Bollywood horror movies were under a shadow until movies like Stree hit the jackpot at the box office. Critics and audiences considered Indian horror movies as the poor cousins of Hollywood horror movies.
Campy cinema, misogynist story arcs and fly by night entities ruled this genre for a long time. The Ramsays held the flag flying high, until Ram Gopal Varma and Vikram Bhatt came into the game.
The Ramsays weren’t the only people in the game even in the eighties and ninties. There were other movies and movie makers as well.
Here’s a list of the 5 must watch retro Bollywood horror movies:
#5 Saamri 3D
Saamri 3D is a Ramsay Bollywood horror movie that hit theaters in 1985. Saamri 3D is one of the more distinctive Bollywood horror movies. It is one of the few that show the demon in a positive light.
In Saamri, Dharmesh Saxena is a black magic practicioner who is an all round do-gooder. His relatives kill him off when he prepares a will that gives his entire property to his niece. He then returns from his grave to kill the dastardly relatives.
Read the Saamri 3D review here.
#4 Purana Mandir
In Punra Mandir, the Ramsays dabbled Bollywood storylines with the horror element. A young couple is in love and want to marry, but their father doesn’t allow it.
The girl’s family carries a curse to lose every married woman in the family after the firstborn. Purana Mandir was a heady mix of a modern horror with classic horror. It was also one of the first collaboration of Anniruddha Agarwal and the Ramsays.
A Bollywood horror movie that mixed the social drama genre with the horror genre. Rekha and Anant Nag played a newly married couple who face a horrible spirit. The who, what and why is actually quite interesting.
Mangalsutra is every Bollywood horror movie made after the nineties, because the storyline of several of the Bollywood horror movies were the same – the hubby has a woman on the side who creates havoc in the man’s family life – after she’s dead.
Only in this one, the director gives us the inconsistent narrator and because the movie’s from the eighties, we can’t have a husband who’s possessed and had an affair on the side, right?
I had a hard choice to make between two of the most popular Bollywood horror movies, Veerana and Bandh Darwaza, because both the Ramsay Bollywood horror movies had iconic and instantly recognisable characters and both are part of Bollywood legacy now.
Veerana won because it was a breezy screenplay and an easy movie to watch – with the ghouls the chills and the spills tacitly packed in a tight little box for audiences of all ages to enjoy. No discussion about Bollywood horror movies is complete without talking about the inherent weird stories about Jasmine, the star of the movie.
Mahal is famous for exquisite storyline that’s so Noir, audiences will think its a 2020 movie. The movie has a nuanced innocence to it, making it one of the greatest tragedies that few look out for, because after all, its one of those Bollywood horror movies.
Mahal also has the biggest starcast that Bollywood will ever seen in a Bollywood horror movie. The movie stars Ashok Kumar, Madhubala and Bimal Roy edits. Lata Mangeshkar sang the crazy popular song ‘Aayega Aane Wala’.
These are the five retro Bollywood horror movies that you should watch. The Ramsays were truly the ones who continued making quality, even if campy, Bollywood horror movies until the 90s. After Bandh Darwaza, even they slipped. The 90s saw so many badly made Bollywood horror movies that we finally needed Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot to bring some respect to the genre in India.
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