google play
Google
 
app store
iOS
 
settings icon
 
profile icon

Home»Critics Review»

Critics Review
Chhorii review: Nushrratt Bharuccha’s social horror flick delivers a few jump scares but gets lost in translation

Vishal Furia’s remake of his Marathi flick, Lapachhapi, misses the mark owing to its pace and shabby treatment of its messaging.

2.5
Prachita Pandey
Nov 26, 2021
cover image
Story:

Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht, Saurabh Goyal, and Rajesh Jais starrer Chhorii begins in an unnamed town where eight-month pregnant Sakshi (Bharuccha) runs an NGO for children. She seems to have a soft corner for girls in particular and kids in general. When her husband, Hemant (Goyal), gets beaten up in the middle of the night for failing to repay his debts, they decide to go into hiding. Their driver, Kajala (Jais), comes to their rescue and helps them flee to his village (somewhere possibly in Haryana), where his wife, Bhanno Devi (Vashisht), takes up the responsibility of taking care of Sakshi. On reaching the village, they find themselves in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sugarcane fields for miles. Little does Sakshi know that the very place that they’ve chosen to take shelter in to protect her unborn child has a horrific and ominous past that will soon catch up to her.

Review:

Director Vishal Furia, who also directed the original Marathi flick Lapachhapi (Disclaimer: I haven’t watched the OG film), manages to hook you right away with the opening sequence of Chhorii (if you manage to sit through it with both your eyes open), leaving you intrigued to know what drove a pregnant woman to willingly cut through her stomach. The narrative briefly shifts to the city before moving back to the same eerie setting in which the film opens. The entire movie is set amidst a creepy household, surrounded by a maze of sugarcane fields, which have been used quite effectively to deliver some well-executed jump scares, especially in the second half of the film. Furia relies more on atmospheric horror and narration (read Mita Vashisht telling a story) than visuals in the first half. This also ends up making the first 50-odd minutes of the film a bit of a drag, which will test your patience.

It’s the second half of Chhorii that becomes a bit rewarding, what with visuals of three creepy kids and a daayan clad in red attire (that may or may not be real). The screenplay, too, picks up the pace and keeps you hooked to the screen, often blurring the lines between illusion and reality. The camerawork by Anshul Chobey is impressive as he plays around with the tall sugarcane crops, almost giving them life and character of their own. However, there’s a long sequence in the labyrinth of sugarcanes with Nushrratt that definitely could have benefitted from some chopping. The background score by Ketan Sodha too leaves a mark.

That being said, Chhorii benefits from having a peculiar rural setting and the presence of very few characters. Most of the heavy lifting is done by Nushrratt and Mita, and the duo doesn’t disappoint. Mita, in particular, is outstanding as the caring and menacing Bhanno Devi. She aces her accent along with her expressions throughout the film. There are scenes in which you see her character change expressions from being threatening to plead to be deceptive and dangerous, with every blink of your eyes. Nushrratt too tries to match up sincerely, especially in the scenes involving them both. It does feel like she’s trying too hard in a few scenes, barring which she’s convincing in her act as Sakshi. For a change, she even gets a few heroic (read: dramatic) lines in the concluding moments of the film. In a couple of scenes where she’s in excruciating pain or is exhausted after going back and forth trying to escape the horror, not a single strand of her perfectly blow-dried hair falls out of line. The parts of Saurabh Goyal and Rajesh Jais are criminally underwritten for them to be able to deliver a noteworthy performance or for you to even take notice.

While there are some obvious loopholes in the plot that require a willing suspension of disbelief, the story does manage to keep you invested, for the most part, until you reach the concluding moments. Towards the end, everything seems to have been rushed quickly to tie up all the loose ends and even pack in a social message, which is delivered with dramatic and preachy dialogues. The big reveal about a character isn’t as impressive and doesn’t do justice to a wait of over two hours. You’d be able to see it coming from several miles away if you’d paid attention to the stories of Bhanno Devi in the film.

Verdict:

While the message Chhorii tries to convey is important, and kudos to Furia for bringing it to light in a mainstream horror film, its execution could have been much better and crisper. The entire build-up, with some well-executed jump scares, an impressive background score and camerawork, commendable performances by the women-in-lead, Chhorii gets lost in translation in its final moments. The shabby treatment of its social message couldn’t even be redeemed by Ram Sampath’s soul-stirring composition, "O Ri Chiraiya," penned and crooned by Swananad Kirkire, with which the movie ends.


Partner sites:
Hindustan Times · Live Hindustan · Live Mint
Desimartini · Shine · Healthshots · Slurrp
Copyright @ 2021 OTTplay, Hindustan Media Ventures Limited