Fear has a new address: Bollywood

What with Mahesh Bhatt’s (often plagiarized) Vishesh films announcing a third installment of the ghastly Raaz (tagline: The mystery gets even more boring) and Percept launching its own horror film division, the question is, will Bollywood track the success that the horror genre has enjoyed in the US?

To be sure, we have the elements in place – a bunch of audiences (the college youth, the itinerant workforce, the Ram Sene panty-freaks) who can be fed the same low-budget, exploitative sex and gore formula which continues to send US teens into a tizzy; a healthy appreciation of the supernatural, a definite fondness for schadenfreue and a peculiarity which can, at a pinch, be deployed to terrify even the most hardy horror fan – the creepy lady in the white sari.

Rediff has this great slideshow tracing the history of the genre – from Mahmood’s early screamfests to Ram Gopal Verma’s sense-assaulting nightmares.

sorry - what was that title again?

sorry - what was that title again?

But if BIG Pictures expects to replicate the success of Dimension Films, which produced BOTH the most successful horror (Halloween, Scream, Hellraiser) and horror spoof (Scary Movie) franchises, it has to do better than 13b – which, going by the promotional material, looks to be a total yawnfest.

The film’s posters are particularly laughable – at a time when Indian film poster design has moved resolutely into the realm of the slick, and, dare I say, the eclectic – these inexpertly lit and sparsely conceived ads look like a student effort for an anti-Balaji campaign.

this is not scary

so the guy's frustrated at the quality of his tv reception - why is that scary?

now THIS is scary

now THIS is scary

Speaking of Balaji, Ekta Kapoor is someone who should seriously consider the horror genre – she could repurpose her makeup teams, her sound effect people and indeed most members of her wild-looking cast. The only problem is, none of them ever die…

this is just plain terrifying

and THIS is just plain terrifying

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2 comments

  1. Jai

    I think that the quality of horror cinema will catch up. We’ve already seen some encouragement in Bhoot (ok, the end was ghastly) and Darna Mana Hai (agreed that the apple episode was even more over the top than Shilpa Shetty’s expressions) but you have to acknowledge that we’ve come a long way since Ramsay’s Veerana, Samri or Tehekhana (all of which I watched as a child, I confess, terrified out of my wits!). Also, worth noting that a big reason these films are made in this manner is that there is actually a huge audience for fake dracula fangs and benadril red eyes. Don’t believe me? Try tuning into Aahat or Sshhh..phir koi hai on Star; don’t know the TRPs but if the shrieks of our servants at home are anything to go by, I bet they are soaring! Bottom line – Think there’s some time before we see a Bollywood equivalent of ‘The Others’ but we’ll get there – ab raat hone ko hai!
    PS: Good point on Ekta Kapoor – she might want to start with Ba, who at this point might have outlived all her serials.

  2. whattothink

    Jai
    Please see the comments from Percept’s Shailendra Singh in this press release. He suggests that Indian “Horrortainment” will scale spine-tingling heights – on the back of a (very original) formula of great music, great marketing and great directors, such as Priyadarshan, the “intellectual and brilliant” mind behind such “masterpieces” as Virasat and Hera Pheri.

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