Indian horror filmmaker Vikram Bhatt has said in a recent interview “Our horror films have always been the romanticizing of horror. We always had love stories, emotions, and music in a horror film, and we should always stick to our own style of horror filmmaking in spite of getting inspiration from Hollywood horror films. He further said that Hollywood horror films are made on a huge budget and thus it is not possible to be inspired from them.
I am slightly convinced with him, as this has always been the trend in Indian horror films. Our horror film industry started with musical romances like Mahal and Kohra, then we saw almost a decade time of Ramsey brother’s sex cum horror films and in last 15 years the team of Vikram Bhatt, Mahesh Bhatt and Vishesh films is may be the only devoted group making horror films, mainly musical, romantic horror content.
But then I read reviews of some latest Hollywood horror films released in India and gone through their box office performances, which presents entirely a different picture. James Wan’s Conjuring 2 was released in India with big Hindi films like Houseful 3 and Teen. The film gives a tough fight to their Indian counterparts and did a business of Rs. 62 Crore in Indian box office. After Conjuring 2, David F. Sandberg’s horror film “Lights Out” gets a good release in India and did a box office of around 25 Crore. Last week Fede Alvarez’s latest horror thriller “Don’t breathe” was released only in limited theatres but collected around 8 Crore on box office. Now except Conjuring 2, the rest two films were made on relatively small budgets and no marketing and promotional activities was done for them in Indian territories. In the same period two Indian horror films were released in theatres, 1920 London did a business of around 23 Crore and Phobia around 3.5 Crore. While all the Hollywood films got good reviews from critics and audiences, both the Indian films were rated average or below average. Even our recent release horror film Raaz:Reboot is doing a lukewarm business on box office with a weekend collection of around 18 Crore, and panned by the critics largely for its not at all scary content.
So what is clearly visible is that there is a huge audience developing in country that love to see good horror films, and they don’t bother if there is romance and sex is shown in it, as their primary motive is fear and scares. Budget also doesn’t looks like a problem, as there are a number of good horror films made abroad on small budgets. So I think it is time for Indian filmmakers to consider that we have a very good market for horror films here but the condition is to create scary horror films with strong plots and characters and not to get stick to the old formula of romance+music+horror. Ram Gopal Verma has never made a romantic horror and without any doubt he has made some of the best Hindi horror films like Bhoot, Raat and Vastu Shastra