Bollywood is known for many things: extended song sequences in foreign locales and glitzy star-studded ensemble movies to name a few. What it isn’t known for is horror movies. It’s a genre associated with Ramsay Brothers’ pulp, only occasionally touched upon by Bollywood’s big directors and actors – the likes of Ram Gopal Varma and Urmila Matondkar in their heyday, for example – which means that territory is left for up and coming faces and directors who are willing to take the bait. It doesn’t help that majority of the plots in Bollywood horror films are inspired from or outright copies of international cinema.
That list is a long one. 1996’s Papi Gudia blatantly borrowed from the still-popular Child’s Play. But unlike Chucky, who put the fear of God in us, it was watered down and the unblinking doll didn’t help. That isn’t all. 2005’s Naina was a remake of the widely-popular Hong Kong Singaporean film The Eye while Hum Kaun Hai? in 2004 lifted its premise from The Others.
Excluding campy horror like those from cult favourite Ramsay Brothers, it seems like Bollywood has tried and tried again and then again to scare the daylights out of us. But with exposure to the likes of Insidious, It Follows and the much-loved Conjuring series, it’s a tough task. A few flickering lights, shaky camera angles and women in white carrying a candlestick down the hallway just won’t do.
While last year’s releases like The House Next Door and Dobaara: See Your Evil didn’t quite make a splash, in 2018 we’ve set our sights on Pari. The upcoming movie is backed by Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate films and stars the actress in a lead role. Going by the positive reception of Anushka’s previous productions NH 10 and Phillauri, we’re waiting with bated breath for this one. The trailer of Pari, which is less than a minute long, released a day ago and has already raked over 25 lakh views.