I write this at the unearthly hour of 4 AM. I don’t think anything else can be a fitting tribute to the man who infused new ideas into the Ramsay House of Horrors, Shyam Ramsay. I have not met the man in person. I find some of my favorite horror films from the Ramsay brand of horror are his directorial. Shyam Ramsay, as his filmography shows, married tech with what the Ramsays were known for, horror. Basically, he made India’s first modern tech horror film.
The director also made Andhera in 1975 – a film about a race-car driver cum criminal losing his hand and then making a mechanical one to kill his enemies. This film released in 1975, long before the Terminator was a twinkle in James Cameron’s eye. He made 3D Saamri, which as the title touts is a 3D film, making it the first Bollywood 3d Bollywood horror film. His filmography also goes on to show that it was he who directed Zee Horror show for a whole four years in the nineties.
This was at a time when TV was considered to be where film makers went to die. Not only did he survive, he revived the Ramsay banner for a whole new generation. Ramsay went on to make two other tv series, Naagin and Anhonee. He directed Ajooba Kudrat Ka, a unique Bollywood film about the bond a girl and a literal monster creates. This was somewhat like Godzilla, only, completely Bollywood.
Shyam Ramsay saw where the industry was veering. Television has at least three series right now about Naagins and bhoots and whatnot. He made a horror comedy in 2010, Bachao Bhoot Hai, long before Stree and Phillauri and Golmaal 4. Somewhere along the way, he found time to create what we call the DNA of Bollywood horror today, with films like Veerana, Tahkhana, Purana Mandir, Bandh Darwaza and Mahakaal.
The entire Ramsay saga is a lesson for budding and upcoming film makers. But in all of that, Shyam’s story remains the brightest.