In this weekly column, Reel Retake, we compare the original film and its remake. In addition to highlighting similarities, differences, and measuring them on a success scale, we aim to explore the potential in the story that inspired the idea for a new version and the ways in which a remake could possibly provide a different viewing experience. Can do. And if so, analyze the movie.
The film coming in focus this week is Marathi social horror film Lapachapi and its Hindi remake Chhori, starring Nushrat Bharucha.
What is Lapchapi about?
Lapchapi begins with a heavily pregnant Neha (Pooja Sawant) who is forced to move out of town due to unforeseen circumstances. Fearing for his life, her indebted husband Tushar (Vikram Gaikwad) decides to run away to a village where they cannot meet for a few days. Their driver Bhaurao takes them to their place in the middle of the sugarcane field. Bhaurao’s wife Tulsabai (Usha Naik) lives in the old village house and takes upon herself the responsibility of taking care of Neha in the meantime.
Meanwhile, Tusshar returns to the city and tells Neha that he will arrange some money and bring it back with him. Neha is totally against being alone with a stranger but Tulsabai’s maternal instincts make her comfortable and Tusshar leaves for the city. Little does Neha know that she is not only a haven of supernatural spirits waiting to harm her and the unborn child, but also more dangerous than the living dead and their intentions hidden under the pretext of love and care. Now, Neha must fight a battle for the safety of her child or lose everything while battling both the dead and the living.
Where does the potential lie?
The strongest suit of Lapchhapi is the story. It is a horror film with a message. A socially relevant film that is not only filled with fear but also makes you anxious at every turn. At the center of matters is a pregnant woman, who is not only vulnerable because of her condition, but also helpless in the face of danger, both real and unknown. As Neha is giving birth to a child, the audience’s sympathy is with her from the very beginning. So every problem they face becomes their fear. Pooja’s acting is very invested and she plays the role well. Her acting shines as she encounters the supernatural, the lines between real and unreal haze and illusions overshadowing her vision.
Usha Naik is in a lead role as Tulsabai, whose true intentions become clear as the story progresses. She completely changes the look and feel of the film. His expressions will immerse you in the storytelling and keep you hooked till the very end. Hiding between the shadows and Chandni is the fearsome looking Tulsabai, who will go to any extent to protect her family.
Lapachhapi uses some familiar horror movie tropes but they only add to the atmosphere of terror. There is innovation in the fear of jumping and the location gives a whole new dimension to the horror that unfolds. Imagine getting lost in the maze of high sugarcane fields with danger looming over them! The film is as spooky as it can be and director Vishal Furia’s vision comes across in the right way. Storytelling is not compromised for the message, which is kept for the climax. The film also presents us with the clash of ideologies between the rural and the urban. It’s engaging and anxiety-inducing and a roundly spooky experience that is enhanced by the sound effects and cinematography.
Chhori fails to capture the essence of the original
While Lapachhapi doesn’t waste time taking us to a scary place, that is, the sugarcane fields, Chori wastes time in the set-up. We are introduced to Sakshi (Nushrat), who works in a children’s NGO, where dialogues become expository and information is given with a spoon. The pace is also slow and that is partly due to the performance of the actor. With the stakes high, Nushrat fails to capture the vulnerability of a pregnant woman in her expressions. This robs us of the main premise of the film. The interplay of illusion and reality played out perfectly in the original film is missing in the remake. Even the rawness of the Marathi film is missing here. This is despite the original director making a remake in Hindi. The mood and tension in Chori doesn’t really build up to the level where we are worrying about the life of the witness and the unborn child. The atmosphere is fine but the acting doesn’t create the desired effect.
Even Meeta’s performance as a child-hunting Bhano Devi is not as good as that of Usha in the original. While Usha manages to hide her intentions clearly, Meeta doesn’t quite capture the outline of the character and looks like a domineering woman trying to get her way anyhow. Usha’s act was jumbled between care and hunter and there was no indication of her next move. That kind of edge is missing in the Mita.
Vishal has not been able to recreate the same mood in his remake. Things move very slowly. The stakes never rise because the climax is not as impressive as they are supposed to. The shading and prosthetics for Ghost are mostly similar to the original and no innovations are introduced, despite the change in location.
Upon release, Lapchapi was a sleeper hit. It was praised for being fresh and distinctive in style. Pooja’s performance, which was the driver, was well received by the audience and Vishal’s direction and writing were also praised. In Chhori, the horror feels stale and the performances are not convincing enough to pull off the story. This should serve as an incentive for the girl to re-watch the original. It’s more raw and has an indie spirit that works wonders.