Prashantt Guptha is a Bollywood actor, who has acted in several supernatural films, like Kaalo and 6-5 = 2. We got in touch with the actor and asked him about his views on the Horror Industry in India now.
Tell us about your journey to Kaalo?
I met the producer through the manager i had at the time, and it was followed up with an audition. It was God’s timing, i landed that film quite smoothly. As for signing up, why not? It was a part in a movie, I was getting paid, the plot seemed interesting and had several known actors.
Kaalo doesn’t have many graphics apart from the opening graphics and relies on prosthetics, and that added the realism to the film. Do you think newer technology is taking away the horror aspect of Bollywood Horror Films?
I haven’t seen any horror film recently so I’m not quite sure how much technology is or isn’t being used in horrors to begin with. But yes, the more real the scarier, in my opinion. Especially when its based on a true story or reality. Basic storytelling and the use of human emotions, real life situations, apt photography and background score all play key roles in horror.
The film was novel in many ways, one of them was that the protagonists didn’t ‘wait for the night in a haveli’. While shooting, was there a consistent effort not to go the retro Bollywood horror way?
Well there was a desire to keep it fresh, perhaps a bit Hollywood-ized.
How was your experience shooting for the film?
It was a month long shoot in Jaisalmer, and over the course of it the team became family. Yes there were a couple of difficult people, wont give them any undeserved publicity here. It was sunrise to senset. Though we had no paranormal experiences in the process, we couldn’t shoot beyond sunset because our location was an actual haunted village. Also, whilst shooting a particular shot, we had a major accident.
The film’s shot in a desert, and they are known to be the bed of paranormal activities. Any such experiences?
No paranormal experience, abnormal yes. The accident in which the cast got hospitalized. And the village we shot in was haunted, only after sunset.
This was the first time that we saw a witch as a big, physically strong character instead of someone who goes about breathing into pots. What is your personal description of a witch, though?
Horror films depict them in its full physical ugliness. The truth is, a witch can appear as a normal human, perhaps even physically attractive, but wretched and wicked in character, energy and attitude.
In hindsight, what do you think would have made the film a better project? There’s some movie titled ‘Kaalo 2’. Did Kaalo have a sequel? Are there any plans of a sequel?
No sequels that I am aware of. As for what would have made it better, it’d be unfair for me to comment on that. I was given a part, I played it. The rest is secondary and too long ago.
The film has now found its way onto Amazon. What do you think its future is now? In India, there are three genres of horror films, the 60s smoke and mirrors horror, the 70s, 80s and 90s demonic one and the post modern horror. Which type of horror is your favourite?
Yes Kaalo has been taken on Amazon and for years now its been on re-running on cable and satellite.
What do you think is the one thing that Indian horror lacks, when compared to Hollywood films? Horror is now becoming big on the web series front. What’s your take on that? Do you think a web series, watched at home, can have the same scary experience that one has in a theater?
I think horror as a genre has not even been tapped and touched, like an abandoned child it is. We are a country full of supernatural and paranormal phenomena, it is beyond my comprehension why we don’t monetize the horror genre. Essentially, the genre is lacking a fair investment and pursuit from the big stars and corporates. I doubt the net can live up to the horror experience of a theatre.
What’s next for you?
Do you know I did a horror film called 6-5=2? After kaalo. And well there is a lot that happened, thats a whole different discussion.
Which is your favourite Bollywood horror film from the Golden Age of the Ramsays?
I saw a Hindi horror film few years ago called Gauri, which i think was excellent. From the Ramsay era, i fondly remember Purana Mandir.