Gone are the days when Indian horror was synonymous with Ramsay Brothers cinema. Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche (1972), Purana Mandir (1984), Saamri (1985), Veerana (1985) Tahkhana (1986), Dak Bangla (1987), Purani Haveli (1989), Shaitani Ilaaka and Bandh Darwaza (both 1990) were some of the film that were successful at the box office. The USP of these B-grade movies was their low budget.
Raaz 3 starring Emraan Hashmi, Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta probably is the costliest and one of the most successful horror movies of recent times. Made on a budget of Rs. 25 crore, the film has collected over Rs. 60 crore in two weeks. Is horror genre here to stay? Will it get bigger than this? Let's explore.
Horror genre in Bollywood kicked off as early as 1940s. The cult horror movies like Mahal, Bees Saal Baad and Bhoot Bungla worked well commercially at the time. But somewhere down the line, the genre lost its sheen.
Then entered Ram Gopal Varma. His romance with horror started with Raat. The film was written, produced and directed by him. It starred Revathi in the role of protagonist Manisha (Mini) Sharma.
Low budget, big moolah
Vikram Bhatt stepped into the scene a decade later with Raaz, but managed to up the ante. The low budget movie starring Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea was the second most successful movie at the box office that year. It collected Rs. 37 crore and the market for scary movies got a major boost.
Ramu who mastered the art of making spooky cinema got back to the genre with Bhoot (2003). The film starring Urmila Matondkar and Ajay Devgn was a reasonable success at the box office. The film was made on a shoestring budget.
While the big budget films like Drona and Kidnap fell flat at the box office, a film made on the budget of Rs. 8 crore, 1920 (2008), did a brisk business. Directed by Vikram Bhatt, the horror flick starred debutant actors Rajniesh Duggall and Adah Sharma.
The same year, Ramu came out with Phoonk. The film dealt with the subject of black magic. The film was made on a budget of Rs. 3 crore and made Rs. 31 cr at the box office.
How 3D horror works
Vikram Bhatt did the unbelievable. He made a 3D horror film on a budget of Rs. 8.5 crore and managed to garner Rs. 35 crore.
The secret behind his 'scary' success? Vikram Bhatt told IANS in an interview: "It is not easy to scare the audience because they can even make fun of your film very easily. You need to find new ways to scare them because if you repeat the same thing again and again, people will get used to it."
RGV and Vikram Bhatt are now cashing in on their brands. While RGV would be back with Bhoot Returns soon, Vikram Bhatt is ready with the sequel of 1920 titled 1920 - Evil Returns.
The film is directed by Bhushan Patel starring Aftab Shivdasani, Tia Bajpai and Vidya Malvade and is being produced under the banner of BVG Films (A Division of ASA Productions & Enterprises Pvt Ltd). Written by Vikram Bhatt and Amin Hajee and featuring lyrics by Shakeel Azmi, 1920 - Evil Returns promises to be a hair-raising thriller.
Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot Returns is also a 3D movie. The director had told IANS: "Technically, it would work. While watching a horror film sitting in a theatre you are seeing it happen to someone else on the screen. But a 3D film is a medium which makes you feel you are there with them, on location may be. The illusion it creates is because of the third dimension. Because of that I think the technique has terrific application in a horror film, if rightly done," Varma said.
Ramu was always fascinated with horror films. "I always had this obsession to scare people. When I was a kid, I used to stand behind the door and say ‘bhoooo’ to someone entering the room and now I am making (horror) films," Varma told IANS in an interview.
UPCOMING HORROR FILMS
Bhoot returns: The film is a sequel to the 2003 film Bhoot directed by RGV. The first trailer of Bhoot returns premiered in theatres with the release of Raaz 3. It features a little girl playing with a partly visible spirit in the living room in the wee hours and the scene is being captured on a webcam. The trailer was certified an "A" rating from the Censor board of India.
Release Date: October 12, 2012
1920 - Evil Returns: Aftab Shivdasani plays a poet, rich man, who is devastated by a love he had lost. He lives the life of an alcoholic, wondering what his mission in life might be. Then one day he finds a young girl, played by Tia, washed up on a lake shore.
He brings her home to learn that she has no memory of the past and that she has brought a spirit along with her, a spirit that sought to destroy her.
Aftab vows to protect her but the spirit has other plans. It possesses her. To save her from the possession, Aftab needs to know what Tia had done to incur the wrath of the spirit. ....but then she has no memory. To save her he needs to find her past that even she does not remember.....and then time is running out!
Release Date: November 2, 2012
Aatma: Aatma, directed by Suparn Varma of Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena and Acid Factory fame, revolves around Bipasha's character and her experience with a spirit.
A set has been specially built on the 21st floor of a building in Andheri for the shooting of Aatma as the story takes place in an apartment in a building. The film has a major twist in the climax and to maintain the confidentiality, only Bipasha, director Suparn Varma and the producers, Kumar Mangat and Abhishek Pathak have the complete script.
Release Date: Not available
SCARY MOVIES WITH A DIFFERENCE
Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
One stormy night, a doctor offers a ride to a ghostly woman he meets on the side of the road. Later, he discovers his intended bride is identical in appearance to the ghost. Who was she and why does she haunt him? The film starred Sadhana, Manoj Kumar, Parveen Choudhary and K.N. Singh.
A young lawyer is involved with a ghostly woman in his new house, where the builder and his fianc?e died shortly after it was built. (165 mins.) It starred Ashok Kumar, Madhubala, M. Kumar, Vijayalaxmi.
Bees Saal Baad (1962)
After a lusty Thakur rapes a young girl, she kills herself. Thereafter, the Thakur is killed by what the local people call the girl's vengeful spirit... The film starred Biswajeet, Waheeda Rehman, Manmohan Krishna, Madan Puri.
13B: Fear Has a New Address (2009)
In today's world, the major source of relief, information and entertainment is the TV. But what happens when television becomes a scare to your life. The film stars Madhavan, Neetu Chandra, Poonam Dhillon, Sachin Khedekar.