BACH KE ZARA aka BOLLYWOOD EVIL DEAD (2008) Reviews and overview

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Bach ke Zara – known unofficially as Bollywood Evil Dead  is a 2008 Indian horror film written and directed by Salim Raza. It is an unofficial remake of The Evil Dead (1981). The Hindi title translates as “Little by Little’.

Bach ke Zara looks like it could have come out only a couple of years after Sam Raimi’s original film. The only giveaway to its production year is the costuming and a horrific, and amazingly out of place, dance number featuring a mud smeared foxy lady and muscle men.

The plot of Bach ke Zara will obviously be familiar to fans of Evil Dead. It’s nearly identical yet features a handful of hilarious changes. Sunny and Raja – two cool guys – and some scantily-clad girl pals – Sweety, Nicole and Sheena (who is sometimes referred to as Tina) – take a trip to the country. Unlike Raimi’s version, they camp next to a lake rather than heading straight to the cabin. The characters take turns flirting and body-kissing each other while the rest watch.

Their bliss is interrupted by a spooky woman who entrances Sweety with a spooky song and leads her to a spooky cabin. Sweety breaks free from her trance and warns the others, who, rather cruelly, laugh at her repetitively. Then a crazy guy shows up, cackling like a maniac and warning the campers to leave. Instead, the idiots decide to investigate and discover the uninviting cabin.

Despite Sweety’s understandable protests, they begin to explore the cabin. Despite discovering a dead body, they stay and even play a few dodgy pranks along the way. The film then follows Evil Dead down to a tee with minor alterations – Sweety is “entwined” by trees rather than raped by trees, Nicole is stabbed in the foot or ankle (it’s offscreen) with a fork instead of a pencil (Evil Dead‘s most painful moment, in my opinion), and Sweety becomes possessed and is locked in a cupboard (I think) rather than a cellar. Sunny assumes the role of Ash towards the end of the film. Both Sunny and Raja cry a lot.

Bach ke Zara, as you’d expect, is like watching a dumber and cleaner version of Evil Dead. Still, it is rather entertaining watching Bollywood’s take on classic scenes. I’d imagine, despite being made thirty years apart, the budgets of Bach ke Zara and Evil Dead would be similar.

While Bach ke Zara doesn’t quite stretch a limited budget as Raimi did, it includes some surprisingly decent effects and makeup on display. The possessed are gooey and gross, and a fog machine is employed liberally. There’s even a decapitation that’s only partly offscreen.

The real reason to watch this though is the laughs, and, while not the most sidesplitting Bollywood effort going around, laughs are abundant. Sunny’s gag-worthy flirting, the bug-eyed acting, music that violently halts when you least expect it – it’s all good stuff. There’s also an amazing use of English dialogue. I love it when characters in Bollywood films whip out occasional lines in English, and in Bach ke Zara entire conversations often devolve into nonsensical silliness. The hilarity peaks when Raja shouts at a possessed Sweety, “Shut up, you rascal!”

Bach ke Zara scores huge points for being far shorter than your usual Bollywood flick running at a respectable ninety minutes, and, with all its body-kissing and it’s sleazier than expected too. Better still, there’s hardly any musical numbers! Bach ke Zara is not the only Bollywood film to rip off Evil Dead – there’s also Bhayaanak Mahal (1988), but it’s probably the most shameless.

Dave Jackson, MOVIES and MANIA

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