Don’t worry—this is not a trick article which is going to redirect you to Kangana Ranaut’s Twitter timeline. Or the BMC’s work plan for the month.
Now, if either of the above terrifies you, your own life probably feels like a bit of a horror movie at the moment.You’re probably just one television debate away from questioning whether you were wrong in rolling your eyes at Instagram influencers posting ‘humans are the virus, nature is healing’ messages at the beginning of the pandemic.
Maybe you’ve also run out of all the Indian language comedies that feel good. And fearing that perhaps Koreans have not made enough shows to keep up with your hunger for frothy rom-coms, you are this close to Google translating the packaging information on your face masks now.
So we’ve dug up some Bollywood horror movie suggestions for you to consider, simply for their comic potential. Humour, even if unintentional, is rare in our lives at the moment, so these masterpieces should be at the top of your list if you’re in desperate need of a laugh.
My friend and I like to tell people that we ended up watching Raaz 3D in a theatre only because we missed multiplex samosas so much. In their defence though, these multiplex samosas — which tasted like my credit card bills and tears in 2012 — were much less unscrupulous than this ghost in Raaz 3D.
He isn’t some old-school ghost. You know, the kind who wanted simple pleasures in life, erm, afterlife. Like doors pretending to be Times Now anchors and terrifying humans by making loud, inscrutable sounds, taps starting to leak right when you doze off, and women tripping and falling into blackholes as if they are a certain country’s GDP.
Don’t know if this ghost was tripping on Indian Twitter, but is suspiciously starved of that one thing that trolls with red rose DPs are — sex. So he asks Bipasha Basu, “Ek zinda mard ek zinda aurat ke saath jo karti hai, tum kar paogi ek pret atma ke saath?” (what a living man does with a living woman, would you be able to do that with an evil spirit?).
Now under normal circumstances, the woman in question would think he’s talking about leaving ‘hy, hottie, n6 boobs, sx?’ messages on at least 300 women’s Insta DMs every morning, but since she is Bengali and according to some Twitter users possesses supernatural powers, Basu understands he is talking about sex.
But she’s also polite and gracious, so she doesn’t break it to him that most living women in India end up having more migraines than sex. Because unlike Mr Pret Atma, half the country’s men only understand consent when their mothers tell them they won’t be washing their Superman bermudas anymore and are turning them into pochas.
Since POSH doesn’t apply to atmas and most Indian offices, he promises her a promotion in evil hierarchy in exchange for sex. Cut to visuals of Basu making out with a maggot-infested outline of a man. See, if you’ve been trying to eat four almonds and two spinach leaves like your favourite influencer, I suggest watch this scene. The only thing you’ll be able to stomach for the next few days is water.
How did we get here? In the film’s own immortal words, ‘Science jism ko jaanta hai, atma ko nahin’. Can’t say it doesn’t ring true to a Bengali who has more mutton biryani in her veins than RBCs.
The ‘creature’ in Creature 3D is a tribute to Delhi landlords who won’t rent to single women. My deep research has revealed that his snarling has the same powers as uncle jis grumbling to brokers, “Drinks leti hai, ladke laati hai.”
No, just tell me, why does this creature pick out a single woman running a hotel in the hills and goes after her life? Especially after a young man lands at her doorstep and sparks begin to fly. Considering men on Tinder go from ‘what’s up’ to ‘fucking bitch’ in less time than the Delhi Police takes to jail students, having a nice man on your doorstep is pretty rare. Of course, 3D ghost man has to play spoilsport.
Called Brahmrakshas, the ghost chases Ahana (played by Bipasha Basu again) around with the zeal of an RWA secretary reporting to his good morning WhatsApp group that a girl ‘live-together kar rahi hai. Nt gud. Also smoking. Tks.’ Ahana, god bless her soul, is not ready to leave.
So every night, the rakshas comes charging at her hotel, meaning to kill her. Ahana must be used to it, considering that most Indian woman must have received a few dozen unsolicited photos of body parts that look like it — a lizard with a human head — in her various social media inboxes. So she digs her heels in and decides to fight the rakshas.
Meanwhile, a familiar monster rears its head in her life. Her boyfriend reveals that he is not who he claims to be and, considering there was no lockdown and dirty dishes even involved, this is an obvious red flag. So Ahana breaks up with him and decides to fight the demon – the other demon — all by herself. The final battle between the rakshas with a municipal corporation-type name and Ahana begins, and giggles are assured.
Krishna Cottage really tests your capacity for suspension of disbelief. The film wants you to believe that Sohail Khan’s three expressions were the hottest property in college across two births, so much so that one woman casually hung around as a ghost till Khan was reborn, grew into an adult and then went after him a second time. She could literally be chilling with Marlon Brando or Bruce Lee, but nope, the heart wants what it wants.
Now this ghost may have possessed a bunch of supernatural powers but GPS was not one of them, so the poor thing had to lurk around the same college and town her lover had died in. And by the time she caught up with how fashion had fast-forwarded in the past 20 years, found Manish Malhotra, waited till he was done ironing the hair on the last human head in sight, her reborn lover had already been snagged by someone else.
Ghostess Disha (played by Isha Koppikar) is a full-fledged ghost who can fling things around and kill people, but somehow still wants to wait for Sohail Khan to dump his girlfriend and ‘like’ her. It’s as plausible as Amit Shah waiting for democracy’s permission to destroy it, but I suspect Krishna Cottage aspired to make a strong sociological statement on literally how far patriarchal conditioning can run, so Disha simpers and does the whole Bollywood drill.
But then, tired of lurking around humans, she musters all the strength of the IT cell discovering that Saif Ali Khan has not named his child after gau mutra, and attacks the humans. Now, who will be their Subramanian Swamy? Watch Krishna Cottage to find out.
Fair warning, Vaastu Shastra drops quite a few corpses on its audiences, but that’s okay. It’s for a noble cause. Our country has forgotten its roots — save a handful of valiant Bollywood songs trying to sass Beyoncé — that our faces must be dipped in talcum powder, and be white at most times. So Vaastu Shastra’s ghosts are so white that they’d have two dozen Bollywood songs written about their wrists. They are so white that you’ll wonder if Simi Garewal collected them to be ashtrays in her living room. They are so white you could photoshop them onto Narendra Modi’s beard and no one would be able to tell the difference, not even the peacocks who are the only living beings the Prime Minister had a legitimate plan to feed during the pandemic.
The plot of Vaastu Shastra is a bit like schemes in the government’s economic relief package — lots of characters that don’t make a whole lot of sense and die before they’ve had the chance to be understood.
My issue is that through the entire film, we don’t get a sense of why these ghosts are out killing people. But that I think is the fault of the time it was released in. Since back then, there were no WhatsApp uncles and aunties who are experts on the effects of diyas and thalis on a fatal virus, we were asked to live with the fact that we won’t perhaps know. Maybe the radiation from being near Ram Gopal Verma’s opinions on women riled them?
Considering the number of ghosts the film shows residing in Mumbai’s suburbs, it could well serve as evidence for Kangana Ranaut to back her claims about the ills infesting Mumbai. That of course, is possible only if Rhea Chakraborty is invoked to do kaala jadoo on our collective memory and erase the existence of a foul-mouthed Sanjay Raut. Till then, let Vaastu Shastra replace make-up bloggers and their MACs on your timeline. Haven’t they bled your savings enough?
BHOOT PART 1: The Haunted Ship
The most terrifying thing about this Bhoot was that Bhumi Pednekar even agreed to be a part of it. I will say a small prayer to protect her against Dharma-washing and proceed.
So a huge ship without a crew barrels into the Mumbai port. (I am finally getting what Kangana was talking about. What’s with these ghosts descending upon Mumbai as if it is a young woman caught in the midst of a media trial, and they are Republic reporters?)
Anyway, the ship. Vicky Kaushal works with the shipping corporation and is put on the job of investigating this abandoned ship and have it sail away from the Mumbai port.
Now, the authorities simply want to get rid of a crewless ship from the country, no questions asked, like it was an anti-CAA protester or something. But Kaushal discovers a young girl inside the bowels of the rusty ship. The girl crawls on all fours and shrieks, that’s pretty much her whole existence. Probably sensing that she’d make a great ‘nationalist’ television anchor one day, Kaushal decides to investigate if she is a ghost or human or whatever and rescue her.
Kaushal then realises that the child is actually human and is being controlled by a ghost inside the ship. So why has a ghost, who has killed the rest of the crew, kept the girl alive? Does he want to run for the Bihar elections in India and an angry woman shouting at everyone could be a ticket to his victory? Is he a Salman Khan fan who fears that his hero may have trouble finding heroines younger than his last haircut for his upcoming films so wants this girl to fill that void?
To find out and laugh, watch the film.