Bolly filmmaker Vikram Bhatt tells us why he believes in ghosts
His fascination with all things spiritual goes back many years and he is known for making some really thrilling horror movies in the industry. We’re talking about filmmaker Vikram Bhatt, who debuted with Jaanam in 1992 and made hit films like Fareb and Ghulam. Bhatt’s tryst with horror movies began with the spine-chilling thriller Raaz (2002), starring Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea in the lead, that went on to become one of the most popular horror movies in Bollywood. Since then, the 50-year-old writer-director has made many a scary film including 1920, Shaapit, Raaz 3D, Raaz Reloaded, 1921, Haunted and Creature. Ahead of the release of his latest film, Ghost, we caught up with him to chat about horror movies and spirits. Excerpts:
What is Ghost all about?
It is based on two incidents that happened in the US and the UK. In the US in 1981, there was a popular court case called ‘Devil made me do it’, where Johnson was accused of killing his landlord. But he said that he did not do it, and he was possessed by a spirit, who actually committed the murder. The court eventually rules out his explanation, but the incident received a lot of media attention and I saw it in a documentary series. Then there was a case of a UK couple refusing to pay rent for a haunted house, saying they’d been duped to stay in it. I found both the cases sensational, especially Johnson‘s case. I wondered, how does he prove his innocence when something is done by a supernatural power? It’s the whole legal system versus supernatural, which is something unique. Ghost too is about a man (played by Shivam Bhaargava) accused of murdering his wife. But he claims to be innocent and his defence attorney, played by Sanaya Irani, takes up the case.
Do you believe in spirits or ghosts?
I am a big-time believer in spirits and I have learned transcendental meditation and astral communication. There have been several strange experiences, but I usually don’t share them, as your truth becomes someone else’s joke. I like to keep them private.
Tell us about one life-changing incident that you have experienced?
Once, while I was driving down along with my chauffeur, I saw devotees outside a temple and wondered why people search for God in the temples, when he is within ourselves. I suddenly heard a voice telling me — What have I done to find God? I was startled and turned back, but there was no one in the backseat. I asked my chauffeur if he heard something, but he said he didn’t. The first thing I did after that was to draw up two lists — one, with names of people I have hurt and the other, with names of those who have hurt me. I called up each one of them and asked for an apology. And, I forgave all those in the second list.
What other movies are you working on?
Hacked, starring Hina Khan, will be out next January.
Do you have an all-time favourite horror movie that you’d like to name?
At the risk of sounding pompous, it’s 1920.
Ghost releases on October 18.