We all want happy endings, but open-ended conclusions are more satisfying. A film’s climax is its high point. It leaves the audience with a sense of finality, whether triumphant or tragic. However, some films end in an ambiguous yet riveting manner, leaving the audience to ponder the various possibilities and reach their own conclusion.
There have been several such ‘open-ended’ films in Bollywood, which has also contributed to their enduring popularity. Here are 10 Bollywood films with endings that still confuse audiences.
Sriram Raghavan steered away from the tried and tested in Andhadhun. The title itself confused audiences and the carefully crafted trailer increased the curiosity. Ayushmann Khurrana plays Akash, an apparently blind musician. Even though he’s not born blind, he maintains that he turned blind after being hit by a cricket ball in his childhood.
Soon, we realise that he’s not blind as he witnesses a murder and wants to report it. Hence, the suspect Simi (Tabu) damage his eyesight by deception. After a dangerous cat and mouse game and Tabu’s death, Akash becomes a blind pianist in London. While still “blind”, he hits a can on the road with his walking stick, which had a rabbit that looked like the one that caused Simi’s death.
Was he ever blind? As Simi was killed in an accident, the cornea would be too damaged for a transplant. Akash mentions to Simi that he could see a little with his one eye. Is that why he could spot the can? Did he undergo a cornea transplant after gaining success, but is still acting blind for creative ‘focus’, like the beginning. The movie leaves you with many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.
The film was based on the Arushi-Hemant double murder case and the confusing facts around it. Similar to the case in real life, the movie also ended rose many questions. It presented three sides to the case, leaving the viewers to make their own interpretations
Whether or not Arushi’s parents were the main culprits, or were they convicted falsely. The final scene is just the couple looking at the camera before walking into the prison.
3. No Smoking
Starring John Abraham, No Smoking was directed by Anurag Kashyap. It is a complex movie and packed with metaphors at every step. The protagonist K, who has no redeeming qualities, is our point-of-view. This was Kashyap’s first released venture after his first two movies were banned, the creator’s anger and helplessness is reflected in the movie.
Smoking symbolizes the freedom of expression. K visits a rehabilitation center to quit smoking as everyone believes that is what is good for him. The rehab heads symbolize unquestioned authority figures. K goes through hell to quit the habit and is tortured. He even loses the two fingers used for smoking and is put in a gas chamber. He is released after signing a cheque of 21 Lakh with a warning that his family will be killed if he smokes again.
The movie is not pro or anti smoking, it is anti-authority.
Drishyam starred Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Shriya Saran. It is a gripping murder mystery of a police officer’s son going missing. Ajay Devgn’s family is the one suspected of murder and he crosses all boundaries to save them.
The police try and find the teenage boy’s body but are unable to find it and prove the murder. In the end, Ajay Devgn is seen walking out of the police station without any charges and the audience sees how he hid the body right under the police station while it was under construction.
5. Bhoot: The Haunted Ship
It followed the story of a shipping officer who has to save a girl who has been stuck inside a haunted ship. At the end, Vicky Kaushal is seen having a meal with the girl he just saved after a tumultuous time.
In the next scene, the room is empty and someone just passes by the room in a flash. This makes it a confusing ending and confuses the audience whether the girl is still possessed, or is there anyone else present in the house.
The horror-comedy film discussed the story of a village who is feared by a woman, who attacks men during festivals. Rajkummar Rao along with his friends decides to solve the mystery. In the end, the village is seen as a safe place too and it is depicted that Stree leaves their village.
Just then, Shraddha Kapoor too leaves the village on a bus and it is assumed that she was a witch too, while Stree hovers outside the village at her shrine.
7. Khilauna- Ajeeb Daastan
Khilauna is a story of two orphan sisters, Meenal and Binny. The two are forced to work at a man’s house who tried to molest Meenal in front of Binny. They take care of his household chores and Meenal looks after his baby, making Binny jealous. After a power cut at a party, the baby goes missing and sets everyone in panic. Soon, she is found inside a cooker which is put on the gas. The police officer talks to Binny and checks her bag, which has the baby’s toy.
She was the one who killed Baby. She compared the rich one’s baby to a toy, much like how the rich do to them. Binny witnessed the molestation might have fueled her motives and Meenal’s affections for the baby too.
8. Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
The movie had grief as its main theme. Wonderfully directed by Reema Kagti, it revolves around Aamir’s character, Surjan trying to deal with the loss of his eight years old son and solving a case with the help of Rosie, who turns out to be a ghost eventually.
The film explores the angle that maybe how sometimes, in order to make peace with life, we tend to believe in the unnatural. The movie ends with Surjan giving peace to the troubled spirit of Simran (Rosie) and finding a letter from his dead son, Karan, making him reconcile with Roshni. The ending was not understood properly by many viewers.
9. Being Cyrus
Being Cyrus is an obsessive, inconclusive, disorderly, and strangely humane story about an outsider struggling to get inside himself. Murders occur back to back. Katy and Dinshaw are taken by the police for interrogation. She constantly blames Cyrus for the murders, but the police find no evidence of any person named Cyrus existing in Panchgani. Katy and Dinshaw are arrested for the murders, while Tina is sent home after being told that she was lucky to be away at that time.
A few months later, Tina is in her apartment when Cyrus arrives to finish the last murder. Instead, the pair embrace and it is revealed that they are actually siblings. The murders were an elaborate plot concocted by Tina to inherit the Sethna property. With Fardoonjee and Farrokh dead, and Katy and Dinshaw incarcerated, the plan has succeeded. While Tina is showering, Cyrus sees a newspaper where Tina has marked another prominent, wealthy family for this scheme. Unwilling to participate in this murderous scheme any further, Cyrus flees with their stolen money, leaving Tina alone.
10. Behrupiya- Ray
Hiding behind prosthetics, the protagonist Indrashish becomes confident and bold. Emboldened, he sits in entrance of a holy man and and asks for his blessing. The holy man says that he can’t “learn” his face. Indrashish tells him a false title, however the holy man insists that he’s unreadable. Annoyed, he walks away. Indrashish then gets obsessive about creating a brand-new disguise and notices posters of an escaped rapist named Rakesh Singh. He crafts an intricate facial disguise and goes again to the holy man. This time, the holy man acknowledges Indrashish and shockingly mentions his deceased grandmother. The holy man goes on to say that Indrashish is a good person and offers him an opportunity to disclose his real name. However, he confidently insists that his name is Rakesh Singh, the holy man smiles and says that his want is granted. To his horror, people begin to acknowledge the disguised Indrashish as the escaped rapist. The make-up refuses to come off, even after he puts a pin in his eye to remove the contact lens.
There are supernatural undertones in this episode, with the holy man’s phrases coming true. The holy man tries to convey that Indrashish is a good man without altering his look to run from his troubles. The holy man, then, seals the destiny of Indrashish as Rakesh Singh. The curse primarily seals his facial options in order that he can’t change them again. Sadly, with an offended mob, Indrashish most certainly kills, or critically injures, himself to lift off his own gifted curse. Since nobody would believe him, even if he survives, he would probably spend his life in jail or on the run.
Was Akash really blind…? Sorry, we’re still trying to decipher Andhadhun.