Bollywood Horror – Rediscovering, restoring and rejoicing in the weird and wonderful world of B Grade Horror movies of Bollywood
I am a big movie aficionado and have always been disappointed to see the limited efforts to preserve and restore classic Indian movies as compared to the west and far east. 90% of Indian movies before Independence are considered lost – There are no copies in existence. Another 20-25% of movies made before the 1970s are also technically lost with their original negatives lost or destroyed. Even bulk of the movies made before the internet age many of which are available on streaming platforms are of comparatively poor quality as compared to the movies of the same period from the west and far east.
The restoration process of old movies to Blu-Ray/4K quality is an expensive process and can cost anywhere between $50K-500K depending on the quality and availability of the movie’s original negative. The Western world has several Boutique Blu-Ray companies and studios like Criterion, Arrow, Kino Lorber, Shout Factory, Severin, Eureka, Warner etc and organizations like Academy of motion pictures and sciences, BFI, World Cinema Project that undertake the expensive effort to restore and remaster classics and a lot of forgotten and cult movies. India has no private companies or studios that undertake such massive restorations. India’s Film Heritage Foundation archives and restores a very small number of select 100-200 movies every year across languages in India.
I am also a big fan of the wave of 80s Horror movies which were brilliantly explored in the documentaries “In the Search for Darkness” and love how several Boutique Blu Ray companies and video labels have been restoring these cult classics and releasing them for fans with tons of special features including documentaries, behind the scenes footage, interviews, deleted scenes, alternate versions, photos and even booklets full of amazing essays about the movies and their creators. So I was highly disappointed when I saw the complete neglect of the same brand of Bollywood Horror from the 80s. Horror in that era was considered a taboo genre of cinema in the country.
So I was delighted to find out that a small American video label with a mission to bring strange, bizarre and forgotten movies from across the globe back to life had given the kind of attention and respect that the neglected and forgotten masters of Bollywood Horror deserved. I jumped at this opportunity to celebrate Halloween with a dose of Bollywood Horror by getting my hands onto a beautiful Limited Edition boxset dedicated to cheesy Bollywood Horror.
This limited set of 3000 boxes titled Bollywood Horror includes six stunningly restored movies on blu ray from the Ramsay Brothers along with a spectacular 80 page booklet navigating through the convoluted history of Indian Horror. The movies in the set are not great movies but strange, bizarre and forgotten which need a bit of love just like Giallo movies from Italy, Hammer from UK, J-Horror, K-Horror and the tons of slasher and monster movies from all over the globe which have been celebrated by their fans for decades.
All the Six Ramsay movies in the box set have been restored to 4K quality from the original negatives of the movies except Bandh Darwaza because its original negatives were damaged and not usable for the upgrade. These movies come with interviews, documentary and even an online lecture by the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. The movies in the set are as follows:
**Veerana (Vengeance of the Vampire)** from 1988 with a star cast of Jasmin, Hemant Birje, Vijayendra Ghatge, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Gulshan Grover, Satish Shah, Vijay Arora and Rajendra Nath
**Purani Haveli (The Monster Wakes)** from 1989 with a star cast of Deepak Parashar, Amita Nangia, Satish Shah, Vijay Arora, Anil Dhawan, Pinchoo Kapoor and Narendra Nath
**Tahkhana (The Dungeon)** from 1986 with a star cast of Hemant Birje, Aarti Gupta, Trilok Kapoor, Puneet Issar and Rajendra Nath
**Purana Mandir (The Haunted Temple)** from 1984 with a star cast of Mohnish Behl, Aarti Gupta, Pradeep Kumar, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Trilok Kapoor, Anirudh Agarwal, Jagdeep and Rajendra Nath
**Aatma (The Ghost)** from 2006 with a star cast of Kapil Jhaveri, Vikram Singh, Shabana Raza, Mukesh Tiwari and Sadashiv Amrapurkar
**Bandh Darwaza (Bride of the Vampire)** from 1990 with a star cast of Hashmat Khan, Manjeet Kullar, Aruna Irani, Raza Murad, Vijayendra Ghatge, Anirudh Agarwal and Johnny Lever
I hope that in the near future not only do foreign video labels and boutique blu ray companies restore and rediscover Bollywood classics but we also raise the level of restoration and preservation of our own cinematic history and celebrate it.