Hansal Mehta, director of Chhal and Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai, is currently shooting a thriller, Humrahi. The tightly-budgeted quickie featuring Aamir Ali (who Mehta introduced in Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai), Isha Koppikar, and Chhal leading man Kay Kay, who plays a negative character.
Says Mehta, "I hope to complete Humrahi in May and release it in September. If well made, a thriller is bound to have a captive audience."
After the success of Vikram Bhatt's Raaz last year, several filmmakers have hitched on to the thriller bandwagon. First off the blocks is Ekta Kapoor's Kucch To Hai. Inspired by the Hollywood horror hit I Know What You Did Last Summer, Ekta makes no bones about it.
As she rushes to complete her Tusshar Kapoor-Esha Deol starrer, she says, "We have to get into theatres quickly. We started the trend of making campus horror thrillers in Bollywood. Now, there are at least half a dozen films trying to do the same."
Horror too seems to be popular. Take Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot, with Ajay Devgan, Urmila Matondkar, Rekha and Fardeen Khan. Two of Varma's assistants are directing horror films for him as well. GG directs Murder At Shrikrishna Hall and Prabal Pandey directs the episodic Darna Manaa Hai inspired by Steven Spielberg's Twilight Zone: The Movie.
A spate of spook stories is also ready for release, including Shyam Ramsay's Dhund: The Fog, in which television star Amar Upadhyay makes his large screen debut. Stunt coordinator Tinu Verma's Baaz: A Bird In Danger has Karisma Kapoor playing a mysterious woman in Suniel Shetty, Jackie Shroff and Dino Morea's life.
Debutant director Amit Saxena's Jism, which opens January 17, is billed as an erotic thriller. It is adapted from Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity which is about a married woman who collaborates with her lover to kill her husband.
Another debutant director Kushan Nandy has completed the whodunit 88 Antop Hill about a group of murder suspects. Nandy, who made thrillers on Indian television, feels it is time to take the genre further. "There was a time when well made thrillers like Gumnam and Woh Kaun Thi attracted huge crowds," he says. "Maybe like every genre, the thriller has a life cycle and is poised for a comeback."