Chhorii Movie Review: When Bollywood attempts a horror movie, expecting something good is not the first expectation that you have. Films like Raat, Bhoot, Tumbbad or even Pari are once-in-a-blue moon occurrence. Otherwise what we get are knockoffs of South, Korean or Hollywood horror movies, or otherwise tiring extensions of franchises that sells more on cheap scares and sleaze. Chhorii, thankfully, belongs to the better variety. It is creepy, it is scary in places, it has good performances and it delivers a message that doesn't feel pushed down your throats. Chhorii: Nushrratt Bharuccha Opens Up About Her Role as a Pregnant Woman in the Upcoming Amazon Prime Video’s Horror Film.
It helps that director Vishal Furia only needs to remake his own acclaimed film in Hindi. Chhorii, for the uninitiated, is the official remake of the 2017 Marathi film Lapachhapi. But just because a director is remaking his own movie doesn't mean it has to be good. See what happened to Dybbuk, the Hindi remake of Ezra, both sharing the same director and yet the remake turning out to be an inferior copy of the original.
So what did Chhorii do right? For one, it didn't compromise on neither the storytelling nor compromising aesthetics for star-value, and managed to create the same atmospheric feel like the original Marathi movie. That said, I wish Vishal could have ironed out some of the writing flaws of the original to make the remake a little better. More on that later.
Chhorii revolves around Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuchha... hoping she doesn't add any more letters to her name by her next movie), a teacher who is eight-months pregnant. When her husband Hemant (Saurabh Goyal) runs afoul with debtors, they decide to lay low in the village of their driver Kajla (Rajesh Jais).
Kajla's house is in the midst of a huge sugarcane field with no other houses in the vicinity, except for the abandoned house of his deceased younger brother, where the couple stays. Kajla's wife Banno (Mita Vasisht) takes care of Sakshi, though there are times when her behaviour transcends into odd. As Sakshi's stay at this housing extends further, she begins to see and experience strange sights and sounds. We get to see ghostly kids, a radio that sings a creepy lullaby, and Banno's behaviour getting stranger by the day.
When Sakshi decides enough is enough, she convinces Hemant to leave the place, but before they could manage to do so, a bigger evil stops her from making her escape.
Watch the Trailer:
Horror movies are the creepiest when it involves a pregnant protagonist, be it Rosemary's Baby or Inside (kindly don't watch this if you want to lose your week's sleep). Chhorii gets that added creep benefit but becomes even creepier is when the movie involves real-life horrors like social misogyny, and infanticide in the mix. For about the first hour, Chhorii takes a bit of a leisure pace to arrange for the scary setup. It lures you into thinking that you might get a run-of-the milly scary flick, with a few fake jump scares thrown in.
There are a couple of scenes that stand out. Like that discomforting opening scene, that I had to watch through my fingers. Or the spine-chilling tale involving a crow, a dead tree and a snake that Banno tells Sakshi, that might end on an emotional note but predicts for the viewer what to expect ahead.
Chhorii, however, takes a turn for the better after Sakshi spots the first ghostly child. Still, the film keeps you under some false pretences about how it will be go about. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when the movie puts Sakshi in a very spine-chilling maze that allows her to experience some terrifying hallucinations and witness some incidents that could tingle your nerves. The BG score, the visuals and the smart use of some terrific makeup and CGI, not to mention using the sugarcane fields as a perplexing setup, amp up the chill factor. Events take some surprising turns here, and there is some unexpected pathos that we come across. The second hour of Chhorii is a true highlight of the film.
There are, however, two story-making decisions that annoyed me, even after the movie ended. One is when Banno tells Sakshi another tale, which I don't think the latter even needed to hear. I believe that tale - not wanting to spoil what it is - was meant for the audience as some sort of tricky exposition. Second is the twist in the climax about a certain character that is easily guessable, helped further by Banno's tale. It slightly lets down the finale that doesn't exactly give the complete satisfaction that you want from the ending. Dybbuk Movie Review: Emraan Hashmi and Nikita Dutta's Horror-Thriller Lacks Good Spooks.
The performances are quite good. Nushhratt lends enough believability as the perplexed but bold enough protagonist. The second half depends strongly on her act, and Nushhratt ably pulls off those difficult scenes with enough self-assurance and a dash of vulnerability. Mita Vasisht is absolutely first-rate as the older woman, who certainly keeps some very dark secrets close to her chest. Rajesh Jais and Saurabh Goyal perform their parts well. Did You Know Shah Rukh Khan’s #SiwaySRK Ad Co-Star Rajesh Jais Made His Bollywood Debut With a King Khan Film?
- The Performances
- The Second Half
- Slow Pacing in the First Half
- A Couple of Questionable Storytelling Turns
As a horror movie, Chhorii is a very pleasant surprise. When I say 'pleasant', I meant quite the creepy-ass surprise! With a smart combination of a minimal setup, chilling visuals and effective performances, the movie keeps you invested in the horror tale till the very end. Chhorii is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 25, 2021 10:24 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).