Published in: Verve Magazine, May 2013, Verve’s Got The Nerve
Quirky, dark or gut-wrenching screaming…. When did zombie movies come into fashion in Indian cinema?
Remember the Resident Evil series and Dawn of the Dead (2004) type Hollywood flicks that come with lashings of trashy cannibalistic blood, gore (think flying body parts) and gut-wrenching screaming? It seems, now, Hindi filmmakers are ready to move beyond thrillers, romance and slapstick and dip their lenses into a hitherto untouched genre.
Last month we were introduced to India’s first zombie origin horror film with a runtime of just 90 minutes. Luke Kenny’s Rise of the Zombie aspires to be an international-style trilogy that begins with the birth of a zombie (Neil Parker, wildlife photographer). We’re also awaiting Navdeep Singh’s on-again, off-again zomedy, Rock The Shaadi, with Abhay Deol and Genelia (a Punjabi wedding that has zombies as guests) to take off.
But eventually, Saif Ali Khan, whom we think would make a great vampire, has decided to foray into zombie land too, and go the full circuit by becoming a blond, wannabe Russian zombie-slayer. Cute. Directed by the duo, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK of Shor In The City (2011) fame, Go Goa Gone, India’s first zomedy about an adventure gone awry in Goa, releases this month. Starring Kunal Khemu, Vir Das and Anand Tiwari, the trailer promises a funny, if quirky ride, self-confessedly leaping into the zomcom genre. As we are soon to discover, zombie comedies can be slapstick or dark, and in our desi version, masala mixed with a healthy dose of bheja fry.
And, for those keen on foraging abroad for a diet of gore, World War Z releases this year, along with the TV version of the popular movie, Zombieland (2009), while The Walking Dead franchise of comic books, TV series, web series and video games keeps rolling out something new. Get ready for a life-threatening movie-going experience this year!
1. Zombies are not ghosts, ghouls, mummies or vampires. Think more ‘animated corpses resurrected by mystical means, such as witchcraft’ (Wikipedia).
2. Largely seen as the walking undead, drawing from George Romero’s flick Night of the Living Dead (1968), which, apparently, was partly inspired by Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, I Am Legend. Romero’s movie set off a trend of corny zombie lines like, ‘They’re coming to get you, Barbara.’
3. Victor Halperin’s White Zombie (1932) is believed to be the first zombie film, if one discounts the zombie like character in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1919) and Frankenstein’s (1910) reanimated corpse.
4. The Walking Dead had its actors go through an on-set zombie school to learn how to walk and behave like zombies.