We Named Karan’s Film Spooky: Mrunal Thakur on ‘Ghost Stories’

The actors speak about working in the horror space.

3 min read

Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar came together to direct an anthology of horror films for Netflix, titled Ghost Stories. It dropped on the streaming platform on 1 January. Mrunal Thakur and Avinash Tiwary, the two protagonists of Karan’s story, speak to The Quint about their likes and dislikes for horror films, their film’s intention, the humour in the film, working with Karan Johar and more.

Since the film is in a horror space, are you fans of the genre? Because it is quite polarising. People either like it or don’t.

Mrunal Thakur: I don’t like it. I’m scared. I’m super scared. I’m the kind of person who gets scared after watching like Aahat and stuff like that, but also as an actor I wanted to experiment. I wanted to do something that I have never done before. Most of the scary things you see, it is not because of a ghost, it is also mental because sometimes you end up haunting yourself. And you’re not aware about that.

Avinash Tiwary: I remember as a kid, I watched a film, I don’t even remember the name. In that, an amputated hand goes after people to kill them and I got fever at that point of time. It was so bad that now I’m not scared by horror films. It doesn’t excite me. Nothing happens to me. It is just loud sounds. If I’m watching a film and someone scares me, I’ll be scared.

What was it like being directed by Karan Johar? It is a new genre for him also.

Mrunal Thakur: Karan as a director is so clear as to what he wants, so that makes you feel comfortable and confident. You know sometimes what happens when we are shooting a dark film, that atmosphere also becomes really dull and sad. That was not the situation with this project at least. We were having lots and lots of fun. There was in fact a spooky thing that happened. There was a scene where there was a steady camera. I had to the stairs and the camera is following me and I turn back and go ‘okay there’s nothing.’ I was really scared because the entire crew is downstairs and I was the only person with the cameraman. The cameraman said something moved there. “Why is someone giving me light? I told you not to move.” And people are like ‘Sir, there is no one there.’ And we would laugh about it later.

And you?

Avinash Tiwary: The first day I met him and you know you are a little conscious when you’ve only seen him from the outside. One thing I want to mention that we as an audience do not give him enough credit for the filmmaker he is. Yeah. We consider him to be so many things. But he is essentially a filmmaker and I’m so grateful that my interaction with him happened as a filmmaker and as an actor. Most of the filmmakers around, and I’ve acted for a few years, they’re very reluctant to either acknowledge the artiste or even when they have to direct they will be like ‘Oh listen, you do this, you do that.’ But this man, and he is of a certain stature, he comes to you every-time and tells you what needs to be done. If he likes it, doesn’t like it, he will still come to you and tell it to you, which is very rare. Honestly, I find it very rare. Because you’re so vulnerable as an actor, and he senses that. I think the best quality about Karan is the fact that he will know when to trigger the feelings, the emotions. That’s something he is absolutely amazing at.

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