03 August, 2021

Palace Of Horrors, House Of Mirth Bollywood

They will make your flesh creep with terror, then double you up with laughter—for B-town is drenched in horror-comedies

Palace Of Horrors, House Of Mirth Bollywood

A fearsome ghoul with bared fangs who gets his comeuppance in a riotous pratfall; ghosts of various types out to frighten humans, but who are scared witless by their own bugbears—fearful, frolicsome fun may apparently seem to be an oxymoron, but Bollywood appears to have learned the trick of splicing the opposites: making audiences tremble with fear and tickling their funny bones at the same time. Struggling to stay afloat after being devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic over the past year, the Hindi film industry has stumbled, in these hard times, on horror-comedies— a hybrid genre well established in Western cinema, but never explored to its full potential in Bollywood.

The heady concoction of horror and humour is the latest in-thing in B-town, where a new stable of film-makers is desperately looking for a potent formula to bring audiences back into theatres which, ironically, looked no better than ghost towns in post-lockdown.

What began as a trickle with the ast­ounding success of the Rajkummar Rao-Shraddha Kapoor starrer Stree  in 2018...

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