Bollywood is tak­ing su­per­nat­u­ral se­ri­ously

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - Front Page - Shreya Mukher­jee shreya.mukher­

A mid the con­ver­sa­tions in Bollywood on biopics, women-cen­tric movies etc, a less feted genre has been qui­etly ex­pand­ing its base. There’s a steady stream of hor­ror/su­per­nat­u­ral films that are a far cry from the near-com­i­cal ghost movies of the 1980s-90s. While the past year saw Phillauri, Dobaara: See Your Evil, and Gol­maal Again, this year’s list has 1921, Pari, Nanu Ki Jaanu, and Stree. These are fronted by ma­jor stars such as Anushka Sharma, Tabu, Ajay Devgn, Shraddha Kapoor, Ab­hay Deol, Ra­jkum­mar Rao, Huma Qureshi and Pari­neeti Cho­pra.

Trade ex­pert Atul Mo­han says that the hor­ror genre, at one point, had been low on bud­get, with its own au­di­ence. Things changed with Ram Gopal Varma’s so­phis­ti­cated films, Kaun (1999), Bhoot (2003), and Naina (2005), all star­ring Ur­mila Ma­tond­kar.

Mo­han adds, “In the re­cent past, one or two films in this genre would have A-lis­ters, such as Shah Rukh Khan in Pa­heli (2005), Akshay Ku­mar in Bhool Bhu­laiyaa (2007), or Ka­reena Kapoor in Talaash (2012). I think a lot of them are do­ing this now be­cause ac­tors are ready to go be­yond masala films and reg­u­lar love sto­ries.”

Anushka Sharma, who played the ghost Shashi in Phillauri and will be seen in Pari next, said in an ear­lier in­ter­view, “It was fun to play a non-liv­ing char­ac­ter, be­cause nor­mally we play char­ac­ters that are in the flesh... I think I’ve rep­re­sented the ghost com­mu­nity well.” Pari pro­ducer Prernaa Arora feels that “hor­ror films are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in In­dia”.

What makes a hor­ror film tick? For trade an­a­lyst Omar Qureshi, “two things that are key are back­ground score and spe­cial ef­fects”. Far­haz Haider, di­rec­tor of Nanu Ki Jaanu, also be­lieves, “Hor­ror films de­serve a re­al­is­tic treat­ment, or else how will it con­vince the au­di­ence?”

For film­maker Vikram Bhatt, known for his brand of hor­ror films — the Raaz se­ries, 1920 (2008), and Shaapit (2010) — su­per­nat­u­ral films still need drama. “The su­per­nat­u­ral films I’ve made have ac­tu­ally been love sto­ries. I’ve seen that films mi­nus good hu­man drama don’t do well,” he says.

I think a lot of them are do­ing this now as ac­tors are ready to go be­yond masala films. ATUL MO­HAN AN­A­LYST


Top: A still from the film, 1921; Above: Anushka Sharma and Ra­jkum­mar Rao are do­ing films in the hor­ror genre

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