Producer: Vikram Malhotra
Director: Vishal Furia
Cast: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht, Saurabh Goyal, Rajesh Jais
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Though per se, Chhorii is presumably yet another eye-opening montage of patriarchal horrors you have had enough and but there is little that is spooky or spunky about this film that meanders, aimlessly for the most part, almost like the vast space of the sugarcane field it is set in.
The plot is not anything that is out of the ordinary. Set deep in the heartlands, Chhorii is the story of a modern, young couple, Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuccha) and Hemant (Saurabh Goyal) . Sakshi is eight months pregnant with her first child when the couple, forced out of their home, escapes from the city and seeks refuge in a house located deep inside sugarcane.
Little does Sakshi realise that she is going to become witness to a cruel brutal practice that is being perpetuated for centuries in the name of tradition. What starts as a clash between rural and urban values takes a sinister turn as strange events begin to unmask the reality of Sakshi’s genial hosts Bhanno Devi (Mita Vashisht) and Kajla (Rajesh Jais) .
An official adapted remake of the acclaimed Marathi super hit Lapachhapi by the same director Vishal Furria, this film has Sakshi, a pregnant woman whose husband Hemant is attacked by goons inside their home. Because he can’t pay back the money he owes some ill-mannered people, both husband and wife decide to head to their driver’s village and lie low for a while. Henceforth begins a tale of minor horrors, major genre clichés and a story so unnecessarily twisty it almost muddles through testing your patience its eventual punch line.
Watch Chhorii trailer here:
It is quite sad that some of the rawness of the Marathi original is missing here but the makers largely succeed in holding on to the audience to an extraordinary supernatural experience rooted in everyday life. The worn-out house, in the midst of towering sugarcane crops, is suitably haunting and, along with other performers, keeps the mood really believable for the most part.
As far as performances go, Nusshratt Bharuccha carries the right proportion of confidence and vulnerability to make us believe in the heavily pregnant Sakshi, thanks to prosthetics. It is refreshing to see Mita Vashshit return in the prominent role of the mother in law Bhanno Devi where she is really being used to project the complex role of an antagonist with aplomb. As the traditional mother-in-law, it is to her credit that she gets immersed into the Haryanvi milieu, with effortless ease. Sadly the roles of Saurabh Goyal and Rajesh Jais have been underdeveloped and also half baked at the cost of the roles played by Nusshratt and Mita
The best aspect of the film is that the film focuses on female infanticide without preaching about the evils that it spells for a society. The makers have not dared to mention that it has been set in Haryana, a state with one of the worst cases of infanticide in India. If you have to choose among the two, opt for the same director’s Marathi original version Lapachhapi instead of this laborious Hindi remake.