Karan Johar's Dharma Productions is giving romance and drama a break with this week's release Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship. Starring Vicky Kaushal in the lead, the movie is directed by Bhanu Pratap Singh and is the first film in a planned horror franchise. Bhumi Pednekar also has a cameo in the film. The trailers of Bhoot: Part One - The Haunted Ship have created intrigue among the Bollywood fans, and we are curious to see if this film has anything new to offer for the horror freaks. Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship – Karan Johar, Katrina Kaif, Janhvi Kapoor and Others Attend the Special Screening of Vicky Kaushal’s Film (View Pics Inside).
Bhoot: Part One - The Haunted Ship isn't the first attempt of Karan Johar's production house to make a horror film. Karan Johar had directed a segment in Netflix's Ghost Stories, that found a very few admirers. Earlier in 2005, his production house, along with Shah Rukh Khan's, made Kaal with a starry cast in Ajay Devgn, Vivek Oberoi, John Abraham, Lara Dutta and Esha Deol. The movie was accused of ripping off Final Destination and was an average grosser. So Dharma doesn't have a yardstick within itself to measure how scary their Bhoot is.
But Bollywood does have its share of really spooky movies, that continues to haunt us with mesmerising ways to introduce the supernatural. We have our own pick of five movies below. PS: Fans of Vikram Bhatt and Ramsay brand of horror, please stay away!
A Still in Kohraa
Sometimes the idea of having a ghost is scarier than seeing a spirit itself, as proven in this 1964 film. A remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Rebecca, Kohraa is as haunting as the original if not more. From those forlorn play of shadows and fog in the palatial mansion to that one scary moment involving Lalita Pawar's face, Kohraa continues to spook us even after so make decades.
Revathy in Raat
Ram Gopal Varma's first horror film is an absolute masterpiece, though it was cruelly overlooked at the time of its release. Starring Revathy in the lead, Raat relied on minimalism and silences to create a very terrifying atmosphere. This came as a welcome change then, when Bollywood was mostly used to Ramsay brand of horror. RGV later re-updated the Raat formula with his more starry Bhoot, but we prefer the older version.
Kainaz Motivala in Ragini MMS
Ragini MMS formula has now been milked for its sleaze-n-scare content, but the original film was nothing like that. Using the found-footage trope of films like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, the first Ragini MMS film is downright terrifying where even the sex scenes feel organic. The fantastic performances of the leads, one of them being a pre-fame Rajkummar, add to the authenticity of the scares.
R Madhavan and Neetu Chandra in 13B
Now that we are in the 21st century, don't we expect the ghosts themselves to have upgraded their skills when it comes to scaring us? This underrated film, starring R Madhavan and Neetu Chandra, has the supernatural entity possess electronic appliances to haunt a family that recently moved in the titular 13B flat. Spooky and definitely innovative.
A Still in Tumbbad
If I say Tumbbad is the best horror film made in Bollywood this century, will I be far from the truth? The period horror drama may be about murderous deities and undead grannies, but it is the depiction of the vicious nature of human greed that scared us the most. But it is not just the spooks that makes Tumbbad so special. For a low-budget movie, Tumbbad is exquisitely made, with painstaking efforts to recreate the period feel and the right kind of atmosphere (the movie was six years in the making). Despite lacking the money involved in, say a Dharma film, Tumbbad excels in nearly every technical department. No wonder, people are ruing the fact that the film was overlooked as India's official entry to Oscars earlier this year.