Horror is a very impactful genre, says writer and director of 'Chhorii', Vishal Furia
Vishal who shot to fame with his 2017 hit Marathi film - Lapachhapi has a peculiar taste for horror, crime and thriller genres. Chhorii is the official remake of the Marathi film
What attracts you towards horror genre?
Horror is a very impactful genre. When a person sees a horror film, the experience remains with the person forever. I think it is very easy to remember one’s top 5 horror films than films of any other genre. Also, it is something which is with us since our childhood, whether it be stories from our grandmother, or discussions with our cousins. It has always been a part of our culture and tradition; hence it comes naturally to us. That feeling of thrill and fear comes naturally to us, so I think this an amazing genre which can be used to tell some great stories. In India, it is a little abused genre, so it needs a little boost. When I started writing horror stories, it came naturally to me, and I extended it to convey a message and I am loving it.
Usually subject like this is not taken well in India by the audience. They are now used to the foreign horror films. What is needed to be focused on so that this genre can attract audience and gain the appreciation it needed?
No, I think the audience is ready. There is a vast segment of people who eagerly waits for a horror film to be released. So, I think the audience is very much here, it is us who haven’t been able to offer them any good horror films. When ‘Lapachhapi’ was released, a good amount of audience came to theatres to watch it, with a good percentage of female audience as a part of it. Horror Genre is considered primarily a male genre but the film has attracted a good amount of female audience as well. Even today, after the release of ‘Chhorii’, a good number of viewers are watching the and I have received appreciation messages from both male and female audience. People are loving the film, so I think people are here, we just must provide them with good horror content.
Chhorri is your first Hindi Feature Film, so what made you take this leap of faith where the subject is so tricky, while you could have gone with any other subject.
I am glad ‘Chhorii’ is my first Hindi film, as it is the remake of my Marathi film ‘Lapachhapi’. ‘Lapachhapi’ was an immensely successful horror film in Marathi. Also, it did a round of around 30 film festivals abroad. So, it gained both theatrical and critical acclaim. So, by design, what happened is that I got offered Chhorii as my first Hindi feature film. And I am glad that it is Chhorii, as it is the story which I most relate to, it’s a story which I have written and the subject is very close to me, so there couldn’t be a better film with which I would have started my Hindi film industry career.
Usually, horror films are best enjoyed in theatres, but Chhorii released on OTT platform and still it managed a good viewership. According to you, what clicked among the audience?
I think right now people are scared. I wouldn’t say theatre has been functional with full capacity, they are also allowing 50 per cent attendance and now with new covid variant we don’t know in which direction things are headed to. So, I think in this scenario people are really appreciating the fact that we released the film over OTT and not theatres. They can watch the film at their own time and place, comfortably, and I think that is the reason for the film’s amazing viewership and appreciation which it is receiving. Also, with Amazon Prime Video the film has been released in 240 countries which would not have been possible otherwise. And it feels amazing getting reactions from all around the world. So, I think it is rightly placed considering the situation around us.
Usually, what kind of challenges as a filmmaker you face while making a horror film?
Horror films are difficult to make. A person must be technically sound, and every department must fulfil their roles properly, be it production design, costume design, lighting, camera, performance, and everything else must fall in place correctly to create the mood and atmosphere for a horror film. It takes a lot of effort. For a film like Chhorii, actors had to perform physically and emotionally intense scenes repeatedly, so it becomes traumatizing as it is such an emotionally intense film. So, for actors like Nushrratt, Yaaneea and Mita Ji also to an extent, it becomes difficult as the actors went through so much trauma while playing their respective characters. So, I think it’s a very challenging genre and if even a single department fails, the film starts to look funny and it loses its seriousness of the topic.
How did you find working with Nushrratt Bharucha?
She was amazing to work with. She did her research about what it feels like to be pregnant, how a mother feels and her connection with the unborn baby. She used to carry the fake belly home too and wore it for 20-25 days to get the hang of it. To learn about the experience, she spoke to her mother and other women around. On the set, she only read the first half of the script to start with as she wanted the second half to come as a surprise to her because that’s how the character also feels like in the film. There were days when she was very traumatized because of the intensity of the scenes that she was filming. On two occasion in two days, she broke down on the set, but, on the next she would start with full energy to do her work. I have been blessed to have her and everybody appreciated the effort that she put in and her performance was appreciated as well. It was amazing to have her and now I can’t see the film with any other actor.
If given a chance what would be your next subject, you would like to work on other than a horror film?
See, the genre would depend on the subject. If a good script comes my way, be it in any genre, I wouldn’t mind attempting it, be it a biopic, comedy, adult-romance. But I will keep on doing horror as it is a genre that really needs a boost and the audience is also ready, they have appreciated 'Chhorii’ and I am pretty sure that they are expecting more from me, so that’s a genre that I will keep working in.
What is the development on Forensic, when it's due to release and is it an OTT release or theatrical?
Those things are yet to be decided. We are also waiting to see how the situation unfolds in the next few months. The film is in editing stage right now so dates and all are a little away. The announcement will come in due time.
Your upcoming projects?
There is film called ‘Bali’ in Marathi which is releasing on 9th of December on Amazon Prime Video. It is a horror film which was shot before the lockdown. It stars Kapil Joshi who usually plays romantic roles in Marathi film industry, but this time he is doing a horror with me, which is a completely different role for him which is in contrast with his previous chocolate boy characters. That film’s release date is due. So, I am excited to find out what would be the audience’ reaction to that film.