Bollywood horror films

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Bollywood horror films have been a sub-genre of the Hindi film industry since its early days. In common with horror films from other countries the films generally consist of darkness, an old mansion, or an evil being in search of power or revenge. Although critics have cited the films' violence, the films have garnered a niche audience and surprisingly some of them have become mainstream hits.

Some more-successful Bollywood horror movies are Mahal, Purana Mandir, Veerana, Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche, Dahshat, Sannata, Purani Haveli, Bandh Darwaza and the 1979 hit Jaani Dushman.[1]



The first real horror movie made by the Indian film industry was Kamal Amrohi's Mahal in 1949. The film (which starred Ashok Kumar and Madhubala in leading roles) proved a major box office hit, leading Madhubala and Lata Mangeshkar into stardom. Hemant Kumar's Bees Saal Baad (released in 1962) was another film which proved to be a box-office success. This film ignited the huge increase in popularity of horror-genre movies in the following years. Gumnaam (1965) and Bhoot Bungla (also 1965) were some of the other major horror movies which were seen in theaters at this time.

One of the major aspects behind the success of the horror movies of this decade (apart from a good storyline) was the presence of high-class music and singing, a Bollywood trademark. These films also had well-known actors and directors, which helped present some of the most chilling scenes in Indian cinema. Background music in films like Mahal and Gumnaam " madhumati" and Woh kaun thi" helped to create the magic. Some of the films (like Gumnaam and Bees Saal Baad) played down their supernatural elements.


This period saw the popularity of horror films in India increasing, with a number of popular titles. Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche (released in 1972 and directed by the Ramsay brothers) proved successful, laying the foundation for horror films in the following years. 1976 saw Bollywood's first-ever combination of horror and fantasy in Rajkumar Kohli's Nagin. The star-studded film proved a major box-office hit. Two years later, Kohli gave Bollywood one of its biggest hits in Jaani Dushman. It is considered to be the biggest horror movies to have come out from Indian film industry till date by many experts. The film proved to be a cult one and gave inspiration to the upcoming horror movies. Other horror movies released at this time were Darwaza (1978), Jadu Tona (1977), Aur Kaun? (1979) Saboot, Gehrayee, Red Rose, Guest House,[2] Dahshat and Sannata (all 1980). Gehrayee (inspired by The Exorcist) saw Padmini Kolhapure playing a young girl (Linda Blair's character in The Exorcist), while Rajesh Khanna played a psychotic killer in Red Rose.

The 1980s saw many Indian filmmakers trying their hands in the horror-movie industry because of its low cost and profitability; this ultimately ushered in the decline in quality of horror films during the decade. Some successful titles were the Ramsay brothers' Purana Mandir (1984), Saamri (1985), Veerana (1985) Tahkhana (1986), Dak Bangla (1987), Purani Haveli (1989), Shaitani Ilaaka and Bandh Darwaza (both 1990).

Most of the movies which had low budgets proved successful; the Ramsay brothers' horror factory continued churning out film after film. However, notable in the horror movies of the 1980s was that much emphasis was placed on ghosts and most films contained more sex scenes. Navin Nischal, Rakesh Roshan, Dilip Dhawan, Aruna Irani, Deepak Parashar, Javed Khan and Sriprada were some of the stars who appeared in the horror films of this decade.[3]


In this time the most of the horror movies were a big unsuccessful at box office. There was only one hit horror movie at 1990 was Raat (1992), The first hit horror movie came after 13 years which was Bhoot (2003) and the film like Horror story (2013) and The raaz series. Phoonk(2008), which became one of the most scariest movies in Bollywood history, with bring some more expectation with Ragini MMS (2011).


  1. ^ [1] List of Hindi horror films. Accessed January 26, 2011.
  2. ^ Guest House at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ [2] Hindi Horror Movies. Accessed January 26, 2011.