REST IN PEACE, SHYAM SIR!
Shyam Ramsay, one of the seven Ramsay Brothers known for cult horror films such as Puraani Haveli and Tahkhaana, passed away this past week due to Pneumonia at the age of 67. The Ramsay Brothers — late Tulsi and Shyam, Kumar, Keshu, Arjun, Gangu and Kiran — produced a series of cult horror films, almost 30, through the 70s to the 90s. Shyam along with his brothers had truly redefined the Horror genre in India.
All of their journey started from a small radio shop in Karachi in undivided India. Their father Fatehchand U Ramsinghani, had relocated to Mumbai after the Partition and decided to get into the business of film production. After the success of his few films, he started pulling his sons, the seven Ramseys into film making, one by one. It was in the early 1970s that the now late Tulsi and Shyam Ramsey realised they wanted to make Horror films and with their film Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche which came out in 1972, it created a milestone in the Indian Horror genre.
The Ramsey’s made films which were simple, comparatively, which were on low budget and a tinge of B grade sensibility. Ramsay Brothers became synonymous with the genre and went on to make a string of such films in the decade of 1970s and 1980s, featuring zombies, vampires, werewolves, reanimated corpses and snowmen.
The filmmaking departments were also split among the brothers – Kumar wrote the script, Kiran was in charge of sound, Ganguly manned the camera, Keshu assisted on cinematography, while doubling up as the production guy, while Arjun handled post-production and editing. Tulsi and Shyam shared the directing duties of the film.
Ever since Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche, slowly he along with the other Ramsey brothers, started laying down the new blueprints of Indian Horror. Films like Purana Mandir, Bandh Darwaza, Sannata, Tehkhana, Veerana, Dak Bangla, Purani Haveli, Saamri, Dahshat and many episodes of the Zee Horror Show. They also imbibed a lot of otber things in their films as well like black magic, some occult practices and what not. They made films with lesser known actors, with low budgets and also gave us some iconic characters like the devil worshipper Samri in Purana Mandir.
While their formula might be getting old and a bit out of fashion, the industry or even the audiences will hardly ever forget their contribution to this genre of cinema. What they did back then was nothing short of a revolution, even though it is a thing of a past now, but we must remember, something old always gives birth to something new and this way their legacy will live on forever!
By – Amul Vikas Mohan