Director: Vishal Furia
Cast: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht
Director Vishal Furia’s horror film Chhorii has a deep and gritty meaning behind the title, which is revealed towards the climax, but the dull pace of this gem of script takes the fun out of countless thrills with which it frightens us.
Vishal’s film is a remake of his own Marathi sleeper hit Lapachhapi. Not only did the story play the lead role, but a very nuanced performance by lead actress Pooja Sawant provided more depth and a nerve-wracking effect. In Chhorii, the unusual director has the same vision and setup, but Nushrratt Bharuccha’s performance as Sakshi is very limited, and so is the impact. The original was a slow burn, and things calm down towards the second half. But Chhorii is just slow and that’s its biggest minus.
Sakhsi expects to become a mother soon. It’s her eighth month pregnant when she learns that her husband Hemant (Saurabh Goyal) is in big trouble with some bad guys about money. They decide to leave the city immediately and their trusted driver Kajla (Rajesh Jais) offers his place in a village outside the city as a refuge for a few days. It is here that the horrors, both real and supernatural, begin to unfold as Sakshi discovers that neither she nor her unborn child is safe.
Mita Vashisht plays a secretive Bhanno Devi, who, as the story unfolds, is revealed to be far from the caring mother figure she pretends to be. Chhorii has all the tropes of horror movies – a remote location, a vulnerable character and evil spirits, but the effect of each of these aspects individually and combined is lacking. Nushrratt is unable to properly channel the fear of her unborn child for most of the term. So moments that should ideally evoke fear in viewers turn out to be without the desired impact.
The slow pace of the film also robs us of the joy of jumpscares. Towards the end, the climax feels stretched and the film closes with an important message.
Chhorii can serve as an incentive to revisit the original, Lapachhapi. It’s rawer, has an indie spirit and is driven by rock-solid performances by leading ladies Pooja and Usha Naik.
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