Upcoming Bollywood horror films are integrating some technical savviness in a bid for frights.
The Bollywood horror genre has changed significantly since the days of women screaming in bikinis and a sign of the times is the incoming fright flicks, armed to the teeth with new technology such as 3-D to scare the pants of the modern audience.
One such advocate is Haunted 3D, that is credited asIndia’s first stereoscopic 3D film and masterminded by horror maestro Vikram Bhatt. The director boasts just under 30 years of experience but still regards the film with precedence, “Haunted is my most challenging and fulfilling movie. It was all new, the style was new, the technology was new. It is a unique milestone in Indian cinema,” he proclaims.
Leading man Mahaksahy Chakraborty attests to the change in requirements of shooting in 3D, “At first it was difficult to cope with 3D standards; you have to change how you talk, how you stand, and your body language. It was ten times tougher than a normal film.” According to Chakraborty, the hard work paid off. “Haunted is absolutely revolutionary, it’s ten leaps ahead by being in 3D and five leaps ahead in the Indian horror genre.” He believes the film’s themes are a far cry from the blood and guts of Bollywood’s Old School horror, which had earlier populated Bollywood. “Haunted is very eerie, there are a lot of silences and it thrives on the emptiness of horror, leaving the audience guessing ‘what’s going to happen next’,” he describes.
Also on the horizon is Ragini MMS, featuring a couple on a romantic getaway that is terrorized by a supernatural spirit. The producer, Ekta Kapoor, had described its original presentation, “the way the film was run is a grabbed footage feed.” This style means the footage appears like an amateur home video. The method, which involved 24 cameras positioned at various angles in the house, is pioneering in Bollywood. The appearance of the footage as raw makes the story more believable because it downplays the presence of a movie crew and suggests it had happened in real life. Kapoor had further stoked these fires saying, “The footage is based on a true story.”
Though novel to Bollywood, Ragini’s has drawn comparisons with the Hollywood counterpart Paranormal Activity because it was filmed in a similar format and even has the same storyline. Although admitting Ragini was inspired by the way Paranormal Activity was filmed, Kapoor had denied any further likenesses.
Ragini is another example of Bollywood filmmakers revolutionizing the horror genre by adopting innovative practices and Kapoor was reportedly optimistic for success, stating confidently, “Ragini MMS will be the scariest movie to date in India.” Trade analyst Komal Nahta believes Haunted 3D will benefit from the novelty factor of being the first Indian film shot in 3D, but says horror films cannot count on technology alone for frights. “Everyone is relying on technology to add to the horror but first and foremost the subject of the film must be horrifying, it needs a good story.”