3 AM: Paranormal Investigators Invade Bollywood

Name3 AM
CastRannvijay Singh, Kavin Dave, Salil Acharya, Anindita Nayar
Writer and DirectorVishal Mahadkar
ProducerHandprint Pictures, Essel Vision Production Ltd.
Release Year2014

3 AM is a Bollywood horror movie that hit theaters in 2014. By 2014, Hollywood horror movies like The Conjuring hit Indian theaters.  Newer audiences now knew what a Paranormal Investigator was.

When I say newer audiences, I mean newer audiences. That’s because Bollywood horror audiences knew a paranormal investigator since a long, long time. For them, he was the saffron clad Baba who’d save the day.

Indian audiences take paranormal investigators with a pinch of salt because you will see a car on every street selling, literally, snake oil. Oils that will cure every problem that you face. Pamphlets advertising Babas who solve your problems are common all over India.

Because Indians take a while to believe anything, the concept of paranormal investigators haven’t yet caught up. Yes, Indians pay thousands and lakhs to a priest to do a yagna of their new house or shop, but hiring a paranormal investigator with their props and machines is still a first world thing for us.

Watch 3 AM:

That’s not to say that we don’t have Paranormal Investigators. We have had one of the most popular PIs, Gaurav Tiwari. He died under mysterious circumstances that are yet not clear. Personally, I take the concept of Paranormal Investigating with a huge chunk of salt.

These guys work on the principle that I read in one of the oldest Bollywood horror movies, ‘those who want proof will not believe, whatever proof you give them, and the ones who believe don’t want any proof.’

So, whether you believe in them or not is something closer to take it or leave it. That brings us to this Bollywood horror movie, released a year after The Conjuring hit theaters. Here’s our throwback review:

3 AM Synopsis

A young media professional, Sunny, is having the time of his life. His show is successful and he has a girlfriend, Sarah,  who’s ready to become his wife.  Things get better for him, when he proposes his girlfriend. The two marry and look forward for a blissful life.

However, things take a turn for the worse, when his wife commits suicide, hanging herself in a Mills that’s famous for supernatural occurences. He begins an introvert and stops all social activities, until his friends encourage him to return to business.

He pitches a reality show to his bosses, which will show paranormal activity in the same mill that his wife was found dead in. As the friends start spending time in the mill, they find out that the mill was bound to create troubles.

The last owner of the mill dabbled in black magic and was very cruel towards his employees. One day, a fire guts the mills and kills all of them. The three find out that the mill owner’s spirit still tortures the spirits of the mill workers.

What follows is next is whether Sunny and his friends survive the evil mill owner and the answer to why did his wife choose that mill to commit suicide?


3 AM is a movie that tries to be a modern, urban horror. There’s no cursed mansion, no old temple where a demon resides or even a demon that terrorises a village. In stead, we have a mill owner who terrorises the soul of all the mill workers.

That is a good concept actually. Mumbai became a city of mills in the seventies and the eighties and actually crime started in Mumbai when the mills stopped their businesses.  Unfortunately, 3 AM is too small a movie to delve on that concept. In fact, this Bollywood horror movie suffers mostly because it has a TV mentality.

Also, the prosthetics and the CGI works is amazingly good – the demons are fully visible and aren’t hiding behind smoke and mirrors. And that’s a problem for the movie also, that’s because audiences still look the spooky, peekaboo aspect of the celluloid demon.

All in all, the movie tried to bring several woke aspects to Indian audiences, going all the way to set up a title card explaining the title of the movie. Indian audiences are more conversant with ‘aadhi raat’ and not the 3 AM aspect of horror.  The idea that 3 AM is the time for the ghosts is still very intrinsic within the horror fan circles.

And that’s the problem with most of the Bollywood horror movies that hit theaters post 2000. They creators had decided that the Ramsay model of drama, chills, sleaze and thrills won’t work and wanted to make content that was closer to their Hollywood counterparts.

YouTube hits tell us that its those movies that are still working. We have a Veerana with 5 crore views on YouTube. We have so many TV channels still giving out the same dramatic horror to thousands of home audiences.

3 AM brought to us very urban and woke concepts like a Paranormal Investigator, a Reality Show Producer, so and so forth. Half the horror audience didn’t connect with these aspects and the other half weren’t impressed by the storylines – and sorely complained against the absence of gore – something that got oodles of in movies of the west.

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About Roy D'Silva 483 Articles
Roy D'Silva loves nicely made horror films,books and series. He has spent a lifetime covering various entertainment beats and has finally found his calling covering the paranormal/supernatural/horror fiction beat.