Raat, Bhoot, Phoonk and now, Phoonk 2. He can give you the shivers for sure. But can he run scared too? Ram Gopal Varma admits to some irrational fears too, and narrates some real ghost stories. Believe at your own risk!
‘What if your wife wasn’t sleeping next to you?’
Once I was talking to a friend about fear. I wondered how he’d react if he woke up in the the middle of the night to find the lights switched on and his wife not there next to him. She’s not in the bathroom but she’s in the living room sitting cross-legged on the floor, looking at him with big eyes.
He laughed and said that it would be a scary sight. I explained saying that it’s natural to be afraid because you’re not expecting something like this from someone you’re close to.
A couple of weeks later, he told me that I was right. And now, whenever he woke up and didn’t find his wife near him, he’d get scared. And would be relieved if she came out from the bathroom.‘A guy confessed to all his sins’.During my school days, I had this mask that I’d wear to scare people.
One guy was so terrified that he dropped to his knees and confessed to all his sins believing that I was a devil who had come to punish him. Once when a child started crying, his mother rushed out and started screaming at me to leave her baby alone.
‘I was convinced there were ghosts in my home too’
I was 12 and staying with my uncle during the vacation. I had travelled 80 kilometers to see The Exorcist in a cinema hall. And for the next 10 days, I just couldn’t sleep.I’d get scared even looking at anyone, whether it was my aunt or my sister. All of them looked liked ghosts to me. I’d sleep with the lights on.
To get over that fear, I stopped going out and watched comedies back-to-back. But even that didn’t help. Since I was away from my parents, I couldn’t talk to them. I did try to talk to my uncle and aunt but they were unable to comprehend why I was so terrified.
The point is that when you watch a horror film, you have to give your imagination free rein. You need to be in that emotional frame of mind to ‘enjoy’ it. In The Exorcist, the girl is possessed and the demon had not come from outside but from within the apartment where she lived with her family. I was convinced there were ghosts in my home too.
‘I couldn’t say CandyMan for the fifth time’
Some time after Satya’s release, I saw this film called CandyMan. In it, if you stand in front of the mirror, and say CandyMan five times, he will appear behind you. I was shivering halfway through the movie even though I knew that it was just a fantasy on screen. Later that night, before going to bed, I stood in front of the mirror and said CandyMan four times.
I didn’t have the guts to say it the fifth time. I then tried to sleep but I couldn’t. I felt that something was waiting for me to say Candyman again, so it could pounce on me. That’s what is a good horror film. Even though I was a director with some understanding of the craft, it could still terrify me. But when I narrated the story to some people working on the film, they laughed, but obviously.
‘I thought Manjeet was watching me’
During Bhoot, we were once shooting till about 3 am. I came home and was trying to go to sleep. I have this L-shaped bedroom and got the feeling that Manjeet was watching me. I was pretty psyched out because I had created the character and now I was getting scared.I wanted to get up and reassure myself that there was no one behind the wall, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get up from the bed. I finally turned away from the wall and tried to doze off.
Then I began to hear sounds of footsteps. It was like someone was walking towards me. I knew my mind was playing tricks with me, but the footsteps didn’t stop. I turned around, there was no one.I got up and started laughing. I was angry and amused with myself at the same time. The director in me was telling me Manjeet wasn’t there, she couldn’t be there. But the man in me was insisting that she was.