Inspired by The Blair Witch project, this film presented supposedly real footage shot by a bunch of trekkers who get lost in the wilderness of the Western Ghats.
When 6-5=2 released at the end of 2013, it only managed a few single-screen halls, but soon enough, word of mouth publicity got multiplexes also clamoring to screen it. The film, directed by KS Ashok and produced by Krishna Chaitanya, was marketed as a product of ‘found footage’ made from a video by the late Ramesh, as mentioned in the tagline. In fact, not much is known about the rest of the crew of the film, and there is no such mention in the credits either, making it clear that the intention is to reinforce the ‘real’ status of the video that’s been used.
The film opened with the message that it is about six friends who went trekking to the Western Ghats, of which four died, one went missing and only one returned home. The film was supposedly put together from footage shot by one of them, Ramesh, which was recovered later by forest guards scanning the area during the rescue operation for this group. Audiences who saw the film not only believed that it was based on a true story, but that the footage was real too. So much so that 6-5=2 not only became one of the biggest Kannada hits of the years, but is also considered a trend-setter in the horror genre even today.
Was 6-5=2 really based on found footage?
Of course not! 6-5=2 was shot with a cast of actors and a technical crew too. The makers, inspired by Hollywood films in the genre, especially the The Blaire Witch Project, decided to present their story in similar fashion, as ‘found footage’ from a video recording. In fact, after the film’s release, when it was presented as a project made from found footage from the lens of a dead man (Ramesh, in this case), its actual cinematographer, Chennai-based BK Ramesh filed a complaint with the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce about pending dues for his work on the movie.
What is 6-5=2 about then?
Director KS Ashok later admitted that the story was inspired by a real-life incident that happened in the Western ghats, and was widely reported in the media. The story was about six students who head out on a trek and get lost in the ghats. After several days of roaming around in the hope of finding their way out of the jungle, some of them perish to hunger and thirst. One of them, a girl, records herself on video in a message to her mother. When forest guards eventually track down the group, it is too late and they only manage to recover the cameras with footage, which had nothing paranormal about it, but the recordings themselves were, apparently, disturbing.
Ashok used this instance, as well as his own experience of trekking in the area, during which he and his friends were asked to register personal information at the entrance of the trekking route, given that many trekkers don’t return safely.
And that is how Ashok decided to make a film with supposedly found footage and changed the story to include a paranormal element.
The story of 6-5=2
The film was about six friends, Ramesh, Naveen, Prakash, Kumar, Deepa and Soumya, who head to the dense jungles of the Western Ghats to go trekking. Ramesh records most of their trip on his camera, including the paranormal experiences the group has after finding a tree filled with human skulls. Only one of the group returns to safety, after five days in the forest. Ramesh's recordings are later recovered. The film starred Darshan Apoorva, Krishna Prakash, Vijay Chendoor, Pallavi, Tanuja and Mruthyunjaya.
6-5=2 goes to Bollywood
Such was the success of the Kannada film that it was soon picked up for a Hindi remake, which came out about a year after the original.
Where to watch: The Hindi version 6-5=2 is available on Prime Video. For the Kannada original, head to Disney+Hostar or Youtube.