Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuccha) runs an NGO by the name of Nanhe Kadam Nayi Soch. The “nanhe kadam” part refers to her love for the children, and “nayi soch” means that this girl possesses modern sensibilities (she believes in gender equality and other stuff like that). Sakshi prefers eating street food from the street while her husband, Hemant (Saurabh Goyal), would like to have the same thing in a restaurant. When you receive this small information, you start seeing Sakshi as someone who is grounded. Hemant, on the other hand, gives off the scent of entitlement. The whiff becomes stronger when he questions whether is it wrong if the husband eats before the wife. But as we don’t have enough evidence on our hands and Hemant speaks politely, we ignore our intuitions and think he might just be teasing his wife.
After a violent encounter in the middle of the night, Sakshi comes to know that Hemant owes money to someone and has 24 hours to pay back the required amount. As they don’t have the money and need to protect the baby inside Sakshi’s belly, they go into hiding at their driver’s village. The house, like every other house in a horror film, is far removed from civilization. It’s isolated, and upon reaching there, the first thing that dies is the mobile network. To Chhorii‘s credit, the fields surrounding the house give a vibe of eeriness. They are like a maze in which one can easily enter but would find it difficult to escape. It doesn’t help that these fields seem to be “living.” In one scene, they close all the exit paths when a character tries to leave.
Of course, it’s not the fields but a supernatural entity doing all the haunting and manipulation work. This ghost has a disturbing story to tell, but before that, it will attempt to scare the daylight out of you. It’s not every day these poor souls encounter a suitable victim (here, it should be a woman pregnant with a girl child) who is fit for their scary jump scares. First, there will be a hide-and-seek game. After which, the spirit will indulge in storytelling through recreations. Sakshi’s love for the children is interestingly used during her first supernatural encounter. Some kids play around with her, and she participates in the prank, unaware that they are spectres. The kids and a lady disappear inside one of the rooms in the house. This room is ominously shot, and it was closed when the couple arrived. Meaning: Something terrible has happened there. Proceed with caution.
But let’s not oversell the ghost as an evil menace when the opposite is true. Like last year’s Kaali Khuhi, Chhorii is also about female infanticide. Terrie Samundra’s film, however, was well-made and had a nice balance between the message and the movie. Vishal Furia lacks that expert balance. The horror part is overly stretched, and the messaging part is overly delivered. Sakshi navigates the fields for what seems like centuries. She gets frustrated as she is not able to escape. We get frustrated as the film looks as if it’s going nowhere. The problem arises from the fact that Furia sincerely believes that he is creating suspense and tension through these long, drawn-out scenes within the maze-like fields. And it’s genuinely embarrassing when Chhorii resorts to speech delivery followed by O Ri Chiraiya song from Aamir Khan’s TV show Satyamev Jayate. Kaali Khuhi superbly eased us into its intentions by those chilling shots of women in black murdering the girl child. Samundra trusted her film to work without lazy lectures. The same cannot be said about Furia, who wants to say the same things with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. My admiration for Kaali Khuhi grew even more after watching Chhorii.
To be fair, Chhorii does have a decent start, where the supernatural horror is overshadowed by the horror of living with wolves disguised as sheep. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, it, too, like Sakshi, gets lost in a monotonous imbroglio. Furia’s worst impulses are revealed in a nightmare scene involving the burning of a woman, which is succeeded by the one in the real world where a creepy face goes “boo!” from the corner of the screen. It’s as if Furia is throwing whatever he can to scare us. The sight of dead babies is horrifying, but it doesn’t merge with the film and works merely in isolation. Women have faced injustice for a long time. Their anger deserves a better movie than this.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.