The abysmal state of Indian horror movies

A poster of Raaz Reboot © Movietalkies Let one thing be said. The horror movies by the Bhatts are crap. There just isn’t another way to say it. Therefore it only points towards the abysmal state of horror movies in India, if the Bhatts are our best hope. Horror movies in India have so much potential, which is a polite way of saying no one has wracked their brains behind making one. This inspite of the fact that, India has a rich repository of supernatural tales. We’ve always been inundated with folklore, heard tales of ‘demons’ and brave warriors since childhood. But if Emraan Hashmi shoving his tongue inside a woman being haunted by spirits is our best version of horror films, then good luck Bollywood.

Emraan Hashmi said in a recent interview, how the A-listers stay away from horror as a genre, since they don’t find it lucrative. However, the sad part is if these A-listers make the kind of ‘horror films’ Hashmi and the Bhatts make, they might recover the money every now and then but will not add anything to improve the state of the genre of films in India. Mahesh Bhatt said, horror movies with good music have repeat value. Sir, with all due respect, how about *trying* to make a different movie, which doesn’t have the same ‘melodious’ music by Jeet Ganguly with the ‘hit track’ in Arijit Singh’s voice. How about stopping with the sequels, and the reboots and the same old blatant formula?

This apathy towards the genre of horror films is a recent phenomenon. Bollywood used to make good horror films at one point. And we’re not talking about the Ramsay Brothers. There was a time when movies like Bees Saal Baad, Madhumati were made. Competent actors like Waheeda Rehman, Dilip Kumar and the stunning Vyjayantimala took part in them. The last half-decent horror film we saw was Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot in 2004. After that, the indulgent director went on rehash his same formula of shaky cam, loud thumping background score to such a point that it even started affecting his other films.

We need to start understanding the reason behind why minds aren’t being invested in the horror genre. Is it more expensive to make than the regular drivel? Will we not accept ghost stories unless they’re packaged into an Urvashi Rautela and sold to us? It’s definitely not expensive to make, like we saw in last week’s Hollywood release Don’t Breathe made by Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez. Bollywood did try to get on to the Paranormal Activity rip-off bus with Ragini MMS, but couldn’t do much to change things.

An industry which produces 3 films per day, has not produced a ‘good’ horror film in the past decade. The problem with the Bollywood fare is because it talks down to the audience. Most horror films in India follow the most banal template. Someone moves to a new house, the house has a spirit (generally a wronged woman cos chudails are more ‘in’ than men) and they attack the woman. The woman complains to the man, who doesn’t believe her until he sees her floating over the bed in true Omen-esque style.

Things have to change, and Indian filmmakers have to start writing better stories in the genre. Even tested players like Vishal Bharadwaj, who tied up with Ekta Kapoor for Ek Thi Daayan, couldn’t deliver a decent film inspite of an amazing cast including Konkona Sen Sharma, Emraan Hashmi (in good form after Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai) and Huma Qureshi. Bollywood cannot be discouraged by a couple of failed films. They have to find a way to, in Samuel Beckett’s words, fail better. At the same time find a way to keep the budget at a minimum, so recovering the money isn’t a problem for the stake-holders.

Raaz Reboot will NOT improve the dismal state of Horror movies in India.

Recommended: 25 Bollywood horror movies that are really scary

25 Bollywood horror movies that are really scary

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The abysmal state of Indian horror movies

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