How Anushka Sharma’s Pari Exorcises Bollywood’s Lacklustre Horror

Bollywood

How Anushka Sharma’s Pari Exorcises Bollywood’s Lacklustre Horror

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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efore Anushka Sharma’s Pari, the last time a Bollywood A-lister headlined a horror film was way back in 2003 (Revathy was an unknown face when Raat released). At the time, acting in a horror film was as much a gamble for an actress’ career, as it is now. In Ram Gopal Varma’s freakishly sleek Bhoot, Urmila Matondkar played Swati, a woman possessed by a the ghost of the person killed in the high rise apartment she and her husband, Vishal (Ajay Devgn) move into.

Bhoot came at a time when the Raaz-ification of the Bollywood horror genre was yet to unfold, and it actually strived to be worthy of the genre. It was one of the earliest instances of taking the genre seriously; the film had no songs, romantic subplots, and instead boasted of an evil spirit backstory that didn’t go down the “jilted lover from the past” route. The novelty of Bhoot’s offering as a supernatural horror film lay unmistakably in RGV letting everyday objects acquire ominous overtones instead of ODing on the blood.

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