IT is not just a movie, IT is a phenomenon. Almost a month since its release the movie is still ‘the matter of the moment’. We love IT or hate IT or fear IT; but we still talk about IT, laugh about IT and meme around with IT. All thanks to Stephen King and his mastery over all things supernatural, IT, chapter 1, was one heck of a show. So now, while we wait for the sequel to arrive we will by habit look for IT related stuff to keep us occupied.
When it comes to books and their on-screen adaptations, Hollywood, definitely leads the way. But from time to time our very own Indian film and Television industry adapt books into their screenplay. Amongst many such adaptations that may have gone unnoticed, is our own Hindi version of IT with a lot of masala and twists. In the era of cable TV when horror shows ruled every major channel; “WOH” which translates to “it” aired on Zee Tv under its show category of supernatural. We can’t say that the show was a smashing hit thereby leaving no place for comparison to the box-office record of the movie IT. But, it was super scary way back in the year 1998, when the genre of horror in the Indian television industry was growing at a very small gait. Here’s a look as to how the show unfolded in contrast to the original version with all its scenes improvised and remodelled to suit the Indian taste.
Lilliput as Woh
Ashutosh Govarikar as Ashutosh
Mamik Singh as Raja
Anupam Bhattacharya as Sanjeev
Nasir qazi as Raja
Seema Shetty as Julie
Ankush Mohla as Shiva
Amit Mistry as Ronnie
Shonali Malhotra as Samidha
Opening credits that sets the tone
To begin with, the music in the opening credits is rather rattling; it literally begins with the sound a baby’s rattle accompanied by a sinister hum of a child. The video goes on show pretty graphic visuals of eerie dolls, a toy clown , voodoo needles, dripping blood, barbed wires, scorpions and all that jazz; enough material to terrorize the audience during the nineties.
First things first, WOH not a diabolical alien entity but rather an evil spirit who kidnaps children and takes them to a parallel and a perfect ‘spirit world’ instead of a parallel macroverse.
The lucky seven, Ashutosh, Raja, Rahul, Shiva , Ronnie ,Sanjeev, and Julie, vanquish the evil spirit not once, not twice but thrice!! Yes, the third time is a new invention which is much typical to a Hindi serial anticlimax.
It starts with two archaeologists unknowingly unleashing a trapped evil spirit in Sagargad caves. Henceforth, begins a series of mysterious kidnappings of children in the small town of Panchgani. Ashutosh, a school principal sees balloons on the latest scene of crime and figures out that “WOH/IT” has returned. The crime scene and the crime pattern ring a bell. He is immediately reminded of his childhood where he along with his friends who called themselves ‘the lucky 7’ had vanquished WOH with a consecrated crystal. They had then vowed to get together to destroy the clown should he resurface again. Thus, comes about the reunion of the lucky 7 in the wake of the recent events after a gap of 30 years. No longer in their teens and successful professionals in their respective fields, they all arrive at Panchagani, except Sanjeev who is murdered by WOH while on his way to Panchgani. They are then joined by a girl, Samidha, whose grandfather had aided the lucky 7 to procure the crystal, thereby keeping the number of the group intact. Meanwhile, the clown lay in wait for the 7 to arrive so that he could end them all. Despite the life threatening attempts and deceptions by the clown, the grownup lucky 7 yet again procure the blessed crystal at the same cave at Sagargad and are able to vanquish the clown with much difficulty. On the same day, Ashutosh gets to know that his wife is pregnant. Which such good news and the evil put to rest, the friends depart on a happy note.
Well, the story doesn’t end here. Tada! Here comes the twist! This is the part where horror gives way to melodrama. Right through Radhika’s pregnancy, to the birth of her baby boy and till the boy reaches the age of 7; there are incidents, omens and people that indicate that the child is none other than the evil clown himself. Cut to 7 years later, the WOH possessed child asks his father to invite his 6 friends for his 7th birthday. It takes a few paranormal activities for the friends to discover that the child is in fact possessed by WOH. They again set out to oust the evil, going back to where it all began. In the cave they find the child, whom ashutosh named Sanjeev, resting on an old woman’s lap. After much persuasion she tells them that she is the clown’s mother who was actually a good man. They belonged to a rich family but were kicked out by the clown’s father on account of him being a dwarf. The child wakes up and transforms into the clown and puts forward his sob story;The insult and humiliation that he faced because of his short height and the rejection by his lady love compelled him to commit suicide. This turned him into an evil spirit which targeted children as they were innocent enough to be taught to respect dwarfs. Phew! Too much to bear, already?
Wait, there’s more. When the clown refuses to leave the child’s body, it only takes his mother to tell him that she hates him for the evil spirit that he has become and snap! The evil, diabolical clown has a change of heart. The lucky 7 then help him achieve salvation through some abracadabra and lo and behold!! It’s a happy ending.
Did we mention that the iconic paper boat scene also found its way in the serial? Since the drainage system in India is not as effective as it is abroad; the boat was made to sail in the swimming pool, where it sank and out popped the clown and took little Rohit away.
So, here it was, the horror show WOH in short. We are not saying the show is really hot, our idea was just to inform the people that when it comes to IT, the Indian Television industry already gave it a shot! That’s IT!