Vikram Bhatt
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Cheap thrills galore!

Vikram Bhatt


Mumbai, July 15 -- Love stories, action, drama and musicals have all found favour with film-makers, but somehow, they've all stayed away from the horror genre.

In fact, apart from the Bhatts, most top producers don't back scary movies. This year, the genre has seen quite a few small-tomedium- budget films like Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai, Ragini MMS 2 and Darr @ The Mall. Bhaangarh, Trip To Bhangarh and 3 AM are in the pipeline.

Another one, Pizza 3D, is being described as a "suspense thriller mixed with horror elements". "Who am I to comment? Maybe they (big banners) are not sensible enough to do the right thing," says Vikram Bhatt, when asked why he thinks major production houses may have shied away from the genre for so long.

Bhatt, who has made films like 1920 (2008), Shaapit (2009), Haunted (2011) and the Raaz series, among others, adds, "In Hollywood, horror is used as horror, whereas we use it to show the ghost of the villain in a love story."

Ekta Kapoor's Ragini MMS series, as well as Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot (2003), Darna Mana Hai (2003) and Darna Zaroori Hai (2006), are among the horror films that have succeeded, but experts insist there's a long way to go.

"Maybe the feeling (among producers) is that the genre doesn't attract family audiences, so the returns won't be as big," says trade expert Taran Adarsh. Exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi feels that horror isn't considered an A-list genre because top stars aren't usually seen in these films, and "big production houses are attached with premium products".     

He adds, "In India, horror works when it's mixed with erotica, so it might not feasible to the 'big' firms." Last year, horror films didn't fare too well at the box office. Aatma, Horror Story and Ek Thi Daayan failed to click with viewers. However, makers remain confident of the genre. Akshay Akkineni, director of Pizza 3D, says, "If you have good content and treat it well, a producer will back it. Slowly, we are warming up to the genre."