Thursday, 27 January 2011

Lud See Lud 2011

In 2003, when Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) presented an anthology of horror stories with Darna Mana Hai and followed that with another one in 2006, titled Darna Zaroori Hai, it was a major step in Hindi cinema. Anthologies in any genre, especially in horror, are not very common in India and this was a brave move on RGV's part. So, despite the films' lukewarm reception at the box office, they stand apart as innovative efforts made by one of the best horror film-makers in the country.

While in Bangkok, I am on a quest to watch a number of Thai films, as my experience so far is limited to Ong Bak (2003). So, it was this that led me to Lud See Lud (2011), which is an anthology of four unconnected horror stories, each made by a different director, but somehow carrying a bit of the afore-mentioned RGV style.

The first story, about a bunch of college students and their aspirations of global annihilation, is the shortest and the weakest production out of all four. The next story, which revolves around an office environment with pride and sabotage taking centrestage, has a strong Stephen King feel to it. The third story, starring heartthrob Ananda Everingham, is a mix of a heist, ghost and slasher film and satisfies the key elements of all these sub-genres. The acting, filming and editing of this part are comparable to the big-budget presentations from other countries and this has some truly horrific scenes. Finally, the comedic ghost story at the end provides the audience with enough laughs and enough screams to be the hands-down winner of the lot. It is the sweet story of a dead patriarch, whose embalmed body is the source of much fear for the characters, which in turn is the source of much merriment for the audience. This was the section that seemed most like an Indian film to me, with its exaggerated humour.

Although, I don't think Lud See Lud is a masterpiece by any standards, it is thoroughly entertaining - it is scary in some parts, funny in others and engrossing most of the way. I know it may not be the best example of a typical Thai film, as it is essentially a 'masala' film, packing in various flavours and stories into one, but at least it has given me the impetus to come back for more Thai...which I plan to do very soon.

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