For long, romance, action, comedies and family dramas have been the staple of regular Bollywood fare. However, with the advent of the ‘multiplex’ culture and a bold generation of young directors not afraid to experiment, there have been off-beat movies like ‘DevD’, ‘Luck by Chance’, ‘Life… in a Metro’, etc. But when it comes to horror movies, the genre has been languishing in the tacky productions of Ramsay Brothers of yore.
True, there have been gems like an early Ram Gopal Varma film ‘Raat’ and later ones like ‘Bhoot’, ‘Phoonk’, and the hit ‘Raaz’. However, horror movies have mostly scared away the audiences from the theatres, mostly due to poor production standards, or weak story lines or lack of aggressive marketing.
Now, Percept Picture Company (PPC) has stepped into this genre, which is usually not found lucrative by other production houses. In fact, so upbeat is PPC about horror films that it has launched an entire division, christened PPC Horrotainment, dedicated to making, distributing and marketing horror films in India. PPC will be releasing 10 films in this genre at the rate of three films every year.
On why horror, Navin Shah, CEO, Percept Picture Company, explained, “Horror in itself is a very huge genre of the film industry. Bollywood has already created milestones in this segment by producing remarkable movies like ‘Woh Kaun Thi’, ‘Gumnaam’, and many more. However, these movies were not created for all kinds of audiences, but for a selected few. This genre is really lucrative if we produce movies keeping all segments of viewers in our mind.”
Speaking on the creative idea behind launching such segment, Sahilendra Singh, Joint MD, Percept Picture Company, elaborated, “In the sixties, horror was part of mainstream cinema with superhits such as ‘Madhumati’, ‘Woh Kaun Thi’, ‘Mera Saaya’, etc. However, over the years, horror was stuck and classified as B-grade. In 2002, horror made a stunning comeback with the superhit ‘Raaz’. In 2007, horror in Bollywood got a required shot in the arm with Priyadarshan’s blockbuster ‘Bhool Bulaiya’, and with the recent successes of ‘Phoonk’, ‘1920’ and ‘Raaz - 2’, horror in Bollywood is definitely on an upswing.”
After creating masterpieces like ‘Viraasat’ and ‘Hera Pheri’, to name a few, Priyadarshan will be venturing into the world of ghosts, spirits and the unknown with the new film, intriguingly titled ‘Grrr…’, for PPC Horrotainment. On choosing Priyadarshan to direct the first film for the division, Singh said, “Priyadarshan was chosen for our first PPC Horrotainment presentation ‘Grrr…’ as he is known for his intellectual and brilliant movie making techniques and will broaden his versatility by churning his talent in the new genre with Percept Picture Company.”
“We are also in the process of finalising few other directors. At the moment I cannot reveal all the names before they are finalised,” Shah added.
Marketing it right
A 360-degree approach will be adopted to market these films through mediums like online. Web applications would be high on the Percept agenda.
Shah informed, “As far as our marketing plans are concerned, we are approaching in 360-degree arenas. Our plans are to create franchises to merchandise on the lines of Horrortainment. However, for now we are only planning for movies, but going ahead, we will be producing special 2D and 3D digital games along with horror comics. PPC will produce a complete package of this segment.”
He further said, “We have our own advertising agency to suffice all the needs of our communication purposes. We are going through with only PerceptH, which is the ad agency for Percept Picture Company.”
Sound of music and distribution rights
Music has been a major draw for horror movies, take ‘Raaz’ in recent times, for example. Keeping this in mind, PPC would pay special attention to promoting the music as well as music and distribution rights.
On this, Shah said, “Music plays a big role in making any horror movie a big hit. Therefore, we are very conscious of the music rights and distribution of our films. We are planning to distribute our films and the music rights not only in the metro cities, but in the entire Tier I and II belt across the country. We wish to do this as a campaign on the national level.”
As to how much PPC expects to spend on the horror movies, Shah replied, “It depends on the size and structure of the film. On an average, the spends would be in the region of Rs 50-60 crore.”
Perhaps PPC Horrotainment will be able to give the much maligned horror genre the much needed respectability and marketing muscle. We surely will watch their progress with much interest.