There is a fascist government in place. Check. Instances of majoritarianism. Check. Clampdown on civil liberties. Check. This is what a dystopian society looks like.
Patrick Graham's Netflix Original, Ghoul, ticks all the above checkboxes as a dystopian show and the director says the setting provided "vitality" to the series, which is essentially a horror thriller.
Also Read | Varun Dhawan doesn’t trust Alia Bhatt! Here’s the reason
"First thing we wanted to do was to tell a good story. Basically, a compelling, exciting, edge-of-the-seat story. I think that is the primary objective of filmmakers.
"But add to the atmosphere and give an interesting context and that extra vitality and relevance, we kind of create an alternative reality. We thought having this kind of fascist dictatorship and this totalitarian society would provide nice atmospheric backdrop to the action," Graham told PTI in an interview.
When asked whether "Ghoul" is a commentary on the present situation in India and other parts of the world where sectarian divide is at its zenith, Patrick said they were not pointing finger at any particular group.
"Inherently, it does (hold a mirror to the society) because we have seen in the history the instances of fascist governments and tropes of those governments. Clampdown on civil liberties, victimisation of ethnic minorities and use of torture and propaganda, these are some recognisable generic traits of fascist governments.
"Also in this day and age, we see the rise of populism and fear of immigrants and extreme right-wing governments that are almost becoming a norm. It does hold a mirror to life but its not holding a finger specifically at one government or one group of people," Graham said.
George Orwell's "1984", British graphic novel V for Vendetta and most recently The Handmaids Tale are some of the adaptations that have used dystopia as a narrative devise and Graham said these books worked as an inspiration for him.
Also Read | I get scared easily, says Shraddha Kapoor
"We all love famous dystopian works of fiction. 'V for Vendetta' is one of my favourite graphic novels. '1984' left a huge impact. It is a fun genre to explore and I find it particularly interesting. Also, I don't think we have seen much of it in India," Graham said.
"Ghoul" is Netflix's first foray into the horror-genre in India and Graham believes there is a huge but untapped audience that yearns for scares of international standards.
"In India, there is a good, solid audience for adult-horror. We see that because films like Annabelle and Conjuring have been some of the most successful foreign films to come to Indian cinemas, so there is this hunger for horror in India.
Also Read | ‘Mitron’ has nothing to do with PM Modi, says director Nitin Kakkar
"The horror films that were being made in India were probably catering to just one group of people, while ignoring the other sections, the one which is more familiar with American horror. There was ample opportunity and real niche to create homegrown, serious, adult-horror which is what we have tried to do," he said.
Starring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, Ghoul is currently available on Netflix.