“Chhorii: Fearsome Female Fable” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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Chhorii(Amazon Prime Video)

Starring Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht, Rajesh Jais, Saurabh Goyal

Directed by Vishal Furia

Chhorri ke peeche kya hai???!!!! An urgent message on female foeticide is tucked away in the ghagra folds of this unusual flawed yet interesting shiver-giver. Almost the entire film is set in deserted yawning stretch of a sugarcane field where the silences are punctured by eerie sounds of little children with big wide eyes playing and laughing in a deceptive show of normalcy.

As this low-budget mayhem-drama tells us, quiet places secrete deep disturbances. Right. But we don’t really get to penetrate the heart of the horror. Director Vishal Furia’s faithful adaptation of the Marathi film Lapachhapi is unable to convey the fearful ambience of the original.

Yes, there is plenty of atmospheric pressure in Chhorri. But most of the jumpscare moments are reserved for the last half an hour when the F-X guys have fun with the fear fare. Some of the images towards the end specially one showing a womb on fire are disturbing.

It is up to the two talented actresses Mita Vashisht and Nushrratt Bharuccha to communicate the sense of gathering ominousness. For Mita Vashisht sporting a Rajasthani accent and appearing intimidating is child’s play. She can appear twisted even when offering her co-star a roti fresh off the chulha. Or when telling a chilling tale of murder and retribution, she is explosive without having to explode into hysteria.

Some of the footage goes into building a relationship between Vashisht and Bharuccha in the wilderness. But the betrayal that follows lacks the forceful impact that it is meant to communicate. Bharuccha shows an admirable level of commitment playing an endangered pregnant woman strangely left to her own devices in the middle of nowhere. Alas, her prosthetics let her down. The spirit is strong, but the flesh is sadly weak.

Perhaps the weak supporting cast is to blame for the lame execution of what was potentially an explosive and thoughtprovoking take on female foeticide. There are only two male characters in the plot, played by Rajesh Jais and Saurabh Goel. They remain shadowy figures with blurred motivations for whatever (little) they do while the women occupy centrestage and succeed in sustaining the dramatic tension to some extent.

However too many unexplained props and signs that are meant to build the feeling of foreboding, seem to be there just for the random scare. There is no fluent construction towards the end-eruption, making the whole exercise look not only lopsided but deformed.

On the plus side, the cane fields and the feeling that they hide more than we can see is ably captured. Anshul Choubey’s cinematography conveys the creepy mood of a regressive situation. But the editing could have done away with the flab. Some of the footage seems to be there just for the heck of it.

Our Rating

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