The upcoming horror film on Amazon Prime Video also stars Mita Vashisht, Rajesh Jais, Saurabh Goyal, and Yaanea Bharadwaj
The upcoming horror thriller film Chhorii which stars Nushrratt Bharuccha is said to treat the genre differently and lead the evolution of the otherwise underserved genre in India and the Hindi film industry, says the director Vishal Furia. In an exclusive chat with OTTplay, the director and producers Vikram Malhotra and Jack Davis talked about the film, why they chose to premiere it on OTT platform Amazon Prime Video and why Nushrratt was the only person they took the film to, for the role of Sakshi.
Chhorii is a haunting story of a young couple who seeks refuge in a house hidden inside a sugarcane field, however, secrets of the past soon start unravelling and pregnant Sakshi’s quest to find the answers to all the questions takes you on a journey of horror and some thrills and chills. Director Vishal Furia says, "The film is not a regular Bollywood horror movie. It tells the story of horror differently. I love watching Hollywood and Japanese horror for the way they treat the genre. Chorrii is an attempt to tell stories with that kind of treatment. With that intention in mind, we all were in sync and collaborated on it. We hope people like it, they talk about it and write more about it. We hope that other filmmakers too feel encouraged to create honest horror stories and make this genre successful in this country." He further adds that he loves watching Hollywood and Japanese horror and the way they treat their stories. "Chorrii is an attempt to tell stories with that kind of treatment. With that intention in mind, we all were in sync and collaborated on it," he says.
The film is said to be something more than horror. "It is a human story which is derived from things that happen in and around us. We are aware of it and perhaps even speak about it in whispers. It exists among us. It is the story of a social evil that happens in broad daylight but is done so secretively. We cannot talk about it in open but leaves a drastic impact on the person who faces it," he says.
The film marks the first collaboration of Abundantia Entertainment's Psych and LA-based Crypt TV, known for their scary stories like The Look-See, The Birch and Sunny Family Cult. Jack Davis, founder and CEO of Crypt TV adds that the film has the potential to be scary and also meaningful and fun.
The film will have its world premiere at the International Film Festival of India in Goa on November 25. Speaking about the premiere, Vikram Malhotra says it's the Amazon Prime Video who secured a slot of the world premiere at the prestigious international film festival. "We are happy that the film will have a premiere at the IFFI and many film lovers and members of the film fraternity will be able to watch the film a few hours before it is released on the OTT. We are honoured to have gotten this opportunity," he says.
Nushrratt plays the role of the protagonist in the film. She was the only person the makers took the film to, for the role of Sakshi. Talking about the cast, Vikram Malhotra says, "Nushrratt and I have worked on a few films before Chhorii. She is a gifted talent. She is hardworking, sincere, committed and phenomenal for someone young in her career. She was the only person we took the film to." Jack Davis couldn't agree more. He adds that the role of Sakshi is tough, both physically and emotionally. "We are all loving the character. She brings a special element to the character by creating emotions - fear in one scene and strength in the other. It is going to be an A level film," he says confidently.
Portraying the character was not easy for Nushrratt. She had a couple of breakdowns during the shoot that was shot between November and December last year. "There are a few intense moments in the film where she broke down. I consoled her and gave her time to get over it. But Nushrratt has evolved as an actor during the process of filming, from the first to the last day. She is fabulous and I don't think anyone else could have pulled off the character so well," says Vishal.
One of the other challenges was to shoot during the COVID-19 pandemic at a village, around four hours away from Bhopal. "We shot when the first wave of the pandemic was receding and luckily, there were no accidents or nobody fell sick. Everyone was very cooperative and followed stringent precautions," says Vishal.
The safety and well-being of the cast and crew have been the priority during the shoot. The makers ensured to do regular testing, wear masks, sanitise the sets frequently and maintain social distancing wherever possible. They also had doctors on the sets all day long. "Shooting during the pandemic was different. 100 odd people were working, wearing blue PPE. Forget the film, we managed to scare people in and around the village," jokes Vikram adding that the shoot went on quick and seamless.
Chhorii was initially planned for a theatrical release but as the makers did not want to delay the film due to theatre lockdowns or limited capacity in theatres in most parts of the country, they decided to partner with Amazon Prime Video. Vikram says, "It's always the story that comes first. The decision of platform happens during the journey. Chorri was a film for theatres but when got the film ready, theatres were not completely reopened. Our partners were clear that we did not want any delay and would like to present the product in fresh form. Hence we decided to collaborate with Prime Video." He adds that the OTT platform has allowed them to showcase the product around the world and get the best of both worlds.
The makers are confident that even though OTT lacks in offering the sound effects and larger than life visuals that are required for a horror film, Chhorii would still manage to instil fear when people watch it on small screens. Jack says, "It creates an emotional connect with the protagonist. If you care about the character, you will be scared, irrespective of whether you watching with a larger community or alone. It is an intimate film and Nushrratt is so connected to her character that it will create a scary experience even if you watch it on your personal screens."
The makers predict theatres coming back in a big way post the pandemic. However, it would co-exist with OTT platforms and the stories will find their audience. Jack believes that the post-pandemic world will unleash a lot of creativity as such a heartbreaking incident being about a drastic change and lead to great content. Also, they look forward to shooting films without any restrictions when the world gets back to complete normalcy.
Slated to stream on November 26 on Amazon Prime Video across 240 countries and territories worldwide, Chhorii also features actors such as Mita Vashisht, Rajesh Jais, Saurabh Goyal, and Yaanea Bharadwaj.