Be Scared,Very Scared

When Zinda Laash released in Pakistan in 1967,a woman in the audience reportedly suffered a heart attack.

Written by Vandana Kalra | Published: July 2, 2012 2:17 am

When Zinda Laash released in Pakistan in 1967,a woman in the audience reportedly suffered a heart attack. Others who watched it were spooked for days. Finally,the government stepped in and banned the film. Now,this cult horror film,also famous as the first X-rated film from Lollywood (Lahore film industry),will be screened as a part of a festival of horror films from Pakistan at Khoj Studios on July 6.

“We have been exhibiting art from Pakistan for years now,and thought of exploring films as well. These are not the regular movies. They are a part of a sub-culture and it’ll be fun to watch the films,” says Pooja Sood,director of Khoj,an arts organisation. She adds that she has sourced the films from a collector in Pakistan.

Helpfully (or not),the films will not be screened in a regular theatre. Khoj Studios is under renovation,and resembles a broken-down house with ghosts and stories of its own. This is where the films will be screened,in a half-constructed room with broken walls. “Atmosphere,” evidently,will not be wanting.

“This genre of films brings back childhood memories of horror stories and myths about houses,lanes and people. At another level,they are also a satirical comment on social and moral fears,” adds Sood. Zinda Laash revolves around a scientist,a failed experiment,a vampire and a vampire bride. Another film in the line-up,Aurat Raaj (1979),on the other hand,reverses the gender stereotypes by showing a world where women molest men,and men have to jiggle their hips to dance numbers. The third film of the festival,Zibahkhana (2007),is about a group of college students stranded in a rural village whose only other denizens are ghouls.

The festival includes a documentary,Mondo Macabro: Horror and Fantasy in South Asia,by Pete Tombs and Andy Starke,which traces the evolution of the horror genre in the subcontinent.

The festival will be held at Khoj Studios on July 6

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