Director duo Raj Nidimoru & Krishna DK's Diary of their Dead
Filmmakers, we are naturally inclined towards comedy. So when we decided to make a zombie movie, we were both clear that it would not be a hardcore zombie film, but an authentic film about the walking dead though in the lighter space. So we came up with our own Zombie Rule Guide — a kind of a roadmap that saw us through the making of India's first zomcom.
Zombies, Who: Zombies are essentially dead people driven by the hunger for human flesh and blood. As per the original concept they are slow, but we kind of broke this rule, redefining it to imply that as their hunger increases, they become faster. Also, the look of a zombie would change depending on how decayed it is. We decided to make ours fresh zombies, dead only for a day or two, therefore, they still resemble humans.
Get Into The Act: For the make-up, we brought on board two international artists, Sean Genders from Australia and Tom Luthala from the US, who have worked on several big Hollywood films including Matrix. Sean and Tom would prepare the looks on other people or even themselves and show them to us, following which, we would share our feedback, especially in case of zombies that were to be of Indian origin. Since each zombie comes from a different person, we gave them different looks, for instance, some have their eyes popping.
Then Came Goa: As the film is about a Russian rave party in Goa gone bad, we wanted the people to be as authentic as possible. The crew accompanied by our creative director-producer Sita Menon, went looking for the right people in Goa. They conducted workshops and trained them. No one knows how he or she is going to behave after death so we let them do their thing. Interestingly, several crew members appear in the film as zombies. (Psst: This also includes Krishna DK who has a cameo.)
Getting It Right: Applying prosthetics is time-consuming activity. There were days when we would have to get up to 200 people to look like zombies. We kept gallons of fake blood — prepared using a mix of all sorts of things, including corn syrup. Then there was a time when we travelled to Mauritius for the shoot without realising that we won't get 99.9 per cent pure propyl alcohol there. This was one of the basic requirements for the make-up since only alcohol of this pure consistency can make prosthetic make-up stick to the face. So we flew it from India, claiming to airport authorities that the highly flammable liquid was safe.
All those zombie legends: For the hardcore zombie genre fans, we have included some legendary characters from Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Shawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, Zombie Land and the popular television show The Walking Dead. They are not in full-fledged roles, but will appear in passing.