Gone are the days when Indian horror was synonymous with Ramsay Brothers cinema. Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche (1972), Purana Mandir (1984), Saamri (1985), Veerana (1985) Tahkhana (1986), Dak Bangla (1987), Purani Haveli (1989), Shaitani Ilaaka and Bandh Darwaza (both 1990) were some of the film that were successful at the box office. The USP of these B-grade movies was their low budget.
Raaz 3 starring Emraan Hashmi, Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta probably is the costliest and one of the most successful horror movies of recent times. Made on a budget of Rs. 25 crore, the film has collected over Rs. 60 crore in two weeks. Is horror genre here to stay? Will it get bigger than this? Let's explore.
Horror genre in Bollywood kicked off as early as 1940s. The cult horror movies like Mahal, Bees Saal Baad and Bhoot Bungla worked well commercially at the time. But somewhere down the line, the genre lost its sheen.
Then entered Ram Gopal Varma. His romance with horror started with Raat. The film was written, produced and directed by him. It starred Revathi in the role of protagonist Manisha (Mini) Sharma.
Low budget, big moolah
Vikram Bhatt stepped into the scene a decade later with Raaz, but managed to up the ante. The low budget movie starring Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea was the second most successful movie at the box office that year. It collected Rs. 37 crore and the market for scary movies got a major boost.
Ramu who mastered the art of making spooky cinema got back to the genre with Bhoot (2003). The film starring Urmila Matondkar and Ajay Devgn was a reasonable success at the box office. The film was made on a shoestring budget.
While the big budget films like Drona and Kidnap fell flat at the box office, a film made on the budget of Rs. 8 crore, 1920 (2008), did a brisk business. Directed by Vikram Bhatt, the horror flick starred debutant actors Rajniesh Duggall and Adah Sharma.
The same year, Ramu came out with Phoonk. The film dealt with the subject of black magic. The film was made on a budget of Rs. 3 crore and made Rs. 31 cr at the box office.
How 3D horror works
Vikram Bhatt did the unbelievable. He made a 3D horror film on a budget of Rs. 8.5 crore and managed to garner Rs. 35 crore.
The secret behind his 'scary' success? Vikram Bhatt told IANS in an interview: "It is not easy to scare the audience because they can even make fun of your film very easily. You need to find new ways to scare them because if you repeat the same thing again and again, people will get used to it."
RGV and Vikram Bhatt are now cashing in on their brands. While RGV would be back with Bhoot Returns soon, Vikram Bhatt is ready with the sequel of 1920 titled 1920 - Evil Returns.
The film is directed by Bhushan Patel starring Aftab Shivdasani, Tia Bajpai and Vidya Malvade and is being produced under the banner of BVG Films (A Division of ASA Productions & Enterprises Pvt Ltd). Written by Vikram Bhatt and Amin Hajee and featuring lyrics by Shakeel Azmi, 1920 - Evil Returns promises to be a hair-raising thriller.
Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot Returns is also a 3D movie. The director had told IANS: "Technically, it would work. While watching a horror film sitting in a theatre you are seeing it happen to someone else on the screen. But a 3D film is a medium which makes you feel you are there with them, on location may be. The illusion it creates is because of the third dimension. Because of that I think the technique has terrific application in a horror film, if rightly done," Varma said.
Ramu was always fascinated with horror films. "I always had this obsession to scare people. When I was a kid, I used to stand behind the door and say ‘bhoooo’ to someone entering the room and now I am making (horror) films," Varma told IANS in an interview.
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