As we walk down the lane of sequels to IT and Annabelle, we put a blind eye forward to Indian horror. Ranging from monsters to blood, we have got ’em all.
Kings Of Horror by Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas narrates the untold story about the first family of Indian horror that redefined cinema – the Ramsays.
The opening scene of the same showcases a distraught Sultanate of Bijapur, Raja Hariman Singh who searches for his lost daughter, Rupali in the deep dark forests of Samri, the Shaitan. The initial days and narratives of Ramsay’s relied largely on monstrosity and over-the-top screams.
Producing horror films yearly, the Ramsays carved their own niche in a cinema landscape which drew largely from carnival-esque sets, costumes and family dramas. Horror as a theme was rarely explored and still isn’t. Ramsay came from Karachi to Bombay, post the Partition, trying his hand at a variety of career choices, however, failing miserably at both. A particular scene of an exaggerated ghost struck a chord amongst the audience and he decoded the secret to making horror, which he further expounded to his sons.
The movie neatly reminds us that the Indian audience is drawn towards an infusion of sex and horror, which still exists, at a large scale. Working on these lines, Ramsay incorporated sleaziness bypassing censorship trials. As Jerry Pinto said, “No one was there for logic, but the thrill of it; thrills of terror and sex.” The skin show and the hows of it also has a significant impact on the outcome of a movie. As Anurag Kashyap says, the definition of a movie rated ‘A’ in India isn’t a sensible mind, but anything dirty.
However, Ramsay’s contribution to the Indian cinema stands questionable. Some state their work to be challenging the normalcy of the society and setting a new niche whereas some consider it pretty insignificant. Other than creating a brand, audience and a small-film industry economy, it fell short in front of the English audience.
What I particularly found interesting was the ending sequence with clips from Ramsay’s movies, coupled with beats and lined up with women moaning and monsters glaring with their red eyes. The idea of horror in India has been synonymous to a haveli (mansion), guards and trouble inside the haveli with a dash (read excess) of sex and the Ramsays stayed true to it.
The filmmakers captured Ramsay’s history in a narrative which stands alienated to the current generation. This film doesn’t just preserve an entire generation’s childhood, but also a genre of cinema which still thrives.
Catch Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas’s film “Kings Of Horror” from 10:15 am onwards on September 20 at the India International Centre. To see the full Open Frames Festival programme, click here.