Darna Mana Hai (English: Fright is Forbidden) is a 2003 Indian anthology horror drama film. It was considered a unique and innovative attempt by Ram Gopal Varma and Prawaal Raman to provide Indian audiences with a horror film which consists of six different short stories and first of its kind horror anthology of Indian cinema. It stars a host of Bollywood celebrities including Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani, Shilpa Shetty, Sameera Reddy, Isha Koppikar, Nana Patekar, Sohail Khan, and more. Its basic premise is loosely inspired from the movie Campfire Tales.

Darna Mana Hai
Darna Mana Hai (movie poster).jpg
Movie poster for Darna Mana Hai
Directed byPrawaal Raman
Produced byRam Gopal Varma
Written byAtul Sabharwal
Rajnish Thakur
Abbas Tyrewala
StarringSaif Ali Khan
Vivek Oberoi
Nana Patekar
Boman Irani
Sanjay Kapoor
Shilpa Shetty
Sohail Khan
Antara Mali
Sameera Reddy
Rajpal Yadav
Aftab Shivdasani
Isha Koppikar
Peeya Rai Chowdhary
Raghuvir Yadav
Gaurav Kapur
Kiku Sharda
Abir Goswami
Music bySalim–Sulaiman
CinematographyVishal Sinha
Distributed byK Sera Sera Productions
Release date
  • 25 July 2003 (2003-07-25)
Running time
121 minutes


Darna Mana Hai interweaves six stories into one film. Seven friends get stuck in the middle of a forest when their car breaks down, and all of them except Vikas find refuge in an abandoned house. To keep each other amused, they tell each other horror and supernatural stories that they have heard over a bonfire.

Story 1 - On the WayEdit

The first story revolves around a married couple, Karan (Sohail Khan) and Anjali (Antara Mali), who get stuck in the middle of a forest. After their car suddenly stops, Karan gets out to investigate the problem. After his disappearance and his constant cries for help from the desolated forest, Anjali gets out and runs into the forest to rescue him. She finds Karan's torch covered in blood and is stalked by an unseen person or supernatural being. Panicking, Anjali runs around and finds a hand reaching out of a swamp. She then becomes terrified to find that the hand is wearing a watch identical to her husband's. After failed attempts to rescue him, the hand disappears. Someone creeps up on her and as Anjali screams; it turns out to be Karan. Karan seems completely normal and fine, while Anjali, whimpering, attempts to tell him that she heard him screaming. However, Karan tells her that he heard her screams from the forest when he went to retrieve water. She looks at the torch that she found, which is suddenly clean of the blood that it was covered in. She then hurries back to the car with Karan, telling him to get them both out of there. After quickly fixing the car problem with the water, Karan and the panicked Anjali climb into the car and drive off. After seeing Anjali's anxious and worried state, Karan puts his arm around her as she leans on him and closes her eyes. He then smirks and looks into the rearview mirror of the car, in which his reflection is not visible and Anjali seems to be leaning on nothing.

After this story, one of the friends who gets frightened goes back to the car.

Story 2 - No SmokingEdit

The second story is about a photographer, Anil (Saif Ali Khan), who checks into an inn while on his way to Mumbai. The manager and owner (Boman Irani) of the lodge is a strange and eccentric man who insists that smoking is strongly prohibited in his inn. When Anil tries to go outside for a smoke, the man restricts him, telling him about the diseases that come along with smoking. The owner then locks Anil inside the lodge and tells him that in a matter of months, he can cure his smoking addiction. The owner takes Anil to a basement of sorts and shows him piles of dead bodies, telling him that he tried to prevent them, but these people would not stop smoking. After a few months, Anil is now seen working at the lodge, acting strange and eccentric himself. When a customer walks in smoking and asks him for a room, Anil tells him that smoking is strongly prohibited. When the customer displays indifference, Anil proceeds to shoot the man with a gun. The story ends with Anil and the owner sitting together, smiling, and watching a commercial about the effects of smoking.

After this story, a second friend in the group around the bonfire goes to the car looking for a blanket. When she leaves, the body of the first girl who left the bonfire is shown. The second girl is chased around the forest, caught and stabbed by an unseen assailant.

Story 3 - HomeworkEdit

The third story is that of a school teacher named Dayashankar Pandey (Raghubir Yadav). He confronts a student named Pramila, who is always punished for not completing her homework. One day, when Pandey asks Pramila to hold out her hand for punishment (assuming that she did not do her homework), Pramila produces her homework instead. However, her homework elicits a strange reaction from Pandey. Every day following this, the incident repeats itself, making Pandey increasingly anxious. Upon a suggestion from a coworker that she might be receiving help from parents or a tutor, Pandey calls upon Pramila's mother (Revathi). She denies about helping her daughter. He then asks about the Om sign that Pramila draws on every page of her homework. The mother shrugs it off, which forces Pandey to drop the topic. Later, Pandey decides to go to Pramila's house. He confronts Pramila and explains that he once murdered his intelligent friend, Varun, in jealousy and that he thinks Pramila is a reincarnation of his friend. He says that he drew the Om sign to prove it. He realizes he is slipping into insanity and leaves apologizing. On the way back home, he is confronted by the spirit of his childhood friend Varun, who lets him know, "You are not insane [yet]. But you will be." By the next morning, Pandey loses his sanity and he keeps on scribbling basic mathematics on the road.

After this story is told, another friend in the group leaves the bonfire looking for the girls who had left them before. He reaches the car to discover Vikas killed by the knife that he had in his hand. When he goes back to warn his friends he also was confronted by the mysterious attacker.

Story 4 - ApplesEdit

The fourth story focuses on a housewife named Gayatri (Shilpa Shetty), who goes to a market and comes across a vendor (Rajpal Yadav) selling apples for Rs. 20 as compared to everyone else selling apples at Rs. 60. She buys the apples from the vendor, but his demeanour and behaviour unsettles her. When she gets home, her husband Sanjay (Sanjay Kapoor) eats one of the apples and finds it very tasty. Gayatri worries that something might happen to Sanjay after eating the apples, as she harbours suspicions about the vendor. The next morning, when Gayathri wakes up, she is shocked to find an apple next to her instead of her husband. She runs outside and is astonished to see apples everywhere on the ground, seemingly that every person who has eaten an apple has turned into one. The vendor then appears with an evil look, offering Gayatri his last apple for free.

Story 5 - Ghostly LiftEdit

In the fifth story, an elderly man named John Rodrigues (Nana Patekar) is standing at a graveyard. A young man in sunglasses, Amar (Vivek Oberoi), drives by and gives John a lift. Amar asks John why he was at the graveyard, as he thinks that John's wife is dead so he might have come to visit her grave. However, John says that it is actually he who is dead. Amar dismisses it as a joke. After some more conversation, Amar gets exasperated by John's strange behavior. Amar then stops the car, gets out, and asks John to get out. John then explains that he works for MTV Bakra (a program similar to Punk'd) and Amar is the first person not to get scared. Amar says that he was not scared because he knew beforehand that John was not a ghost. He says that he knew this because he himself is a ghost. John thinks that Amar is now trying to play a prank to get back at him. Amar then takes off his sunglasses, revealing that his eyes are hollow, before disappearing. When John sees this, he dies of shock.

Back in real time, at the end of the fifth story, only two friends are left, as none of the five have returned. The two of them start talking about other things when a man suddenly appears, sitting at a corner. The strange man (revealed to be Sushant Singh) approaches the two and tells them that he has heard the five stories. He asks the boy out of the two friends to tell a story, who narrates the following.

Story 6 – Stop/MoveEdit

The sixth and final story is about a young student, Purab (Aftab Shivdasani), and his love interest, Abhilasha (Isha Koppikar). Purab contemplates suicide because Abhilasha rejects his advances and nobody else in his college likes him either. He sadly rants about not being special in front of an idol. Later, he discovers that he has developed an extraordinary ability - he can immobilize a particular person just by saying "Stop" to them. Purab uses his ability to freeze Abhilasha, and later imitates it to her by immobilizing a number of students in their college. Abhilasha, frightened of Purab's power, agrees to date him. Thereafter, Purab goes to his house and uses his power on his father on the way to his room. In his room, he, in delight of his ability, starts making plans to use his power. As he looks into the mirror, he says "Stop", which freezes him on the spot. His father finds him like that in his room, with a victorious smile frozen on his face. He is immediately rushed to the hospital but in vain.


The strange man tells the two friends that it is his turn now to tell a story. He tells them a story that they are partly familiar with.

A group of seven friends are travelling when their car breaks down one night. They seek shelter under a ruined shack and start telling stories to each other to kill time. After each story, one friend in the group (supposedly frightened) goes out into the forest and gets killed, one by one, until only two are left. The two friends that are left stop telling stories to each other and the killer, who is now bored, comes out to them. The killer appears to be the very same strange man that is narrating this story. He says that his only reason for the murders is fear because he cannot stand it and would kill anyone who is scared.

The man then kills the boy. The girl, Shruti (Sameera Reddy), runs into the forest as fast as she can, but the killer catches up to her and stabs her. She manages to kill the man before falling unconscious.

When day breaks, Shruti awakens and walks up to the main road to find that the place is swarming with police and her friends' bodies are being taken into ambulances. Then, she sees the killer standing by a car, smiling. Shruti points at the man and tries to tell the police that he is the murderer, but the police takes no notice of her and appears not to hear her. The killer then points at a body, which she shockingly discovers to be her own. She realizes that she too is dead and is now a ghost, and watches their bodies being taken away with tears in her eyes. As she watches, she is joined by the ghosts of her friends and the killer.



  • Director: Prawaal Raman
  • Producer: Ram Gopal Varma
  • Production House: K Sera Sera, Farhat Corporation Ltd.
  • Cinematography: Vishal Sinha
  • Action: Allan Amin
  • Art: Sunil Nigvekar
  • Editor: Amit Parmar, Nipun Gupta
  • Screenplay: Atul Sabharwal, Abbas Tyrewala
  • Dialogue: Atul Sabharwal, Abbas Tyrewala
  • Story/Writer: Atul Sabharwal, Abbas Tyrewala, Rajneesh Thakur
  • Music: Salim - Sulaiman

Box office and receptionEdit

Darna Mana Hai, which opened on July 2003, was one of the most acclaimed films of that year. It received four-star ratings from many critics and was termed a path-breaking cult film. It was called a radical and daring attempt in new age cinema and received accolades for its brilliant direction execution and performances.

Darna Mana Hai opened to a 90% opening in all multiplexes and recovered its cost of production in the initial three days; after that it was declared a hit.


Darna Mana Hai:
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Studio album by
LabelZEE Records
ProducerSalim Suleiman

The soundtrack features 6 songs composed by Salim-Sulaiman, with lyrics by Lalit Marathe.

Track listing:

  1. "Darna Mana Hai" (4:20) – Sunidhi Chauhan, Ninad Kamat, Naresh Kamat
  2. "Darna Mana Hai Remix" (4:15) – Sunidhi Chauhan, Ninad Kamat, Naresh Kamat
  3. "Homework" (5:11) – Clinton Cerejo, Aparna Jha, Vijay
  4. "Jo Dar Gaya Voh Mar Gaya" (4:45) – Sunidhi Chauhan, Salim Merchant, Naresh Kamat
  5. "No Smoking" (4:56) – Ravi Khote
  6. "Stop" (4:27) – Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan

External linksEdit