Its true that horror films are seen as a safe bet in Bollywood. And why not? The budget of such films are usually low and the recovery faster. Now,since the budget is low,do film-makers of such films compromise on the story or the visual effects? Yes,thats usually the case,but I didnt compromise on Aatma since I had complete support from Reliance Mediaworks. If you need to make a horror film of international standards,then you have to understand the significance of other aspects of the film,most important being that of visual effects (VFX) and the hurdle of the revenue game.
Internationally,its a different ball game altogether. Since we have to outsource for superior VFX technology,it gets costly. For example,340 VFX shots will require close to 200-250 hours,and these require VFX technicians,who are paid on an hourly basis. Besides,in Hollywood,they almost take a year to just work on the special effects of a film,while we have to complete a film in that time span. The post-production too has to be completed within three months.
Now coming to the budget of a horror film,it’s a star driven one in Bollywood. If the star cast is big,then the budget is high. With small stars you are given a conservative estimate,and to be on the safe side,the makers begin to compromise on production design and effects. Thats where it all goes wrong. I believe that more than the stars,the budget has to be worked out with the VFX technicians before getting into the actual making of the film. To prevent such a thing from happening,the level of VFX understanding needs to be high among the makers as well as producers to work effectively. Having said that,I see budgeting for such films improving. The aesthetics of this genre (which is in its nascent stage here) is changing,and we are moving towards the next level. You now have a zombie film coming up in India. The next-generation film-makers are trying hard to introduce new subjects to the horror genre despite the market being dictatorial. And producers will have to change too. They wont have a choice,but to use better VFX technology,which is becoming a significant part of narrative.