BOLLYHORROR! AT THE ICA, LONDON
A Season Of South Asian Horror
17– 31 August 2007, ICA, London
18 August 2007 – Zibahkhana – Hell’s Ground London premiere with director Q&A
Zibahkhana – Hell’s Ground / Bhoot (Ghost) / Bandh Darwaza (Closed Door) / Purana Mandir (The Old Temple) / Nagin (The Female Snake) / Mahal (The Palace) / Darna Mana Hai (Don’t Be Afraid)
Celebrate the darker side of Bollywood with a season of Bollywood Horror at the ICA including the London premiere of Zibahkhana – Hell’s Ground Pakistan’s first gore movie on 18th August.
From 17 – 31 August, seven Bollyhorrors will be screened at the ICA charting the rise of the Horror genre from the south Asian movie industry. The classic ghost tale Mahal (The Palace – 1949), kicks off this season that takes us through to the 70’s and 80’s with murderous revenge thriller Nagin (The Female Snake - 1976 TBC) and the best of Bollywoods answer to Wes Craven; Shyam and Tulsi Ramsay’s films Purana Mandir (The Old Temple - 1984) unleashing Bollywood’s first homegrown monster and Bandh Darwaza (Closed Door - 1990) their homage to the Dracula stories. Demonic possessions come in the form of Bhoot (Ghost -2003) drawing inspiration from the Exorcist and Darna Mana Hai (2003). All culminating in an Exclusive preview of the first gore movie to come out of Pakistan Zibahkhana – Hell’s Ground(2006).
Pakistan’s first gore film Zibahkhana – Hell’s Ground is the first modern horror film to be shot in Pakistan. Made on a shoestring budget and breaking all of the rules of local productions Hells Ground unleashes a new generation of film making talent on audiences. Five teens get lost on their way to a rock concert, are menaced by flesh eating mutations and then fall into the clutches of a family of backwoods killers. The film includes copious amounts of gore alongside a splattering of social commentary and several slices of dark humour.
Directed by Omar Ali Khan, Pakistan 2006, 90mins, English subtitles.
Darna Mana Hai
Six friends get stranded in a dense forest after their car breaks down. They find an abandoned ruin, light a bonfire and therein begins the backdrop for each of them to share their own ghoulish stories with each other. From a husband trying to shock his wife, a schoolteacher spooked by a mysterious turnaround in an underperforming pupil to a bizarre hitchhiking experience. All these stories are underpinned by the mysterious disappearances of each of the friends throughout the night. Featuring Shilpa Shetty, Saif Ali Khan, Samira Reddy and Nana Patekar.
Directed by Prawal Rawan, India, 2003.
A young couple; Vishal & Swati move into their ideal home on the 12 floor of the high rise. Undeterred by the discovery that the previous tenant was a woman who killed her son and committed suicide. After a while Swati’s strange behaviour begins to change as she is slowly possessed by the malingnant spirit wanting to exact revenge. Loaded with atmospheric sound effects and some surprise scenes that definitely nod to The Exorcist the film, like Darna Mana Hai also departs from adding musical numbers in favour of tension building climaxes.
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, India 2003, 113mins, English subtitles.
Ajay Agarwal returns as the Indian vision of Dracula. Living in the Black Mountains Nevla is the tall, fanged, black cloaked monster/mystic of the mountains. Asked by an infertile couple to help them conceive, Nevla agrees and a bargain is struck. If they give birth to a boy they are allowed to keep the child. If a girl is born she must be returned to live with Nevla. Their daughter Kaamya is born and the new parents refuse to give up their child. A fight ensues; Lajo the mother is poisoned and the child kidnapped. Her husband goes to the mountain with a posse to overturn the evil Nevla. They succeed and put him in an eternal slumber. 18 years later Kaamya the young starting to turn to the evil that lies in the Black Mountains…
Directed by Tulsi & Shyam Ramsay, India 1990, 145mins, English subtitles.
Spawning Bollywood’s first home grown monster in the form of Saamri (Ajay Agarwal) a cannibalistic, child murdering ghoul who lives in the Purana Mandir of the films title. The film launched the 80’s horror boom in Bollywood with the biggest ever opening weekend grosses to date. Samir curses the Rajkumar family after they capture him and put him to death. Generations later the daughter of the same household goes back to the temple to try and lift the curse. Samir is inadvertently released from his 200 years of incarceration and all hell breaks loose. Purana Mandir has all the trademark ingredients of a typical Ramsay horror the flesh, the gore, cheap double entendres, floating mists and ominous lighting, the hairy monsters and the fantastic use of atmospheric locations. A definite must for all.
Directed by Shyam and Tulsi Ramsay, India, 1984, 144mins, English subtitles.
Featuring a star studded cast including Jatendra, Sunil Dutt, Reena Roy and Rekha Nagin was a runaway box office success. Nagin follows the bloody revenge of a female ichandani (shapeshifting) snake against a group of men who kill her mate on the night on which their love was to be consummated. Jetindra and Reena Roy play the 100 year old snakes that have the ability to take human form. With her piercing green snake eyes, Roy wreaks her revenge as seduces the men to their deaths. Nagin re-makes the western classic rape revenge thriller with a uniquely Indian twist.
Directed by Rajkumar Kholi, 1976, India.
Arriving at his newly acquired mansion, Shanker (Ashok Kumar) learns the tragic history of the house and the mysterious death of the former owner and his lover 40 years earlier. That evening as Shanker muses over the possibility that he may be the reincarnation of the previous owner he is visited by the spirit of Kamini; the dead mistress of the house and is immediately entranced. To distract him from his growing obsession of Kamini, his good friend rushes through his marriage to Ranjana. Haunted by the voice of Kamini, Shanker moves to the country to try and find some peace. Disaster ensues, and no matter how far he goes the haunting chimes of the witching hour follows him to the farthest reaches. Featuring legendary vocals from Lata Mangeshaker’sdebut hit for the theme song Ayega Ahenwala, Mahal was an undisputed hit of its time.
Directed By Ashok Amrohi, India, 1949, 165mins, English Subtitles.