Vishal Furia’s long-awaited Hindi remake of his Marathi-language horror Lapachhapi from 2017 stays true to the original’s spirit, marrying the psychological uncertainties of pregnancy with the eerie atmosphere of rural isolation. Buried in the middle of a vast sugarcane field where one can get lost among the towering reeds is a simple house that doubles as a temporary hideaway from debt collectors for young city couple Hemant (Saurabh Goyal) and eight-month pregnant Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuccha)
The place actually belongs to their chauffeur and his wife, whose initial hospitality goes along with gendered prejudices. They insist, for example, that Sakshi should eat only after her husband has finished his meal. As strange visions and noises soon abound, the refuge becomes a site of horror, plunging Sakshi into the midst of ghostly manifestations, traumatic familial history, and even shamanic rituals.
Much of the film’s excitement comes from the evocative sugarcane field, where every rustling noise carries a sense of secret and danger. Still, like the original, Chhorii is overly dependent on a spooky score and sound effects as well as a constant stream of expository dialogue and sequences; this both messes up the pacing and underestimates viewers’ ability to piece together the central mystery. Since much of the plot revolves around Sakshi’s deteriorating psychological state, Bharuccha’s one-note performance is also a disappointment.
Furthermore, Chhorii is aiming to comment on important feminist issues via the medium of horror storytelling, but Furia has basically repeated Lapachhapi’s failings: Chhorii reiterates the same dubious and simplistic talking points – minus the original’s great performances.