Future of horror genre is bright says 'Chhorii' director Vishal Furia

By Radhika Sharma
    New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) Director Vishal Furia says there are die-hard fans of horror, a genre often relegated to 'B' grade cinema, in India and he wants to give them a ride of a lifetime with his upcoming Hindi film "Chhorii".
    The filmmaker also hopes to challenge the status quo by not using the typical tropes, unless it's "a story requirement", he added.
    "The attempt is to raise the bar of the horror genre. I've seen audiences flock to watch horror films in India. Two weeks ago, I watched 'A Quiet Place 2' and the theatre was packed at 50 per cent capacity for a 10.30 pm show.
    "There is a huge audience in the country that needs to be catered to, they need the right horror film from India. All they want is a horror film, there are other films that will satisfy your urge to watch songs and other things. If 'Chhorii' is appreciated, the demand for such content will increase. The future is bright," Furia told PTI in an interview over Zoom.
    "Chhorii" is the remake of Furia's 2017 Marathi film "Lapachhapi", which revolves around a pregnant woman whose unborn child is targeted by evil spirits.
    Produced by Abundantia Entertainment, T-Series and Crypt TV, which is backed by the American horror specialist Blumhouse Productions, the Nushhratt Bharuccha-starrer will stream on Prime Video from Friday.
    Asked how they decided to remake "Lapachhapi" in Hindi, Vikram Malhotra, Founder & CEO - Abundantia Entertainment, said the original movie was the perfect fit for the company to bring out its first collaboration with Crypt TV, an American digital horror genre content creation company, and its co-founder Jack Davis.
    "'Chhorri' allows us to share a story -- rooted in Indian context and culture and told in a universal manner -- with the world through Prime Video," he said.
Not just that, "Chhorii" also marks the launch of Abundantia's horror and paranormal vertical, Psych.
    "Abundantia was getting more aggressive about serving more horror content to the Indian audience. In the same manner, we were stitching up a partnership to develop and create content with Jack and his team at Crypt TV," Malhotra said.
    Shikhaa Sharma, the head of creative and production for Abundantia, proposed to remake "Lapachhapi" and it all sort of blended together, he added.
    "We saw the film, reached out to Vishal and between Shikhaa, Jack and I, we felt that this was just the right film to not just launch our collaboration or Abundantia's new vertical Psych but also bring it to the larger Hindi audience. We couldn't have asked for a better start."
    When he made the original, Furia said "Lapachhapi" was "a pure horror genre film" that was the result of a lot of efforts and sacrifices.
    "It was made in the regional space, which is less competitive. The audience is more evolved. There's no box office pressure or getting a star on board as such," he said.
    When a film like this has to be recreated for pan India, the challenges and responsibility are more, the filmmaker observed.
    "... you really want to open up this genre. So you want to have good collaborators," Furia said, adding he and Malhotra were "in sync" with the long-term process of sowing the seed for the horror genre with "Chhorii".
    "It can't be just one film, it has to be multiple films to sow that seed. So I saw a partner in him and I knew I was in the right hands. Then Jack, who is a master of horror, came in. He has millions of happy viewers back home and across the globe. That really gave me confidence. Then T-Series and Prime Video came on board," the director said.
    Davis, whose Crypt TV announced their partnership with Abundantia in 2020, said he hopes "Chhorii" leads the way in a "global genre" like horror to represent a good story at international level.
    "This is a perfect film for a larger audience. When you look at the future of media being global platforms. Now content doesn't compete locally, it competes worldwide. 'Chhorri' has an ability to do so," he said.
    Davis said he hopes the film stands tall on the global stage next to the biggest blockbusters of the day in the US and elsewhere, especially as "Hindi and Indian films are some of the best in the world".
    "What I hope this film does and hopefully can do is stand on the global stage. That's the goal for us to create global franchises and hits. Vishal knows how to create emotion in character that I think can be appreciated not only here, but also worldwide."    
    "Chhorii" is a great horror piece as well as an amazing character story, he added.
    "I love Vishal as a storyteller. Getting the chance to work with him is truly special. And, Nushhratt did such a great job. When you put great talent and creatives in this genre together, sky's the limit," Davis said.
    Saurabh Goyal, Mita Vashisht, Rajesh Jais, Pallavi Ajay and Yaaneea Bharadwaj also round out the cast of the film. PTI RDS BK

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)