Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

'Raaz' Completes 20 Years: Vikram Bhatt Says 'Everybody Thought I Was Making A Mistake'

As the horror film celebrates its 20th anniversary, the director takes a trip down memory lane and offers some intriguing tales about it.

Raaz completes 20 years.
Raaz completes 20 years. Instagram

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of 'Raaz' (2002), and director Vikram Bhatt recalls how "no one believed in the small film" when he filmed it.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the director says, “Everybody thought that I was making a mistake. The horror films, which we watched before Raaz, took on the role of a B-grade movie, unfortunately. People thought we were making a similar film. There was a big producer who came to me and said, ‘Kya yaar, tu flop hero aur Ajnabee (2001) ki vamp ke saath picture bana raha hai!’”

Dino Morea and Bipasha Basu Singh Grover, the film's lead actors, were not the director's initial picks. Bhatt claims that it was initially offered to actor Anil Kapoor, who declined because he did not want to be a part of a horror film, and that actress Lisa Ray had filmed for a piece of it: “After working with Lisa in Kasoor (2001), she was the first choice for Raaz. But she had some personal issues because of which she couldn’t do the film. We were left in a lurch after that as we didn’t have a heroine. When Dino came in, he said, ‘Why don’t you try out my girlfriend, Bipasha? She’s lovely!’ But I hadn’t heard her name.”

He continues, “We met her and the first time we narrated the film to her, she fell off the sofa. That made me realise that she definitely is the heroine of Raaz. I thought that if in a narration, she can fall off a sofa, she’s definitely the right fit for Sanjana.”

Bhatt claims that 'Raaz' catapulted him to popularity and was a game-changer in his career when he says, “It put me on the road of making horror films and I’m still making them. It helped me find my genre. I was always on the lookout for a film only I could make. In every filmmaker’s life, there comes a film they find hard to beat. Raaz is that film for me. It’s a badge of honour. It’s still remembered. People still talk about the scenes and the songs. In a way, it’s a bigger hit than Ghulam (1998).”

He attributes the film's success to producer Mahesh Bhatt, music director team Nadeem-Shravan, and the cast, which includes Malini Sharma and Ashutosh Rana. The filmmaker recalls the day the horror film premiered in theatres, saying, “I was fast asleep when Bhatt sab called me. He said, ‘Teri taqdeer jag rahi hai aur tu so raha hai’. He told me that the six o’clock show in the morning was house full. I told him that there must have been a mistake (laughs). It opened fantastically. Elia Kazan (American filmmaker) said that the audiences are like hounds; they can smell a good film. We couldn’t imagine that Raaz would be huge a big hit; all we knew that we were doing something right.”