After 90s it was the time of Ram Gopal Varma. RGV gave many hatke movies. Most of the horror movies after 90s were dominated by the RGV’s factory.
Three characters, no songs, a house and one rainy stormy night forms the story of the movie. It cannot be classified as a horror because there was no ghost in it. But watch the movie Urmila is haunting. A girl played by Urmila alone in a house, a stranger played by Manoj Bajpai trying to find shelter in heavy rains and a Police office played by Sushant Singh trying to save the girl from the stranger. The three characters play a game of cat and mouse and it becomes difficult to understand who the hunter is and who is the hunted. The end is surprising. “Kaun” was Ram Gopal Varma’s attempt to venture into mystery and horror after the failure of “Raat”. The movie banks on a good story, tight script and good performance.
The movie is the directorial debut of Rakesh O Mehra. He was the person who directed Amitabh Bachchan in his Aby Baby Video. A story similar to Face-off but on the supernatural front. Amitabh Bachchan plays a Security officer assigned to protect the defense minister. An assassin played by Manoj Bajpai is hired to kill the defense minister. Manoj succeeds. Amitabh tracks him down and they both end up shooting each other. But Manoj’s soul find his way to Amitabh’s body. Now a struggle starts between the good and bad inside Amitabh’s body. Manoj’s soul controls Amitabh action. The rest of the movie was how Amitabh manages to free himself. The movie was rather dark and treated differently. It did not have the usual Hindi movie song and dance routine or melodrama. But at the same time it was boring in parts. The concept becomes a little difficult to understand and the movie loses steam at the end. It was certainly not scary. But it had ghost so could be called a psychological horror. The movie turned out to be ok and had the beautiful Raveena Tandon doing some almost steamy scenes.
A movie by Vikhram Bhatt. Vikram Bhatt copies Hollywood movies and adapts them to Indian standard. “Raaz” was “What lies beneath”. A married couple visit their ooty retreat to save a failing marriage. Dino Morea plays the husband and the sexy Bipasa basu plays the wife. The movie can be credited to catapult Bipasa into the big league. When they arrive at the house, Bipasa starts have strange experience that suggest that they may have company. Why is the husband hiding a secret? That is the “Raaz” (Secret). The movie had good songs; some really intimate scenes and enough mystery. It was a scene-by-scene copy of “What Lies beneath”. You could watch it once. The biggest hit of the year. The movie started a trend of horror movies.
Bhoot was Ram Gopal Varma’s smart remake of “Raat” with a bigger and better cast. The movie was recycling the story of “Raat” to present in a more attractive package. The story is of a married couple Ajay Devgan and Urmila who move to the 12th floor of a building. A woman along with her son had committed suicide from the same house. Urmila is possessed by the ghost of the woman. The ghost wants to avenge her death. The movie had a similar story like “Raat”. Both the movie had a house with a secret. Both the movie had the female protagonist being obsessed. Both the movie had woman ghost and in both movie the women are murdered. Even the murders by the ghosts are similar. In “Raat”, Revathy kills her friend by twisting her neck. In “Bhoot”, Urmila kills the watchman by twisting the neck. “Raat” had a scene in a movie theatre where Revathy finds herself alone and then runs out to find noone in the theatre. In “Bhoot”, Urmila also finds herself alone with only the ghost in. In both movies, the doctor terms it as a physiological problem. Both the movies had something which was always thought to be a part of the story but had nothing to do with the story like the cat in “Raat” and the doll in “Bhoot”. “Raat” had Om Puri playing the exorcist and “Bhoot” had Rekha playing the exorcist. They enter when everything else fails. The best thing about the movie is the cast. Urmila plays the housewife who changes from being a normal woman to change into a woman possessed. A complete change in character. Urmila experiments with the character she plays like the one in “Ek Hasina Thi”. I think she got a Flimfare for that. Ajay Devgan plays the husband who is a non-believer first and then helpless and scarred to see his wife change. Victor Banerjee plays the doctor treating Urmila. Nana Patekar plays inspector Liyaqat Qureshi who is investigating the murder of the watchman. Rekha plays the exorcist and Tanuja the mother of the murdered woman. With a cast like this, it was certainly an impressive.
Darna Mana Hai (2003)
Long before there use to be a serial on television called “The Twilight Zone”. It was a half an hour serial with two 15 minutes story with a surprising end. The same concept was used in Darna Mana hai. Six friends on a trip get stranded in a jungle. They find a small hut nearby. To pass away time, they start telling each other stories, scary stories, Stories with surprising end. With each story a member of the group dies. The stories told by the person would be short and surprising. The tagline of the movie said, “Six stories, one end”. The movie ends with all the friends getting killed along with the killer and everybody becoming a ghost. The movie was produced by Ram Gopal Varma though he did not direct it
Vastu Shastra (2004)
Another one of the horror from RGV stable but again not directed by him. A lot scarier than “Bhoot”. It was a lot similar to Stanley Kubrick’s “Shining”. A couple buys a house in the wilderness because the husband played by Chakravarty wants to concentrate on his writing. His wife played by the talented Sushmita Sen is a doctor and her hospital is close to the house. She also has a sister who stays with them. When they first come to the house, Sushmita complements the position of the house because of the Vastu Shastra. When Sushmita goes to the hospital and her sister to the college and the father is busy with the book, the little boy moves around the house (a strong resemblance to “Shining”). Then he starts seeing people around him. He starts seeing children and starts talking to them. His parents think it as imaginary friends. The movie is slow with nothing happening for almost half the movie. Still the movie scares waiting for the unknown. The story makes you aware of the ghost lurking in the house. The innocence of the boy who fails to recognize evil in the new found friends. The movie does a surprising U-turn and ends in the most stupid and unexplained climax. The movie does not build on the Vastu Shastra concept except the one line mention at the start of the movie. There is no motive for the evil. The movie is more watch able because of the small boy and Sushmita Sen.
Some more movies
Jaya Prada played a ghost in the melodramatic, revenge drama, “Maa” (1992). Naseruddin Shah played a ghost in the Shahrukh Khan comedy, “Chamatkar” (1992). Dimple Kapadia played a ghost again in the pathetic scene by scene copy of “The Others” titled “Hum Kaun Hai?” (2004). Isha Khopikar plays a mad-about-Sohail Khan Ghost in “Krishna Cottage” (2004). Tara Sharma plays a ghost in “Saaya” (2003), the remake of Kevin Costner’s movie “Dragonfly” (2002). Tabu is troubled by ghost near her house in Hawa (2003), a remake of Entity (1981).
Some Future “Ghost” movies
Urmila returns to ghost movies with “Naina” She plays a blind girl who gets a cornea transplant and start seeing unnatural things. The movie is ‘inspired’ by the Hong Kong hit “The Eye”. Looking at the promos, this looks like a hit. But again Vasthu Shastra was also scary. Shahrukh Khan produces and acts in “Paheli”. Directed by Amol Palekar, it’s a story about a girl who falls in love with a ghost, Shahrukh Khan who takes the form of her husband, also Shahrukh Khan. This is more of a fun film than a horror movie. Konkana Sen and Tara Sharma fight a dead man in a moon less night in “Amavas”.
To Be Continued………..