I consider spirits as my best friends: Vikram Bhatt
With focus shifting on films based on quality contemporary content and new age technology, filmmaker Vikram Bhatt has come up with an ambitious horror project titled ‘Haunted’ in 3D. Sharing intricacies about his latest venture, Vikram talks about India’s new wave 3D stereoscopic technology and his passion for genre horror.
The man who breathed a new lease of life into horror films in Indian cinema with ‘Raaz’, ‘1920’ and ‘Shaapit’, Vikram talks at length about ‘Haunted’ with Bikas Bhagat of Spicezee.com
Q. Horror is your forte. Sometime back you said no more horror flicks, but again you are back with one in 3D! How was the idea born?
A. The idea was there from the very beginning, but what stopped me was the lack of required technology. Once during creative members’ group meeting, I got a call from a production house informing me that they have acquired new stereoscopic 3D technology. This immediately prompted me to come up with the ‘scariest film ever’ ‘Haunted’, which definitely is not for the faint hearted. And yes, I did say I won’t dabble into horror after my successful trilogy with ‘Raaz’, ‘1920’ and ‘Shaapit’, what I really meant was I didn’t want to make anything similar to what I’d done before. What seduced me this time was the 3D aspect which was different as well as challenging.
Q. What challenges did you face while making India’s first stereoscopic 3D film?
A. The challenge began from the scripting stage itself because we had to visualize the country`s first next generation stereoscopic 3D film. It was all new. The style was new, the technology was new. We had to acquaint ourselves with the technology, learn it, adapt to it. That was a major feat and I must thank the entire technical team. They were brilliant. We would never have been able to achieve this unique milestone in Indian cinema without them.
Q. Not everyone likes to see horror, but you have always worked your way around people’s expectations. How?
A. Horror is a niche genre because it`s more or less about adult content, so that cuts off children. And then, everyone doesn`t want to pay to get scared. However, horror always has a loyal audience. All my horror films have done well. ‘Raaz’ has done the best business and there`s ‘1920’ which also did well. In India, we don`t like horror for its sake. It will never work until it is enmeshed in relationships, and daily lives of people. I try to make it work because superstition is deep-rooted here, and there is always a mystery element to superstitions which excites me to exploit them in my movies.
Q. Share with us the experience of exploring the 3D space and also how instrumental is it for the success of a film?
A. Technology has definitely proved vital in providing a new dimension to film making business in India. Not that 3D has not been explored before, but earlier films were converted and viewed with special glasses to mimic the effects of 3D, while in ‘Haunted’, the films are shot with special 3D stereoscopic digital motion picture cameras that use special sensors which are then complemented with special projection equipment to provide the illusion of depth when viewing the film.
However, at the end of the day, it is just a medium to make it look more authentic or I should say close to real to an extent that you seem to be in the midst of things. Story is most important and will always remain like that. After all what sells in India is a good film.
Q. What’s the definition of horror for you?
A. Horror for me is something which can unnerve you. Horror sells fear. The thrill and chill that sends your adrenalin rushing.
Q. So, how did this innate fixation with horror develop?
A. I have been obsessed with fear ever since I was a child. I have always loved to hear and narrate horror stories and that’s why I wanted to create a new benchmark in this genre through every possible medium of technology available.
Q. Have you ever experienced an existence of any ‘supernaturals’ around you?
A. I believe in ghosts. I live with them. I can feel their existence. But again, I also believe these are things which when you share are ridiculed. It’s always the one who experiences it can relate with it. There are many things unexplained, and though personally I haven’t experienced a supernatural being around me, but I do want to explore the mystery associated with it.
Q. What more can we know about Vikram Bhatt?
A. (Laughs) That he is a loner. I have seen many highs and lows in my personal life and I consider spirits to be my best friends. I prefer to live a lonely life myself instead of making someone else’s life lonely.