For someone who’s launched new talent in the industry with horror films like Raaz (2002) and 1920 (2008), Vikram Bhatt denies relaunching Mahakshay Chakraborty aka Mimoh. His reasoning being that horror is a genre that sells on fear. "Horror films are not sold on big stars," he says, quickly adding, "You won’t usually see major stars cast in horror films abroad. Fear, by itself, is an attraction."
The filmmaker divulges that he was to team up with Mithun Chakraborty’s son earlier, but things didn’t work out. "But when he walked into my office, sporting short hair, having lost all that weight, he didn’t look like the Jimmy boy. He looked exactly like the kind of guy I was looking for Haunted," Bhatt says.
Is this his scariest film? "Financially?" he laughs, adding, "It is terrifying. But I underplay the horror, as opposed to some other filmmakers who overplay the factor." Is he hinting at Ram Gopal Varma, also known for his spookfests like Raat (1992), Bhoot (2003) and Darna Mana Hai (2003)?
He laughs again, saying, "If you tell people you’re going to scare the daylights out of them, they will come in bold. Then you have to deliver 10 on 10 to actually scare them," he explains.
Bhatt maintains that Haunted is a love story, despite the horror. “Films that have worked for us are not typical horror films. We have wholesome stories, right from Mahal (1949) to Bees Saal Baad (1962),” he elaborates.
As for 3D, Bhatt concedes that it’s an adornment to enhance the movie. “But 3D can’t be a story,” he reasons. “If the story touches you and works in 2D, it will also work in 3D.”
Even though films are not working at the box-office, Bhatt is undeterred by the ongoing Indian Premiere League. “IPL affects only night shows, a film with big stars like Salman Khan or Aamir Khan affects the entire week,” he states matter-of-factly. Thanks to India’s World Cup win, he feels the IPL craze is less than before.
“And with more teams and reshuffling of players, there’s an overkill,” he concludes.