20 years of Raaz: Everybody thought I was making a mistake, says Vikram Bhatt

ByTitas Chowdhury
Feb 01, 2022 12:15 AM IST

The filmmaker walks down the memory lane as the horror film finishes 20 years of its release and shares some interesting anecdotes about it

As Raaz (2002) clocks 20 years of its release today, director Vikram Bhatt looks back at the time when he directed the film and recalls how “no one believed in the small film”. He says, “Everybody thought that I was making a mistake. The horror films, which we watched before Raaz, took on the role of a B-grade movie, unfortunately. People thought we were making a similar film. There was a big producer who came to me and said, ‘Kya yaar, tu flop hero aur Ajnabee (2001) ki vamp ke saath picture bana raha hai!’”

‘In a way, Raaz (2002) is a bigger hit than Ghulam (1998)’
‘In a way, Raaz (2002) is a bigger hit than Ghulam (1998)’

Its lead actors Dino Morea and Bipasha Basu Singh Grover weren’t the first choices of the film. Bhatt reveals that it was first offered to actor Anil Kapoor who refused to be a part of a horror film, and that actor Lisa Ray had shot for a portion of the film: “After working with Lisa in Kasoor (2001), she was the first choice for Raaz. But she had some personal issues because of which she couldn’t do the film. We were left in a lurch after that as we didn’t have a heroine. When Dino came in, he said, ‘Why don’t you try out my girlfriend, Bipasha? She’s lovely!’ But I hadn’t heard her name.”

He continues, “We met her and the first time we narrated the film to her, she fell off the sofa. That made me realise that she definitely is the heroine of Raaz. I thought that if in a narration, she can fall off a sofa, she’s definitely the right fit for Sanjana.”

Talking about how Raaz propelled him to fame and acted as a game-changer in his career, Bhatt says, “It put me on the road of making horror films and I’m still making them. It helped me find my genre. I was always on the lookout for a film only I could make. In every filmmaker’s life, there comes a film they find hard to beat. Raaz is that film for me. It’s a badge of honour. It’s still remembered. People still talk about the scenes and the songs. In a way, it’s a bigger hit than Ghulam (1998).”

He credits producer Mahesh Bhatt, music director duo Nadeem-Shravan and the cast including Malini Sharma and Ashutosh Rana for the success of the film. Recalling the day when the horror piece hit the theatres, the director says, “I was fast asleep when Bhatt sab called me. He said, ‘Teri taqdeer jag rahi hai aur tu so raha hai’. He told me that the six o’clock show in the morning was house full. I told him that there must have been a mistake (laughs). It opened fantastically. Elia Kazan (American filmmaker) said that the audiences are like hounds; they can smell a good film. We couldn’t imagine that Raaz would be huge a big hit; all we knew that we were doing something right.”

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