Make way for the zombies!
This year will see a string of movies on the living dead. Filmmakers tell us if we're ready to be 'zombified'
While zombie films have always been popular in the West, this year perhaps marks the beginning of Bollywood's fascination with the living dead.
Genelia D'Souza and Abhay Deol feature in Rock the Shaadi
A string of zombie flicks are in the making, many of which have A-list actors starring in them. We ask filmmakers what inspired them to take on this genre, and whether such films would work here.
Rock The Shaadi
This upcoming zombie rom-com stars Genelia D'souza and Abhay Deol, with the latter's real-life girlfriend Preeti Desai doing a cameo. The Balaji and iRock films project is directed by Navdeep Singh of Manorama Six Under Feet fame.
The self-proclaimed father of zombie films in India Sid Jain of iRock films started developing this film in 2008 when it was called Shaadi Of The Dead.
"At that time, people didn't even know what zombies are and nobody was interested to even listening to a zombie story." He is glad that more filmmakers are attempting the genre. "The more the merrier. If we have more zombie films, it will help people to understand the zombie world better," he adds.
Go Goa Gone
This zombie comedy stars Saif Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu. Directed by Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru of Shor fame, the film is currently being shot.
Kunal Khemu and Saif Ali Khan feature in Go Goa Gone
Zombie Part 1, 2 and 3 Luke Kenny will be starring in this trilogy of zombie films, which he is also producing. It's a serious zombie film about the adventures of a wildlife photographer during one of his excursions. The film stars Keerti Kulhari and will go on the floors in March.
Says Luke, "So far the horror genre in Bollywood was relegated to bhatakti aatma stories. I wanted to try something different. This is the first serious zombie film of Bollywood which explains what happens to a person when he turns into a zombie."
An untitled zombie film
Sid Jain, who wants to spread the 'zombie culture' in India, is already planning another film in the same genre, which is untitled as of now.
Abhay Deol on the sets of Rock The Shaadi
The iRock producer says, "We also released India's first graphic novel on zombies two months ago called Zombie Talkies: Bloodfest In Bollywood. I will be making this into a film later this year. It will be different from Rock The Shaadi."
Ready for zombie films?
"Youth is the target audience for zombie films and they are ready for something different, yet fun. They dig action and edgy stuff. I have already launched graphic novels to introduce them to the idea," says Sid. Interestingly, zombie games like Plants Versus Zombies have already become very popular in India.
Keerti Kulhari and Luke Kenny are part of the Zombie series
"These stories can be told in a serious or a comic way. I personally think it's better to introduce the zombie world through a comedy. A serious film which has a lot of gore will be too much for our audience to digest in the beginning," adds Sid.
Though both Rock The Shaadi and the Zombie trilogy are far away from their release dates, merchandise of both the films has already hit the stores in the form of T-shirts, mugs and pillows.
Zombie is a term used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means, such as witchcraft. In modern times, it has been applied to an undead race in horror fiction, largely drawn from George A Romero's 1968 film Night of the Living Dead.
"They bite other people, some they eat and the others turn into zombies. In every story, there is always a hero who stops the epidemic and kills the zombie. The only way to kill them is to smash their heads," says producer
Luke Kenny's film is called Zombie while producer Sid Jain claims that he has the rights to the title. Says Sid, "Though I wish Luke all the best, I wonder how he is making the film with the title Zombie since I have the rights to it." Luke, who was unaware of the fact, says, "I will check with Sid. I am sure we can sort it out."