October 4, 2008

Someone’s There, Someone You Don’t Know


When Mallika Sherawat said she felt the presence of Madhubala's spirit in her van while shooting for Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam, everyone laughed it off as yet another move by the Sherawat girl to garner publicity for her film.

But, soon Lara Dutta "experienced" a presence in the hotel room of a palace while shooting for a movie. And, the haunting doesn't stop there. Actor Shreyas Talpade, who is presently shooting for a horror flick, talks about his experience with the unknown. "When I had gone for the narration for Click, a Sangeeth Sivan film, strange incidents started happening. We tried to take the lift down and the lights went off. We didn't think much of it, but another group had a similar experience," he says.

If you think it is an isolated incident, you are mistaken. "I have had many more such experiences wherein we couldn't explain what was happening. A Marathi movie which I did was about a girl who dies a painful death, none of us could get on with the shot, it was just jinxed! So, I do believe that certain forces aren't in your control and some things are beyond your comprehension," adds Shreyas.

Unlike Shreyas, director Vikram Bhatt prefers not to talk about the incident, as he feels it invites ridicule. The director of the supernatural thriller, Raaz, explains, "I have had close encounters with the supernatural and believe that a human mind is like a radio frequency; you either get tuned into an outside channel or you tune out. I am extremely intuitive and believe in the positive and the negative energies. Sometimes, it gets impossible for me to be in a particular place if the vibes I get are not positive, however good that place might be."

While talking about spirits and haunting, the first places that come to mind are castles and palaces. Adah Sharma, who made her debut in 1920, a horror film, relates her experiences with the unexplained. Says she, "Yorkshire is ranked as one of the ten most haunted places in the world. While shooting in the palace, we came across a painting of a woman who everyone thought resembled me. The caretaker of the castle told us that the person in the painting was the owner's wife, who died under mysterious circumstances, and how her spirit is haunting the castle. The caretaker also warned us that the photos of the paintings next to the lady's couldn't be captured in the camera. We clicked a few snaps on a digital camera. They appeared normal. But, when we transferred the pictures to the laptop, they were entirely black and blurred," explains Adah.

Television actress Maninee Mishra has a different take. Intuitive and instinctive, Maninee says that she often has prophetic dreams. "I am very spiritual and believe that there are souls with unfinished dreams. Recently, I was disturbed about losing my passport when an unknown man came up to me and said, 'You'll get whatever you are looking for.' I turned around to see who it was. But, he disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared! More than ghosts, I believe in guardian angels," smiles she.

The tribe of believers in ghosts and spirits is definitely on the rise. Actress Amruta Khanvilkar, who is acting in a supernatural thriller "completely believes in ghosts and spirits". And, she tells us why. "I had gone to my native village and it was raining heavily and my brother was narrating a ghost story. The road was never- ending and we were lost, when out of the blue, we spotted a lady sitting in the rain. We were startled for a while, but realised she was a poor soul taking shelter from the rain. But, it was a pretty weird experience."

Strangely, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who loves to send shivers down everybody's spine with his occult thrillers like Raat, Bhoot and Phoonk, has a completely different view on ghosts. "I have never seen any spirit in my life, and have never experienced any negative energy. I don't believe in ghosts or ghouls. My films are the insights of my story and presentation, and that's why I like making them," says he.

We may believe in ghosts. Or, we may not believe in them. However, some in Bollywood claim to have felt the unexplained sometime or the other.

They have stories to tell, making us look around in a moment of sheer discomfort.

Is somebody there?

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