cinema Luke Kenny and Devaki Singh talk about the challenges of making the country’s first Zombie film
Zombies have become a cultural phenomenon of sorts — television, movies, video games and books are making the most of this genre. And its now making its way into the Indian cinema, thanks to Luke Kenny and Devaki Singh’s obsession with the ‘undead’. Their film, Rise of the Zombie is set to release this month.
What or who are zombies? A zombie is an animated corpse and in context of popular culture — ‘undead’ beings of horror fiction; refer to George A. Romero’s, Night of the living dead ; Luke and Devaki did too. “Luke and I are huge horror film fans and when we decided to make this film, we consumed every zombie movie available,” says Devaki who has written and co-directed the film. In India, we have had our share of ghosts but we haven’t touched the murky waters of ‘zombieland’ feels Luke.
Zombie films come in all shapes, sizes and themes. Survivalist or post apocalyptic, where the world resembles the dystopian world of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World , or it could be set in a backyard in the ‘current’ time. Luke’s zombie film is a ‘zombie origin’ film. Devaki says that the story is quite simple, “it’s about one man and how and why he becomes a zombie.”
In Rise of the Zombie , Luke plays the role of Neil Parker, a wildlife photographer who has a casual attitude towards his personal life. When his girlfriend walks out on him, Neil resigns himself to isolation and that marks his tryst with darkness, as he turns into a zombie. Devaki says that people still don’t know what a zombie is and in writing an origin, she had no real reference point. Luke too says that there is no other word for zombie, “the curiosity has already been awakened, people want to know what a zombie truly is,” he adds. Rise of the Zombie will be the first of the trilogy. “We have started writing the rest of the two films and we are trying to figure out how to take it from here,” says Luke. Will it have elements of dystopia or survivalism thrown in? “There will be more characters but it won’t really be set in a dystopian era,” he informs.
Wonder if the audience is ready for Zombie films in the country? Luke Kenny doesn’t worry about that because he believes that the audience is never ready but is open to new experiences. He feels that lots of producers are missing out on the 15-to-25-somethings who are into gaming and international pop culture. “This is our database of engagement. When you are in college, you want to explore the gore and the horror. We think we’ll do well to tap into that,” says Luke.
Along with Rise of the Zombie , there are two other zombie films set to release sometime this year.
In Go Goa Gone , Saif Ali Khan will double up as a Russian mafia and zombie hunter. Kunal Khemu and Vir Das will also be in this film directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK of Shor in the City fame.
Abhay Deol will turn zombie with his film, Rock the Shaadi which is touted to be a wedding between a Punjabi and a zombie. The comedy film is being directed by Navdeep Singh