Stree which released a week ago and The Nun, the new segment in the popular The Conjuring franchise, have wiped out all competition at the Indian boxoffice this week.
While Stree, a horror-comedy featuring Rajkummar Rao as a simpleton obsessed with a mysterious woman, raked in above 65 crore rupees in the first week. The Nun has opened this week to huge crows in English and three Indian languages.
So is horror the new hero at the boxoffice? Says trade analyst Amod Mehra, “All over the world horror films have a set loyal viewership who love this genre of movies. So it's no surprise that The Nun too has done well. Plus both the films hardly have any opposition. Stree actually worked more for its comedy than horror.”
Producer Rahul Mittra has a deeper explanation for why horror is less likely to fail at the box-office than other genres. “Some of the most heartfelt emotions are experienced when you are watching a film and while love and hatred are the strongest of the emotions an individual experiences, the threat to his or her immediate security or safety is one of the strongest emotions too. And the reaction to this threat triggers fear.”
According to Mittra horror works as it gives the audience the thrill of vicarious terror in the safety of the movie theatre. “Jim Morrison once said that the attractiveness of cinema lies in the fear of death and it’s the emotion of fear that protected humans from predators and other threats to the survival of the species. Hence a horror fan lurks in each one of us, probably explaining why horror genre is the most popular world over. In the end there’s a good film and a bad one and as long as films evoke in you a plethora of emotions… films will be lapped up by the audiences.”
Writer-director Akshat Verma agrees with Mittra. “Of all the genres, horror is usually the most robust. Horror fans are more supportive of cinema than any other.”
Entertainment journalist Bharati S Pradhan feels Stree had more going for it the scares. “I haven't seen The Nun. So I can't comment about it. Stree is more than horror. It's an entertaining film, the humour works bigtime. And small town ambience scores when it's handled well. Also Rajkummar Rao aced it with his, ‘Vicky pleeeej’. Stree worked because it is entertaining and not only because it’s scary.”
Hansal Mehta warns against falling for formulistic fallacies. “Let’s not find a formula in the success of Stree. Let’s appreciate it for what it is. For me what worked brilliantly in Stree was the comedy. I’m not a horror fan but I thought Stree is much more than horror or comedy. It is a smartly written and well-acted film that slips in a social message without any preaching. I haven’t seen Nun and I don’t plan to see it!”