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HORROR - The genre, which can still bring in the crowd with just marginal publicity and no Big Stars. (Part Two) - By Bobby Sing

26 Aug, 2013 | Articles on Cinema

(Continued from the Part One)
In the new millennium, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra came up with his first film based on an experimental script dealing with the horror genre differently titled Aks (2001) featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai playing two difficult roles. But the result was not encouraging enough and even worst was the case with veteran Raj Kumar Kohli trying to revive his hit formula with a trashy Jaani Dushman (2002).
Nevertheless, since the viewers were already ready with a new mindset after watching the world class quality cinema on several international movie channels streaming right into their homes, the change was inevitable and it did come with the success of two path-breaking films namely Raaz in 2002 and Bhoot in 2003 (the latter yet again conceived by RGV). The unexpected hits brought forward two new mentors of horror movies, Ram Gopal Varma and Vikram Bhatt to rule the horror genre for a while. And thus our Hindi Cinema moved forward from the Ramsay era to the new age Ram-Vikram era post 2003, along with a worth mentioning children’s thriller/horror film by Vishal Bhardwaj as Makdee. Here a worth mentioning interesting point is that where Vikram’s Raaz was all inspired from a English hit, RGV’s Bhoot was in fact a remake of his own Raat released a decade before that didnt work at the box office. In other words, RGV was rightly so confident and ahead of the times in his futuristic vision (way back in the early 90s) and he strongly proved his point well after a decade (in 2003) with the instant success of Bhoot, which was just Raat revisited again with a new backdrop.
So after the initial hiccup, the new millennium began favourably with these two films, followed by many better quality and fresh concept based horror movies directed by some reputed names (including many sequels too), much ahead than those typical, poor, B-C-grade ventures witnessed earlier.
However, there were two noteworthy points which actually caused this timely revolution in the set pattern followed by Horror movies in India as given below:
Firstly now we were having our own corporate productions houses associating with the big & famous Hollywood studios, who very well knew how these horror movies need to be conceptualized and marketed without going into the cheap B-C grade format followed earlier. 
And secondly, now the ‘essential sex element’ was also being dealt in a much more elegant manner in these films, thankfully raising their standard giving them a timely upgrade.
The CHANGE positively resulted in a much wider audience base in just a couple of years. And now one could see the youngsters as well as families visiting the theaters to watch horror films in particular bringing in the new hope.
Therefore beginning from 2002-03, suddenly the genre became hugely viable and a result oriented one for the costly multiplexes too and there were number of horror movies released in the next few years as: 
Hawa, Darna Mana Hai (2003)
Rakht, Vaastu-Shaastra, Hum Kaun Hai (2004)
Kaal, Naina, Anjaane (2005)
Aatma, Ho Sakta Hai, Darna Zaroori Hai, Eight Shani (2006)
Gauri, Darling, Bhool Bhulaiya (2007)
Phoonk, 1920, Bhoothnath (2008)
Raaz: The Mystery Continues, 13b, Agyaat (2009)
Click, Shaapit, Phoonk 2, Help, Mallika, Hiss, A Flat, Kaalo (2010)
Haunted, Ragini Mms, Agaah: The Warning (2011)
Ghost, ? Question Mark, Bhoot Returns, 1920 Evil Returns (2012)
3G, Ek Thi Daayan, Horror Story, Go Goa Gone (2013) & may be more. 
Gauri The Unborn ChildBut along with this new revolution, the good old Ramsay kind of movies were also constantly being made for their particular section of viewers like Aatma, Ghutan, Bachao, Dafan & Khooni Tantrik, which were mostly distributed in the smaller centers and later sold in the home video market at a very cheap price.
Besides many worth praising thoughtful attempts were seen among the routine, mixing the horror element with a social message or comedy in movies such as Gauri The Unborn (dealing with the female foeticide issue), Bhootnath (talking about family togetherness), Bhool Bhulaiya (featuring traditional heritage in a comic way) and Go Goa Gone (dealing with zombies in an enjoyable funny manner).
Looking at the dark side of this scenario, the avoidable sex and skin show did make a re-entry in the genre with films such as Ragini MMS and two front-runner directors sadly remained unable to continue with their initial successes apart from Vishal Bhardwaj disappointing a lot with his Ek Thi Daayan. Where Vikram Bhatt managed to give only a couple of clean hits in his 1920 series (others as non-performers), Ram Gopal Varma on the other hand failed to come up with any big hit among his horror movies post Bhoot, raising a very obvious and relevant question that ‘How this genre manages to survive, when almost 85-90% of the above mentioned movies were actually flop?”.
Answering this valid query I would like to say, that the secret of their survival formula firstly lies in their comparatively low budget of production, which can be recovered reasonably with a proper release (as provided by the reputed production houses) and other sales of rights. Their limited publicity campaign more relying on the shock value doesn’t require big number of spots on all the major TV channels like other big films. And lastly but most importantly, the horror genre enjoys a very wide and an ‘always in demand’ kind of market in the theater as well as in home video circle wherein people are constantly looking for the new DVDs, coming from all age groups ranging from the very young to the very old, actually becoming the major (long run) source of returns for this genre in particular.
In support of the above statement, there are several examples of films which may not have worked well at the box office or were declared flop, but had a fairly good run (later) in the home video market and are still in demand as the best sellers. Putting it differently the viewers are very much ready and interested in enjoying all those spooky thrills & shocks while sitting in their homes and that is the reason there are hundreds of 2-in-1, 3-in-1 or even 5-in-1 DVDs being circulated in the market (with 1 known and other lesser known horror films made in 80s & 90s) released by almost all big and small home video companies in the business. Moreover there is a huge market of dubbed Horror films too, featuring both foreign as well as regional scary movies dubbed in Hindi.
Amusingly the astonishing euphoria around these horror movies made before 2000 also influenced director Ashim Ahluwalia to make a dramatic film on this B-C-grade horror & semi-porn film industry called Miss Lovely in 2012, which was also screened in the reputed Cannes Film Festival held in the same year.
On a concluding note, at present ‘The Horror genre” is the only one which can still bring in a decent number of crowds in the theaters with just marginal (quality) publicity and no big star or face value. And this is exactly what I felt while watching few of the recent Hindi horror movies wherein there were more people sitting in its first show itself, than the ones watching a big film released on the same day featuring a known star. But since we are not really making some good horror movies nowadays, the encouraging initial response gets lost in the subsequent days, resulting in flops which are then immediately released in the home video circuit (to cover their basic cost).
Honestly the thought of writing on this evergreen and one of most favourite genres of film buffs came to my mind while watching the recent Hit English horror flick The Conjuring.

The ConjuringThough it was being shown in only 1 (morning) show in a central Delhi’s famous multiplex, it was also the 3rd week of its release quite surprisingly and the theater was almost full of students and viewers in the age group of 18 to 30. The students were buying tickets in big groups and the security people were having a tough time searching their heavy carry bags full of books and other stuff. During the screening, every sudden shock at the screen was greeted with loud shouts and each silent moment was quickly filled with some funny comments coming from various directions unanimously cheered by all. The several groups of young boys and girls together were enjoying the scary experience a lot and the movie too had enough to serve their horror hungers well in its superbly directed two hours. And this was all happening in the 3rd week of its release, without any major publicity campaign running either on any TV channels, print media or the internet.
The pleasant experience forced me to think that if only our Hindi Film Industry can come up with an exceptionally good horror film on the lines of Bhoot or The Conjuring, then there will be simply no need of spending so much on the publicity or investing in a big star. The Hindi film viewers have always shows their keen interest to watch a good spooky film without any of the above mentioned support, but we really haven’t served them well with some worth watching Horror films on a regular basis since long.
So with a hope that the gap would be filled soon by one of the upcoming directors of our Industry grabbing the opportunity first, I would love to watch one of my favourite horror flicks ‘Purana Mandir’ once again and feel the nostalgia.
Bobby Sing
( Written Expressions - All Rights Reserved - 2013)
The two articles on ‘Horror Genre’ were written at BTC in the year 2013 and here is a quick update on the subject describing the scenario in the next four years till 2017.
The year 2014 saw the most releases in horror genre in the recent times as Trip To Bhangarh, Darr@The Mall, Gang of Ghosts, Miss Lovely (on the horror film makers), Ragini MMS 2, Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai, Pizza, Creature, 3 AM, Mumbai 125 KM and 6-5=2 along with Ramsay’s making a comeback too with Neighbors, which unfortunately didn’t even get a wide or well publicized release. Ironically this year Ragini MMS 2 yet  again made another desperate attempt to bring in the avoidable sleaze, casting the infamous Sunny Leone for the obvious reasons, but couldn’t make any solid dent at the box office (fortunately).
The disappointing run continued in 2015 with Alone, Khamoshiyan, NH-8 Road To Nidhivan and Bhoothnath Returns followed by 1920 London, Raaz Reboot and Saansein in 2016 along with two distinctive horror-comedies as Great Grand Masti and Tutak Tutak Tutiyan also falling flat at the box office.
However the most significant development post 2012-13 remained the rise of YOUTUBE channel online with loads of official uploads of almost all horror films till date including the ones that were obscure or rarely released in the home video market before. In fact many got to see a lot of missed horror movies on youtube itself in the last few years uploaded by their legal right owners or the fans themselves. 
The Year 2016 also witnessed the introduction of paid streaming websites like Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix and more, giving options of watching Indian regional language horror movies too with English subtitles. So at present a horror genre fan has no complaints to make with so many options available to watch many more horror movies made within the country itself along with watching the most favourite ones. And the genre still remains one of the most potential genres of Hindi cinema, yet to be exploited by the directors coming up with the right films.. 
All Rights Reserved 2017 – Bobbytalkscinema.com/BobbySing/Harpreet 
The first part of this article can be read at the link below. 

Part ONE
The third article in the series of HORROR CINEMA can be read here. 

Tags : Article on Hindi Horror Films by Bobby Sing, Hindi Horror Films History, Bollywood Horror Films, Ramsay Brothers Horror Movies, Mohan Bhakri Horror Movies, Raj Kumar Kohli Horror Movies, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing
26 Aug 2013 / Comments ( 4 )
Arjun Singh

DID you know that taaren zameen par was inspired by television movie love,mary

What is the hindi remake of black rain (1989).
Directed by raj sippy?

Bobby Sing

Dear Arjun Singh,
Though your comment is a little out of context here below the article on HORROR movies still I would love to reply as following.

I was told about this film long time back but since I found no source to see it myself, therefore I coudnt write about it in details at the site. And I really avoid writing on the inspiration angle by only reading the synposis at IMDB pages. So please do share if you have got any links or any other source to watch this particular film made for TV.

Secondly regarding the hindi remake of "Black Rain" (1989) I can only guess by looking at the name that it might be "Kaali Ganga" but I have not seen any of them so cant say with surety at all.


Arjun Singh


Bobby Sing

Dear Arjun Singh,
Thanks a ton for sharing the link as I was searching for it from too long. I heard about this inspirational angle long back but was always suspicious about its authenticity comparing it with a completely Indian movie in feel i.e. TAARE ZAMEE PAR. 

And it seems you also havent watched the whole movie yourself, cause now after watching it I am much relieved since LOVE MARY (1985) has simply got nothing to do with TZP apart from only very few (8-10) minutes sequences related to Dyslexia. And those too cannot be taken as any straight source of inspiration at all. So this is just speculation since the film is entirely about a different plot of a lifestory of a tough girl who completes a difficult journey of a struggling student to a qualified doctor covering about two decades.

So it is no straight inspirational source for TAARE ZAMEEN PAR from any angle.

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