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An American horror film with references of Indian spiritual traditions and BHAGAVAD GITA - Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing

16 May, 2018 | Articles on Cinema

Indian horror movies are often seen revolving around a spirit or a possessed man/woman with strong references of the Church, eventually ending with the ritual of exorcism performed by the father. At times a cross is also used as a holy instrument to fight and keep away the violent ghost or spirit. And that’s because most of the horror films in India are largely inspired from the west and thus the obvious reference of the Church. In fact, a few ‘Vikram Bhatt’ brand Hindi horror movies, are even based in the west or the protagonist travels to a foreign country and we get to see the actions happening there, again having the strong references of their followed beliefs and rituals.
However, this is about a film, an American horror-psychological drama that follows an exactly opposite path making strong mention of our Indian spiritual traditions as probably the only example of its kind made in the late 70s.
The film is titled AUDREY ROSE released in 1977 and it’s directed by Robert Wise, featuring Anthony Hopkins in the lead role of a man very sure of the reincarnation of his dead daughter. Based on the novel by Frank De Felitta with the same title, it's not a typical horror movie with scary ghost figures or sudden shocks served with loud sound effects as per the routine. But a slow moving psycho venture (on the lines of ROSEMARY BABY) which unusually turns into a court room drama towards its emotionally moving end.
Perhaps the only horror film that leads to a court room case in search of a solution, here we also get to see an Indian Spiritual Guru called in for his statement on reincarnation in the court. And The Guru explains the Indian traditional belief for the concept in a detailed discourse mentioning the never dying soul, its several births, the spiritual search and the ultimate salvation (along with visuals of Indian holy places, saints and chants).
Without revealing much about its basic plot, the film revolves around Anthony Hopkins who had lost his daughter a few years ago, but now strongly believes she is back taking her next birth in a different family. Supporting his firm belief, he mentions how he had gone through a difficult phase after the death of his daughter in an accident and how his life changed after meeting a psychic and then travels made to India, meeting spiritual masters, meditating and understanding life in a new (alien) manner.
Further ending on a tragic note, again mentioning Anthony's stay in India, the film ends with a quote from THE BHAGAVAD GITA saying,
"There is no end. For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does it ever cease to be. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval..."

No doubt, these rare features surely make AUDREY ROSE a film to be essentially seen once, particular for those who truly believe in the concept of The Immortal Soul.


(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App in May 2018) 

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