The Hindi Horror Film: Notes on the Realism of a Marginal Genre

  • Valentina Vitali


Indian cinemas have not produced horror films except for a short period, between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, when the genre saw a brief moment of glory with the horror films made by the Ramsay family of filmmakers. The family consists of the seven sons of F.U. Ramsay (1917–89), a radio manufacturer and producer, of whom Kumar, Shyam, Keshu, Tulsi, Gangu and Kiran are actively associated with film and, from the early 1990s, with television (Rajadhyaksha and Willemen 1999: 191). Most of the Ramsay films were directed by the Tulsi and Shyam team, with Kiran, the youngest, in charge of sound. Their films never occupied the centre ground of cinema in India. Like much horror cinema elsewhere, they were cheaply produced films that circulated at the margins of the industry. Even so, the Ramsay brothers’ films stand out in the history of Hindi and, indeed, of Indian cinemas as a unique moment: although their success in a niche market for just over a decade led other filmmakers such as Mohan Bhakri and Vinod Talwar to experiment with the genre, in practice, the Ramsay brothers’ productions constitute a single instance of horror cinema in India. Nothing like it had been made before and nothing similar was made afterwards. The question I want to explore here is: what made these films possible, even necessary, during the 1980s in India and only then?


Frontal Mode Indian Cinema Congress Party Indian History Narrative Strategy 
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© Valentina Vitali 2011

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  • Valentina Vitali

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