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New Delhi: This promises to be one of the most unique events ever. As part of the Khoj (Re)Building Project Series, three Pakistani horror films – Zinda Laash (1967), Zibahkhana (2007) and Aurat Raaj (1979) will be screened at Khoj Studios, S-17, Khirkee Extension, New Delhi, on Friday, July 6, 2012 from 12 noon onwards. Phone: 011-65655873. Apart from the three films, which have been sourced from a private collection and are otherwise only available in Pakistan, a documentary titled Mondo Macabro: Horror and Fantasy in South Asia, written, produced and directed by Pete Tombs and Andy Starke will also be shown during the day. Mondo Macabro was a British television series based on the book of the same name by Pete Tombs. Written, produced and directed by Pete Tombs and Andy Starke, the series focused on cult cinema from countries not usually associated with this genre. It screened on Channel 4 in 2002. Mondo Macabro subsequently became the name of a DVD label (“The Wild Side of World Cinema”) run by the same duo.
Khoj Studios is currently undergoing a complete revamp and both the buildings that housed the artists’ studios at Khoj have been broken down to build a new institutional infrastructure for making, exhibiting and researching contemporary art. Khoj is renovating its premises to create multi-purpose project spaces, artists’ studios and residences, an open access archive and library, a terrace and cafe. During this period, while Khoj will not be holding any major residencies, it has decided to host a series of events which will respond to the site at various stages of the building’s breaking and making. Interrogating the dynamism of Khoj as a construction site, the events will engage with the building to create conversations about its past, present and future. The Pakistani Horror Films is the fourth event in this series. With films being screened in different parts of under-construction Khoj building, the quintessential horror films provide the shock, horror and gore within the dilapidated Khoj premises. The reason for choosing Pakistani horror films was that Lollywood (Lahore film industry) was a thriving industry till the 70s after which the number of films that were made in Pakistan decreased in quantity as well as quality. The first film with sound, Alam Aaara, was made in Lahore. In a bid to understand the ultra-kitschy, ultra-gory B-grade Pakistani horror films, that are similar to Ramsay brothers in poor effects and treatment, this event will throw light on this genre of films and Pakistan. Also Pakistani films, let alone horror films are rarely seen in India.
Says Pooja Sood, Director, Khoj: “We at Khoj thought that it will be fun to see the films in such a setting as the current state of Khoj - half constructed and broken down with dark corners and unexpected structures. Horror films also bring back childhood memories of horror stories and made-up myths about houses, lanes and people. Simultaneously, these films are a satirical comment on social and moral fears and notions.” All the three horror films are ‘classics’ with Zinda Lash (1967) being the first 'For Adults Only' film. All have been made in Pakistan, most of them commenting on the times they were made in. For instance, Aurat Raaj (1979) reverses gender roles showing a world where women are molesting men and men are swaying their hips to dance numbers. Zibahkhana, the most recent one, was a big hit in Pakistan.