Horror is an abused genre in India – Vishal Furia
As Marathi cinema continues to experiment with innovative themes and cater to an ever-interested audience, stories from different parts of our culture get to see the big screen. Produced by first time producer, Jitendra Patil, Lapachhapi (Hide-N-Seek) is Vishal Furia’s directorial debut.
Talking about the unexplored genre of horror, the complexities of writing and the struggles of a first-time filmmaker, Vishal gets candid with Pandolin, unfolding his journey from script to screen.
How did the germ of the idea first come about? Tell us about the journey from there to this point.
Honestly, if you go to see, horror is a very abused genre in India. There are hardly any good horror films. We have either copied Hollywood, or world cinema, or made bad ones. But at the same time, the audience is quite receptive to them; because whenever a horror film from abroad releases here, it does good business. When you go out in the market with a ‘horror-film pitch,’ there is lot of reluctance because the history of Indian horror lacks statistics. As a culture though, India has its dark side. That gives us a lot of horror stories to tell. And that is what struck me.
I believe that cinema does not have a language. The spoken language is just a support system
This is a film that talks about an extremely social message. How difficult is involving a message like this in the medium of film, which is essentially something people associate with entertainment?
This is where the writing comes into play. You must keep it entertaining while saying what you have to say. And that is what we have done. We have a social angle that comes in, but it does not preach. It just leaves you with a thought. The story moves forward while intertwining drama with horror and that works in my favour.
Marathi cinema recently is on a boom with unusual stories following one another. Does this creatively enable one to think more liberally?
Yes. It does, definitely. I chose to make the film in Marathi because I wanted to keep it pure and honest in terms of subject and content. Whenever I approached a Hindi-film producer, they would want to add sex and nudity and all sorts of things that don’t go with the story. I wanted to keep it simple. Apart from that, I also believe that cinema does not have a language. The spoken language is just a support system. Movies have their own visual way of communicating. That is why I did not have language as a bar, and chose Marathi. I knew that the audience there is receptive to good cinema and luckily I found Mr. Jitendra Patil, who got attracted to the story, over everything else.
When two genres tend to mix, writing becomes more complex and consequentially difficult. Do you agree with that in context with Hide-N-Seek?
Absolutely. I think this is a very difficult story to write. Apart from being a horror flick, it is also a film that is socially very relevant. So, it is very important that a balance is sort of maintained while writing it, so that one genre does not overpower the other. And I think luckily we have achieved that balance, because the audience that has seen it so far has found it scary and at the same time has got the message we were trying to put across.
When you go out in the market with a ‘horror-film pitch,’ there is lot of reluctance because the history of Indian horror lacks statistics
How important is a platform like Film Bazaar, and specifically the Viewing Room for filmmaking today? What do you look forward to at the Bazaar?
To be very frank, I will be able to answer this question once I have attended the Bazaar. But it seems like an interesting opportunity. There have been lot of films in the past that have been boosted by platforms like Film Bazaar. This is the first time that we have enrolled for the Bazaar, and we are getting a decent response in terms of the interest and meeting requests. We have also been featured in the ‘Film Bazaar Recommends’ section and that has made things all the more interesting. At the moment all we can say is that we are only looking forward to it.