This ‘Daayan’ is for real as she reinvents the horror genre!



This ‘Daayan’ is for real as she reinvents the horror genre!Ankita Chakrabarty/ Zee Research Group

Horror has given Bollywood a dream run!


With an audience that just loves to be scared, box office has kept the cash ringing for horror movies. With every new avatar, the genre has reinvented itself.

Can it repeat the trick this time over when witches stroll into your bedroom!

Early fifties women draped in white sari holding a white candle scared a generation of movie watchers. The genre moved on exorcising the audience in sixties and seventies. Horror later donned the bloody avatar as dead men and women danced on the streets.

But that is not what you see this Friday! Get set to encounter the 21st century romancing a magician. This witch has a pedigree and comes to grace the screen courtesy a big banner.

Kannan Iyer’s directorial debenture ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ claims to ring in a new era of fear and thrill on April 19. For a change you will see the serial kisser (Emraan Hashmi) in a new mold as the nervous ‘Mr. & Mrs. Iyer’ actress (Konkona Sen Sharma) dons a new makeup.

The horror genre no longer is the sole prerogative of either a Ramsay brothers or a Ram Gopal Varma obsession: it has touched the art and cinema of a many a Bollywood stalwarts; that too each outing promising a new fare!

Reiterating the view, film critic Taran Adarsh, says, “An actor is ready to experiment with any genre provided if it interests his or her appetite. Horror movies were always in fashion and will remain so forever.”

Most of the Indian horror movies have spoken about reincarnation, haunted mansions, and possessed souls which have added to the spookiness and amplified the fear factor of the audiences.

The first Indian horror movie was ‘Mahal’ was made by Kamal Amrohi in 1949 and starred Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. The movie is best remembered for Lata Mangeshkar’s melodious song ‘Ayega Ane Wala.’

The late fifties and the sixties saw some good Bollywood horror movies like ‘Madhumati’ (1958), ‘Bees Saal Baad’ (1962) and ‘Gumnaam’ (1965). All of them broke records at the box-office with superb narration, great acting and captivating music.

The actual pioneers of B-town horror flicks are Ramsay Brothers. Many of their movies, like ‘Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche’ (1972), ‘Purana Mandir’ (1984) and ‘Veerana’ (1988) with their tacky special effects and peculiar storyline made them to become the sole proper tier of the horror genre in the late seventies and eighties.

Lending his full support to the “evergreen” existence of this genre, film critic Adarsh, says, “You do not have to show blood goofing out and skeleton walking here and there to scare audience. Even silence can be scary.”

Ram Gopal Varma actually brought a new category of horror movies which were different from the typical horror version of Ramsay Brothers. There were no women draped in white sari with weird make up holding the candle. Raat (1992) is remembered till date because of brilliant storyline and great acting by the southern beauty ‘Revathi.’

‘Bhoot’ (2003), yet another horror flick from Varma’s camp, made the viewer’s adrenaline to rush with brilliant performance by Urmila Matondkar. The role won her the Filmfare Critics Award for best actress.

Shreya Ghosh, a 26 year old research analyst from Delhi says, “I have personally loved Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Raat’ and ‘Bhoot’ primarily because of three ingredients namely: Scary sound effects, sensible storyline and the unpredictability till the end.”

Vikram Bhatt used modern technology to raise the fear factor in order to keep pace with the western horror movies. ‘Raaz’ (2002) launched the bong beauty ‘ Bipasha Basu’ and is considered to be one of the most successful films of Bipasha’s career till date.

‘Haunted – 3D’ is a 2011 Indian horror film directed by Vikram Bhatt and starred Mahakshay Chakraborty and Twinkle Bajpai. The film is India`s first stereoscopic 3D horror film.

Ekta Kapoor tried her luck in Bollywood with horror movies like ‘Kuch To Hai’ (2003), ‘Krishna Cottage’ (2004) and ‘Ragini MMS’ (2011).

What is it about the fear that enthralls us so much? Clinical psychologist, Dr. Astha Sharma at Moolchand Medcity, explains, “Horror movies give a kind of high and arousal to people and hence they enjoy it. At times in order to escape from the moribund life, these kinds of movies bring in anxiety which helps in relaxation.”