Chhorrii director Vishal Furia on Yaaneea Bharadwaj's role of Sunaini aka Choti Mai: "It is the most important role in the film"
Yaaneea Bharadwaj made her debut in Bollywood as Choti Mai/ Sunaini in Vishal Furia's Chhorii. The director feels that Yaaneea's role was most important in the film.
Talking about casting Yaaneea, director, Vishal Furia shares, "The role of the individual who plays the ghost in the film is crucial since my Niche is Horror Filmmaking. The role is of utmost importance after the main protagonist. It’s very important to cast this role correctly because even the ghost was once a human, with their own backstory. That’s why it’s really important to have a proper cast. I meticulously designed the ghost characters like the character of Choti Mayi in Chhorii. Once the designing was complete, I set out to cast the character requiring somebody who could pull of the character emotionally as well as physically since Choti Mayi was a very intense character."
On how improtant this character was, he adds, "Also when you’re wearing 3-4 layers of prosthetics, over your face and body, you’ve stayed in prosthetics for the longest part of the day and then you must come to the set and perform, you have to listen to the director, you have to co-act with the other actors. It’s a very intense process for that person. A person who is emotionally and physically weak tends to give up which is why it was important to get the cast right. I personally screened the probable artist for that character and Yaaneea stood out amongst every other person I screened."
Furia continues, "Yaaneea has this amazing, mystique physical quality around her. She looks extremely pretty but at the same time there is a certain intrigue about her. She looks strong but also has a strong vulnerable quality to her face and that really helps the character of Chhoti Mayi because the character is such. The character has a lot of inner strength but also has a strong vulnerability. Yaaneea went into the depths of the character, she took it upon herself to lift that character. She asked me zillions of questions, most of them were not even relevant to the story but they were relevant for her to build the character in her mind, that was her process and that really helped the character. I think she actually started living that character all through the duration of the shoot, probably even before the shoot and that is what I wanted that person to do. To really dive deep into that character and experience the emotional trauma and the pain of what that character must have gone through while she was still alive and that is what Yaaneea did. Her role is not a very long but it is the most important role in the film because the whole story revolves around the past of that character."
Talking about Yaaneea dojng so much prosthetics, he continues, "So it was important for the actor to have a certain imagination, have a certain visualisation of what that world would have been when the character would have been alive and then portray it on screen. She did a fantastic job. I don’t think I would have had anyone else play Chhoti Mayi than Yaaneea. There were days when she was so tired, so exhausted with that huge heavy layers of prosthetic upon her, with those lenses in her eyes…. She could not eat properly while her artificial teeth were on her. She had to be covered on set also, it was Covid times so that also was a little hindrance so there were days for her where she was emotionally, physically tired but she wouldn’t give up. She wanted to give her best, after every shot she used would ask me sir is this the best? Sir we need to do one more? I feel like I need to do one more. I had to tell her that it’s absolutely correct. It is the right take… to trust me on that."
He concludes, "The performance here is for all of us to see, she’s just fabulous in the film and everytime I see her performance, I get a lump in my throat, I can visually experience what that character must have gone through. I think it’s a just a very meticulous performance with great nuances and the finale of the film is just fabulous."
Yaaneea Bharadwaj has definitely won a lot of praises for her role of the ghost, Chhoti Mayi in the recent horror flick. She is all set to collaborate next with the Tumbbad director, Rahi Anil Barve which is still awaiting official announcement