Phobia: Actress Radhika Apte to Break Stereotypes

Phobia: Stars in Pawan Kripalani’s Psychological Radhika Apte Phobia

Director: Pawan Kripalani

Writer: Devayush Chowdhary, Pawan Kripalani, Arun Sukumar, Pooja Ladha Surti

Release Date: May 27, 2016 (India)

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Phobia is an Indian Psychological Drama, Mystery, Thriller that is predicted to break the stereotypes of Indian horror. Directed by Pawan Kripalani, Phobia centers around:

“An agoraphobic young woman, traumatized by past events, finds herself trapped and terrorized in her own home.”

Actress Radhika Apte stars in this Indian Horror-Thriller as the artist who suffers from agoraphobia. This is a type of anxiety disorder in which

“…you fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line or being in a crowd….” Radhika Apte PhobiaActress Radhika Apte gives her take on the film and the genre:

“…Phobia’ will be a game-changer as far as thriller and horror content is concerned in India….”

“….If people go watch this one, then it might have the potential to break that stereotypical image of Indian horror…..”

I couldn’t agree more on this quote from Apte. I recently wrote about how the horror genre is a tough arena for women, and how, for decades, it has been very male-driven and male-dominant. I think this goes for all cultures of horror, whether it be Bollywood or Hollywood, which is also on the bandwagon at changing the game. Sure, there has been a film or two here or there in the past:

“Psycho” (1960) has always been an intriguing franchise to me. Sweet Norman Bates, who really means well, is dominated by his deceased mother, who is now a corpse. The intimidation that she still holds over him, even from the dead, still mystifies me till this day.

“Carrie” (1976) shows two examples of female domination. First, the domination of her religious, controlling mother, Margaret, and then there’s Carrie, who struggles to break herself, not only from her mother’s hold but from the humiliation of her peers as well.

“Misery” (1990). Stephen King isn’t credited as one of the Masters of Horror for nothing. Pretty much all of his works are successful, to say the least. “Misery” is one terrifying tale of fem-dom, where writer Paul Sheldon meets a devoted fan of his, Annie Wilkes. This “devotion” soon turns into an unhealthy obsession, and domination, and a nightmare for Sheldon.

And, these films have paved the way for more female domination in the horror arena. The 2000s are really shaping up to be a decade in favor of the fem-dom trend.

“Jennifer’s Body” (2009). Women are usually victims of men in the horror genre, but what happens when the tables are turned? Something much more terrifying, in my opinion. Men are usually psychopaths that get their kicks off kidnapping and sexually torturing women. Women, on the other hand, turn out to be demons disguised as beauties, who just happen to be soul-eating man-haters. Sounds about right.

“You’re Next” (2011) and “Hush” (2016) are two of my favorite films of the femdom genre. They show that women aren’t always the ones that are oppressed and distressed and that they too have some fight in them. Sometimes, even more, fight than men. These survival thrillers show what’s it like for women to be the victims, but how they have to fight twice as hard to survive, given the physical strengths and capabilities of their male opponents.

MTV’s “Scream” (2015). This is one show that has shocked me in the first season. Following the story of the original “Scream” franchise, a young woman is being pursued by an unknown assailant due to her family’s secrets. When it’s revealed at the end of the season that the killer is, in fact, a woman, given that the killers in the movie franchise have been mostly men, it’s a shock  that changes the game.

The synopsis for Phobia reminds me of “Hush”, and this is one trend that seems to be growing successfully. A person is, in some way, alone, defenseless, and hopeless, and that fear is  where they have to find their inner strength and inner courage and do whatever they have to do to survive and stay alive. We’ve seen this in Mike Flanagan’s “Hush”, as well as Fede Alvarez’s upcoming Horror-Thriller “‘Don’t Breathe”.

Phobia is scheduled to release in cinemas on May 27, 2016, India.


The Indian Express



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