Chhorii review: Nushrratt Bharuccha delivers an earnest performance in the horror film with a strong message
Right from the moment Chhorii's teaser had released, I was kind of intrigued. Let me put it out there- I am never thrilled to know that a horror film is up for release. The expectations go super low (I mean, can I be blamed?) and it is also tiring to watch remakes one after the other. Thankfully here, I went with a clean slate, not having watched the Marathi original Lakachhapi and to be honest, Chhorii turned out to be a decent watch.
Like I have said before- I have not watched the original, so I did not know what to expect and what would be happening. Probably that came as a blessing since the film managed to present something different within the genre of horror. We have seen social dramas, we have seen comedies with a message but this one is a horror film that has a strong message. But was the horror horrifying enough? Let's find out.
The film is about Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuccha), an eight-month pregnant woman who loves kids and runs an NGO. But, one fine night, she finds goons attacking her husband (Saurabh Goyal). Scared, she suggests that they shift to a place where no one will be able to find them, for a few days. She lands up at the house of their chauffer (Rajesh Jais) where his wife (Mita Vasisth) tends to her. But is everything how it looks like? What secrets does the house hold? Who are the kids and what's the mystery of 'choti mai'? Well, that's for you to watch and find out.
If we roughly break the film into two parts, we can say that supernatural horror pervades the first half while the second half brings to us realities that are no less horrifying. We know that something is about to happen and that mode and tone are set perfectly right. There is no creaking doors or figure in the mirror kind of horror. There's only one jumpscare, and well, it worked perfectly. What adds to the element is the setting and the colors, besides the music of course. It perfectly sets the premise for the appearance of choti mai (Yaaneea Bharadwaj). The second half wouldn't scare you with the appearance of a ghost. It rather is more frightening as the reality unfolds.
Director Vishal Furia, who had helmed the Marathi original, has control over the narrative and how he wants to put it out there. He balances the plot to give us a new sub-genre in horror. Not only does he create the perfect setting, but also keeps a steady pace. But, the film is not without its flaws.
The message at the end is important, but not subtle. At one point, you do feel that the film is a bit too long and that it could have probably been chopped here and there. But that kind of is forgivable because of the novelty of the approach.
Nushrratt Bharuccha headlines the film and it is so good to see her explore a new character rather than playing a bubbly girl in love. Of course, with Khilona, she had broken the stereotype, but she looked somewhat miscast there. Here, she is very well invested in the film. Playing an eight-month pregnant woman can be challenging and Nushrratt faces this challenge head-on and is successful here. She sinks her teeth into Sakshi's character and as we progress into the film, we see her display an emotional range that we had never seen before. Nushrratt is an absolute revelation in Chhorii. I also loved the fact that she is not given a Hariyanvi accent to speak in!
Other than her, it is just Mita Vasisth who would hold your attention. She is perfect as the village woman taking care of the couple, especially of Nushrratt's character in the time of need. From the accent to her body language, Mita's screen presence is immense. Yaaneea Bharadwaj also deserves mention. Her role in Choti Mai might be small and she had limited screen time, but she leaves an impact even in those few minutes.
The film is low on horror quotient but surely deserves your watch.