With an opening collection of Rs 11.05 crore, Raaz 3 (2012) proved several detractors wrong. It also went against the theory that horror has no takers. What’s surprised the trade even more is that the collections have grown over the week.
Vikram Bhatt, who returned to Vishesh Films a decade after Raaz (2002) to take the franchise forward, is understandably elated. He argues that neither trade pundits nor critics understand his business model: “None of my horror films — Raaz (2002), 1920 (2008), Shaapit (2009), Haunted 3D (2011) or Raaz 3 — got good reviews, yet were hits. There’s a disconnect between the critics’ opinion and the common man who enjoys stories on black magic.” So when does Raaz 4 roll? “It’s not happening immediately, but my association with Mukeshji (Mukesh Bhatt) and Bhatt saaab (Mahesh Bhatt) and my friend Bipasha (Basu), who thoroughly deserves this success, will continue,” insists Vikram who’s gearing up for the release of 1920 — The Evil Returns. This one may not be as big as the star-studded Raaz 3, but he’s confident it will “deliver”.
But he doesn’t plan to take the 1920 franchise further without a good plot. “The only sequel I’m writing is Hate Story 2, which will roll by November. Then I’ll start developing 13th Floor, a horror film that I’ll direct early next year,” says Vikram. He’s unlikely to repeat the Raaz 3 cast, but promises to cast big names. That too will be in 3D. “I brought 3D to Hindi movies with Haunted 3D and have raised the bar since. Our illiterate critics (sic) may not have been impressed with Raaz 3’s state-of-art effects but the New York Times review praised it,” he says. “With 13th Floor, I plan to extend the experience to the theatre, so a viewer feels that he’s actually on the 13th floor!”