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Nushrratt Bharuccha on being the hero of Chhorii: ‘Earlier, I would count the number of times I get seen in a trailer’

Actor Nushrratt Bharuccha talks about her latest film Chhorii, and whether horror films in India can match international standards. She also discusses how the audience is open to seeing stories revolving around women

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
November 26, 2021 8:28:41 pm
nushrratt bharuccha, chhoriiNushrratt Bharuccha's Chhorii is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. (Photo: Nushrratt/Instagram)

Amazon Prime Video’s latest offering, Chhorii, has been garnering mixed reviews from critics and fans. While the horror element has been appreciated, the Nushrratt Bharuccha-starrer has been criticised for being too preachy. Directed by Vishal Furia, the film delves into the life of a pregnant woman who encounters supernatural elements while staying in a desolate location.

Chatting exclusively with indianexpress.com, Nushrratt opened up about the film, which she carries on her shoulders. She also spoke about the horror genre in Bollywood and whether it can ever match up to international standards.

Excerpts from the conversation…

Chhorii is a remake of the Marathi hit Lapachhapi. Given that the audience has already watched it and knows what happens, do you think it will manage to surprise them again?

People who have probably watched the original know what they are coming into. The fact they are coming shows that the film impacted them somewhere. And now that they’ll watch Chhorii, it will only give them a larger, newer and wholesome experience. There will be no loss as people have already liked it.

Coming to Chhorii, I am really excited and eager. Just to have a film like this in these times, when there’s so much good content, is amazing. Today, the audience has evolved and can differentiate between good, bad and ugly. This is a responsible film and can impact viewers. There are certain films which have been ahead of their time. This time, I feel the audience is ready and has the emotion to accept it.

Is shooting a horror film scary? Or is it too technical?

It’s not technical at all. It’s very real and everything was happening live in front of us. Starting from the location, and the sugarcane field, it was as eerie it looks and was pitch dark. When I used to shoot at night, I couldn’t even find my way in and out. I would hold my team’s hand warning them not to leave me alone. That’s just the location. And add all the other aspects and everything was just too scary. I also approached Chhorii in a way that I didn’t know what we were shooting. I had no clue and would jump the moment something happened. The reaction and emotions were all real. It was really scary.

While Bollywood has been churning out a lot of horror films, do you think it can match up to Hollywood?

In horror, as a genre, you need to keep reinventing yourself. You put a prosthetic ghost in front of the audience, they will get scared for a moment but then get over it. The demand is to keep doing something new so that they are hooked. As a film industry, we have stopped that. Yes, we are trying to do something new like in Stree, where we cracked the deadly combination of horror and comedy. It was largely accepted and I hope we keep reinventing and bring about a new face of horror in Bollywood.

Talking about reinvention, how important is it to you to try and do something new? Is it a conscious call?

Not a conscious thought, it’s who I am, but nobody noticed it earlier. After I did Pyar Ka Punchnama, I did Akaash Vani, which were such different films. Even with the sequel of Pyar Ka Punchnama, even with the same premise, I was doing something completely different. I have been constantly trying to push myself to do something new. The fact that Chhorii looks different, people feel I am doing something very new. I did LSD as my first film which couldn’t have been more different. Maybe earlier I did not have the choices but I’ve always been like this.

 

And what’s your thought on most ghosts in films always being choris (women)?

As I said, we need to reinvent and find a new language. I think we are all done with churails (witches) now.

Watching horror films on the big screen adds a lot to the viewing experience. Given that Chhorii is releasing on OTT, do you think it will manage to strike the same chord?

I truly feel the OTT platform has the kind of numbers, and you cannot take that away. The film will automatically reach a larger audience. Nobody predicted we will be in a pandemic, which changed viewing choices. It has also given new forms of life, as actors and stories are living with OTT. I have also binge-watched throughout the lockdown. I am really happy that Chhorii is on OTT as I genuinely believe that the same experience can be recreated now. I would darken my rooms, have no sound or unwanted people around. Amazon is the best thing to happen to Chhorii.

The film has you in the central part. How does it feel to be the hero of your film?

Honestly, I hadn’t imagined or processed it because I don’t think that way. When I watched the trailer, I was like, ‘Oh that’s me, me again. Oh my God, I am back.’ Earlier, I would count the number of times I get seen in a trailer (laughs). It’s surreal and small joys in life, and it’s possible only because times have changed. And more than the industry, the change has come by the audience as they want to see stories with women in central parts. Since the demand is there, one has to supply. Now, people are seeing that change in their own houses where the woman can be the breadwinner. Now, with sons and daughters being treated equally, we are seeing women lead steadfast lives and make their own choices. It doesn’t seem unreal and thus they accept the same in cinemas, too.

Years back, when you were struggling to get that commercial, did you imagine sitting and talking about a film one day, that revolves around you?

Yes, I always knew it and would keep telling everyone. When you look at a revolutionary, you always think where and how do they get their strength from. I think it’s just deep in the guts that makes you have the faith that it will happen. Even when the world says it will never. Hence, I always knew I will make my own space, have my own calling. I may not have known when, but did know I will always be this actor I desired to become.

Chhorii is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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