Bollywood’s terror insight

Horror movies to binge watch this Halloween


October 31, 2019

/ By / Kolkata

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Tumbbad, 2018

As Edgar Allan Poe said, “to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience,” is what a horror movie should be about.

While Bollywood is mostly known for its feel good movies with beautiful song-and-dance sequences, it has also got a few creepy plots with spooky background music for the ones who are more comfortable with ghosts and spirits. And now that Halloween is here just before the weekend, we all could use some spooky motion pictures. Here’s a list of five such movies which will give you the creeps this Halloween-

Mahal (1949)

Mahal's poster from 1949

Mahal was one of the first horror movies of Bollywood

It is said to be Bollywood’s first attempt of making a horror movie which was directed by Kamal Amrohi starring yesteryear’s superstars Ashok Kumar and Madhubala.  The story revolves around a lawyer (Ashok Kumar) and the ghost (Madhubala) of the mahal (mansion). Kumar, playing Shankar, has newly shifted to the mansion and finds his bizarre resemblance with the former owner and also the ghost of the owner’s wife. Shankar eventually gets obsessed with the spirit, to the point where his wife commits suicide.

Even with the lesser use of graphics and technology, the movie has a long lasting eerie effect on the person watching it. The song Aayega Aanewala in the movie portrays the feeling of a hidden menace, an underlying feeling of something unknown. The movie was well-received back then in the box office, paving the way for gothic fiction films in the coming days for Bollywood.

Raaz (2002)

Directed by Vikram Bhatt, this  was a well-received horror movie back in the 2000s. The actors Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea play a couple who have moved to Ooty in order to save their marriage. But Dino had a secret story of an affair along with an unfortunate incident of murder of another woman played by Malini Sharma. It is the spirit of the murdered woman that haunts Bipasha until she finds a solution to it.

The movie grabbed INR 370 million and won the best screenplay award while Malini Sharma won the award for best screen debut.

Darna Mana Hai (2003)

The movie experimented with the for of narrative

The movie experimented with the form of narrative

This one is a unique attempt by Ram Gopal Verma and Prawal Raman to give the Indian audience a new insight of a narrative story. The multicast movie had  Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani, Shilpa Shetty, Sameera Reddy, Isha Koppikar, Nana Patekar, Sohail Khan and many more big names.

The movie revolves around six different narratives from seven friends who were stuck in the middle of the night since their car broke down. To keep themselves entertained, they all share horror stories throughout the night. With each story the anticipation grows and reaches a much needed height for the audience.

The movie was one of the most acclaimed works of the year 2003, receiving four star ratings by the critics.


13B – Fear Has a New Address (2015)

R Madhavan's 13B

This was one of the under-rated horror film

Starring R Madhavan and Neetu Chandra, the movie can be easily considered as one of the most underrated horror flick. Manohar (Madhavan) shifts to a new apartment along with his family where he senses strange incidents happening all around. Adding to much of the build-up anticipation, the TV at his house begins to show a telecast foretelling his family’s future. It is through this the movie’s horror angle builds up in a cliffhanger format and is subtly praised.

Originally released in Tamil as Yavarum Nalam, the movie grabbed INR 160 million. It also won the Vijay Award for best editor in 2010.

Tumbbad (2018)

A mythological horror mystery, Tumbbad is a rich visual storytelling and everything more. Set in Maharashtra, between 1914 and 1947, the story is about a Brahmin family who seek their ancestral treasure which has been cursed by the gods. The movie talks about a Hindu demon, Hastar and revolves around the idea of greed, lust and power.

Actor Soham Shah playing Vinayak in the movie gets to know about the treasure and later in his life finds out a way to get it at the cost of his life. His greed and power rises to the point where he has to sacrifice himself for his own son.

The movie, even being a mediocre success commercially, is a beautiful motif of rich cinematography and cutting-edge graphical elements. The story plot was new and leads up to a meaningful climax, along with the terror, which the audience will feel both in the presence or absence of the demon, Hastar.

The movie’s focal point being the graphics and design, definitely grabbed attention and won Filmfare award for best sound design and for best cinematography along with IIFA award for best special effects and Screen award for best cinematography. Tumbbad made INR 135.7 million at box office.

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