ajit Singh.