Though his debut novel won him many accolades, Faraaz Kazi chose to switch genre in his next book from romance to horror. The Other Side challenges his reader to dare visit haunted houses and talk to spirits. Here the author, who has won the National Debut Youth Fiction Award, talks about his book, superstitions and beliefs. Read on...
What happened with your interest in romance?
My first book was all about romance, second is scary... Writing is a passion, genre doesn’t matter! Tragedy, comedy, fear, it can be anything. I would prefer not being tagged as a genre-specific writer. Sometimes it’s good to be known as the jack of all trades before you prove your mastery in one.
Would you say horror as genre is not explored in India for books?
India has such a rich heritage of mythology and folklore yet no one has ever taken the reigns of this genre in their hands and set to achieve something on this scale. You have thousands, perhaps lakhs of Indians who read Stephen King, Dean Koontz and even RL Stine and seem to enjoy the feel of their hair standing at an end. Yet there is not a single Indian author, who comes to mind when one talks about horror fiction or particularly horror set in India. With this book, we are giving you a previously unexplored original territory in the Indian literary segment, a ‘blue ocean’, something only a handful of writers have been able to deliver.
Which is your fave horror movie?
The Exorcist. It’s a horror classic and The good old Count Dracula is my favourite horror character.
Which is the most spooky place in your vicinity?
Most people would say it has to be The Sewri cemetery (Mumbai). For me however, I find the place very serene and rejuvenating. I like to hang out there and spend time with the graves (and the souls within) at night. When the living fail to hear you, it’s the dead you have to bank on.
Chainsaw. What better weapon of gore can there be which slices through skin, blood and bone alike?
Is your book inspired by real events?
It is inspired by the world of the unknown surrounding us. Whether it is a reality or just a train of thoughts is decided by a thin line separating the two in the reader’s mind. However yes, some stories like The Mystery Lake and The Mark of the Beast have their roots in the legends of Roopkund lake (a lake filled with skeletons that actually exists) and the abominable snowman respectively.
Which superstar do you think fits perfect if he plays your favourite horror character on screen?
Hrithik Roshan as Count Dracula. Now that will redefine the age old image of the vampire!
Which Hollywood movie you want to remake in Hindi?
The Conjuring. It operates in the cliched haunted house genre yet it is so much more than that.
Which Hindi movie you think is the all time best horror film?
1920 Evil Returns was a recent movie that really impressed me. It was well-researched and documented with respect to the subject of possession.
Most spooky place in Mumbai?/India?
In Mumbai, it has to be the Aarey Road going towards Powai. Quite a few apparitions are said to trouble outsiders who dare roam there after dark. In India, it has to be the Bhangarh fort, surrounded by the legend of an ancient curse. The epilogue of the book is set at Bhangarh and even the cover is inspired from the same!
Any real life person you think looks like a horror movie character?
Loads of them actually, but perhaps none can beat my morning avatar!