Vishal Furia: Audience doesn’t need horror films with sleaze anymore

Horror films may have a large international fan base, but their popularity in India has been limited with a few takers. Vishal Furia admits that creating Chhorii (2021), starring Nushrat Bharucha, was quite difficult for him.

“I had a difficult time pitching the film because Bollywood has seen horror in a very templated format — songs, sex and a bit of horror. That’s the reason why I had to make the story in Marathi as Lapachhapi to prove a point. Now post release of Chhorii, the industry is more receiving,” says the director.

He goes on to say that scripts with a “focus on adding masala, or combining romance and comedy”, contribute to the genre’s unpopularity and keep “A-listers away” from it.

Furia explains, “The scripts that are sent to me are still more masala than horror and not very innovative or they are too confused and convoluted.”

This, the filmmakers feels, has made horror into a B-genre, thus taking a beating. “That has also resulted in stars and good actors being a little reluctant to embrace this genre. Worldwide, it has undergone a great evolution. We lag a bit here. But now, the audience is ready and hungry for Indian horror. They don’t need it to come with sleaze anymore. They need pure horror and good stories. So the times are changing,” he asserts.

OTT platforms have given the much-needed boost too, he agrees. People can access international content which gives them a chance to understand what potential genre holds. “Thankfully, films like Lapachhapi, Tumbbad, Chhorii are now accessible to the audiences due to the OTT platforms. Also, a lot of amazing foreign horror is accessible. That will make horror genre filmmaking a challenge for Indian filmmakers. The audiences won’t blindly accept Bollywood tropes in horror anymore,” he ends.

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