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RAAT (1992)



Ram Gopal Verma's RAAT (1992)

A good horror movie is a rarity in our country that churns out the largest number of films every year (you will see very few in our list too). Almost none of them measure upto the quality which come out of Hollywood, barring a few, specially those made before the turn of the century. Raat – revisited…

In the previous century horror movies were a forte of the Ramsay brothers, but none of their movies except for maybe a Darwaza or a Hotel were somewhat out there but most of the films only evoked laughter rather than any sense of terror, specially in current times with an improvement in filmmaking, because of the superficial makeup and the movement of the so-called ghost or the beast or whatever you my call them.

Better horror movies have been made by other directors right from the 1949 movie Mahal with Ashok Kumar and Madhubala to Raaz 3, Ragini MMS and Bhool Bhuliya as they differ in substance and story. Apart from the visuals, any good horror movie depends heavily on the background score as most of the fear is generated from this Audio Visual (AV) effect combined, you will find this to be true in any horror movie worth its salt. Especially the ones directed by Ram Gopal Varma (RGV).

Thus we have chosen this one from the previous century – RGV’s Raat. Believe me it did evoke screams when the ghoul was finally shown in the basement of the house after building up the suspense with the background score before that. It was shot as a bilingual both in Hindi and Tamil and was successful in both on the box-office. Raat is considered a classic due to the subtle approach to horror and then all hell breaking loose in the end and then the exorcism, this formula was used in subsequent scary flicks. It was the last film in Hindi film industry to be shot on a 70mm negative.

A college student Mini Sharma (Revathi) and her family shift into a new house, a cat is killed under the wheels of Mr Sharma’s (Akash Khurana) car and this sets in motion unexpected supernatural events each taking a life of a person close to Mini including the inspector who had come home to investigate the deaths. As Mini starts behaving strangely, Mr Sharma arranges for a psychiatrist (Anant Nag) to cure her, even as her mother beseeches Sharji (Om Puri) an exorcist who is suggested by their neighborhood old lady to exorcise Mini. Mini easily takes care of the Doc while Sharji finds the source of the supernatural power in the basement. Then ensues a face-off between him and the spirit of the previous owner’s paramour who was murdered by him mercilessly, she had taken her revenge on him but was not satiated and now she had taken over Mini’s body and refused to leave. After much ado Sharji is able to exorcise the ghost who leaves as bright light and thunderous sound.

The shot taking, background score by Mani Sharma and the screenplay were the stars of the film. There was only one innocuous non intrusive song in the entire movie. The movie was produced by Boney Kapoor and released on 7 February 1992. Raat was the remake of Audrey Rose and the sounds were recorded in real-time and not in the studio. Michael Jackson’s song Bad was also used in the background. It was RGV’s first horror film and he repeated some of the tricks used in here in his subsequent horror flick Bhoot.

Raat is revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

Credits of Raat:
Cast: Revathi, Om Puri, Anant Nag, Akash Khurana
Produced by Boney Kapoor
Directed by Ram Gopal Verma

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