This post was originally written in 2014. Click here for my 2017 edition.
Halloween is just days away, and although horror flicks are still somewhat rare in Bollywood, there are several creepy Hindi films available for streaming on Netflix to get you in the mood for the holiday.
Raaz 3 (2012)
I loved Bipasha Basu as a movie star so desperate to hold on to her fame that she makes a deal with the devil. Emraan Hashmi plays her conflicted boyfriend, and Esha Gupta the up-and-comer who drives Bipasha to black magic. While by no means terrifying, Raaz 3 does have some eerie, atmospheric sets and fun performances. My review
13B (2009) 13B has a neat premise: a daily soap opera predicts the horrors that await a family in their new apartment, but only the husband (played by R. Madhavan) realizes the show’s significance. While more of a creepy thriller than out-and-out horror flick, it serves as an entertaining satire on obsessive TV viewing habits. My review
Dangerous Ishhq (2012)
The best thing to be said for Dangerous Ishhq is that it’s a pretty film to look at. Karishma Kapoor returned to the screen after nine years to play a model who hallucinates the deadly events of her past lives. This supernatural murder mystery makes up the rules as it goes along, and the acting is just okay. My review
Gauri: The Unborn (2007)
Atul Kulkarni and Rituparna Sengupta play a married couple who must protect their daughter from a spirit that seeks to claim her. Sounds scary.
13B provides plenty of chills, without the gore that has become the hallmark of Hollywood thrillers.
As far as haunted houses go, apartment 13B is pretty tame. Curdled milk and unflattering digital photos are the most common complaints. But the apartment has one nifty feature: a TV set that shows the futures of the people who live in 13B.
Each day at a specific time, a soap opera airs on the TV, featuring characters analogous to members of the family currently living in the apartment. When the brother on the soap gets a raise, so does the brother in the real-life family. Manohar (R. Madhavan), the family’s patriarch, is the only one who understands the correlation, and he becomes determined to figure out who — or what — is behind it.
The movie is more of a thriller than a true horror film. The atmosphere in the apartment building is creepy, adding to the tension as Manohar waits for each day’s episode to show him what new dangers his family will face.
There are a few technical hiccups early in the film, such as badly-synced sound effects and subtitles that are hard to read against a light background. And the film’s two musical sequences seem way out of place.
But the film succeeds as a satire of TV viewing habits, particularly obsessive soap opera watching. The women in Manohar’s family are amused by his sudden interest in their favorite soap, even as they fail to grasp its true meaning.
For the weekend starting Friday, March 6, the AMC South Barrington 30 is the place for all things Bollywood in the Chicago area. The theater is carrying over Billu Barber and Delhi-6 as well as bringing in two new movies, 13B and Dhoondte Reh Jaoge. The AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville will carry over Delhi-6.
13B is a thriller about a family terrorized by their television set. Fortunately the TV set deals in psychological terror, not the appliances-come-to-life kind of terror from Maximum Overdrive.
Dhoondte Reh Jaoge is about a couple of guys who try to cash in by making a film guaranteed to flop. The plot sounds a lot like the movie The Producers, and the zany look of the film’s website concerns me — filmmakers sometimes mistake “zany” for “funny”.