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NEW DELHI : Despite changes in release schedules of several films as theatres reopen and states ease restrictions post the third covid wave, Kartik Aaryan’s horror comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, co-starring Tabu and Kiara Advani, will stick to its theatrical release date of 25 March. The film is a remake of the 2007 Akshay Kumar hit, that had made close to 50 crore in domestic box office collections and had also featured Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja and Amisha Patel.

To be sure, Bollywood is betting big on horror comedies, with films like Roohi most recently. The makers of Roohi, also known for Stree, will release Bhediya, starring Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon later this year which will complete their horror comedy universe. Industry experts say this is an effort to turn the traditional horror genre on its head and churn out films, many of which are based on folk tales and legends and bring in local cultural nuances instead of simply having stories centred on supernatural forces.

Horror, they add, has worked in India since the days of the Ramsay brothers and when it is merged with comedy, it only drives audiences to laugh louder and get more scared, an experience that is ultimately aimed at enticing them to enter cinemas. That makes it an important ploy for an industry struggling to fill seats in movie theatres with the emergence of video streaming platforms and the plethora of entertainment options they offer, a trend that has only been accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic.

Media expert say unlike many other genres, horror is not dependent on stars and it is up to the content to make a mark, send shivers down the spine or in these cases, make people smile. Films made by Ramsay brothers such as Do Ghaz Zameen Ke Niche (1972) and Purana Mandir (1984) had worked without any familiar faces.

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