The Haunted Corridors of the Indian Web Series
If you’re a fan of horror, and someone who loves to spend the chilly nights of winter being scared senseless and rushing to turn the lights on, this is for you!
Indian Film and TV Industry has been exploring this genre since a very long time – be it black magic, scary-looking tantriks in shamshans, chudails, daayans, bhoot-pret, pishach, draculas, witches, zombies, or hideous monsters, we have covered it all. Indian shows like Aahat, Fear Files, or Ssshhhh… Koi Hai, etc. have haunted our TV screens since times immemorial, and they still do.
As the Web Entertainment Industry grew and spread its sharp claws into various genres, it also knocked on the windows of horror at 3 am in the night.
Here’s your bloody dose of creepy, terrifying, and spine-chilling horror:
Ghoul premiered on Netflix on 24th August 2018, starring Radhika Apte, Manav Kaul, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, and Mahesh Balraj in pivotal roles. Ghoul is produced by Phantom Films and one of the biggest names in horror, Blumhouse Productions, along with Ivanhoe Pictures.
The story revolves around a loyal military interrogation officer, Nida Rahim, working in a secret military center where terrorists and ‘anti-nationals’ are brought for interrogation and torture. Add to that, a new prisoner who is not human, but a different entity altogether. Delve into the dark dim-lit rooms where both the past and present will haunt the ones trying to survive.
Gehraiyaan is created by the director Vikram Bhatt, and stars Sanjeeda Shaikh and Vatsal Sheth.
Gehraiyaan revolves around Reyna, a 26 year old researcher and surgeon. After a short career break, she moves to Mumbai to get back to work. However, mysterious incidents keep happening in her house and nobody would believe her. Gehraiyaan takes its time to build up the horror and that’s what works for it.
#3 Ragini MMS: Returns:
Ragini MMS: Returns is a horror and erotic web series by ALTBalaji and is a part of the Ragini MMS film franchise. It stars Karishma Sharma, Riya Sen, Nishant Singh Malkani, and Siddharth Gupta in important roles.
A college with a hidden past. A mysterious CD which keeps appearing again and again. Anybody who watches the CD and later has sex, dies. Ragini MMS: Returns is filled with hot and horror. Clearly not for everyone. Some people just prefer pure horror.
Another Vikram Bhatt piece of work. Tantra has black magic as a central theme. With horror and supernatural elements, it portrays a unique family feud in the corporate business sector, filled with cunning characters, murder, death, betrayal, lies, and backstabbing.
Tantra, which stars actors like Aditi Arya, Salina Prakash, and Sandeep Bhardwaj, is available on Vikram Bhatt’s YouTube channel – VB on the Web. The production is obviously of a good quality.
‘Shockers’ is another horror web series available on Hotstar. It features actors like Kalki Koechlin, Prateik Babbar, Rajat Barmecha, Amyra Dastur, Aisha Ahmed, Dia Mirza, Rohan Shah, among others.
Every episode is a different horror story, some you probably already know, some new, some predictable, some not. It seems like a miniature version of Aahat, both in duration, and horror. The music may be somewhat annoying but the actors have done their job well.
Bonus – Shaitaan Haveli:
Shaitaan Haveli is the creation of the comedian Varun Thakur. Available on Amazon Prime Video, this series is not horror per se, but a parody of the 80s Indian horror.
A B-Grade filmmaker wants to create a horror film, set in a haveli in a remote location. What the crew doesn’t know is that while they are shooting a horror film, their life is going to become one as well. It is a funny take on the cheesy horror films with terrible CGI. Shaitaan Haveli is silly yet an entertaining watch, if you’re too bored.
Still a Long Way to Go:
Indian Horror definitely has a long way to go. Be it Films, TV, or the Web, Horror in India needs to go beyond the typical elements and explore the unexplored. India is an amalgamation of various cultures, traditions, religions, etc. each with their own take on the Supernatural. Perhaps, directors and writers need to look into the dark nook and crannies within the country and unearth rich and truly terrifying horror.
Psychological horror is also one aspect that is not used frequently, and although its rarity is what makes it effective, we do need an in-depth exploration of the genre. Found Footage Horror, like the Paranormal Activity series, could also be an effective technique at horror. Maybe India needs a Halloween of its own, a festival that has become a pretty convenient setting for (some pretty good) American horror films.