Horror is an unapologetically ridiculed genre in Hindi cinema. The recently released Marathi horror-thriller Lapachhapi (2017) is among the handful of films which triumphantly thwart that perception. Director Vishal Furia’s debut feature manages to evoke genuine scares and chills, without compromising on the narrative or giving in to stereotypes.
Lapachhapi trails a young married couple who’s forced by circumstances to spend a few days in a remote village, far away from home. The wife, eight months pregnant, is reluctant to seek shelter as she smells something fishy in and around the isolated house, set amidst the sugarcane fields. The next few days unravel the mystery surrounding the house; the uncanny strangeness that poses a threat to her unborn baby.
An engrossing plot from the get go, the film has everything going for itself. From the atmospherics to the sound design, the perfectly lit frames (courtesy cinematographer Chandan Kowli) to the brilliant cast, everything comes together to make this a successfully executed effort. Furia packs the film with enough ‘thrill’ moments that deliver. But these don’t appear forced or manipulative.
It’s also to the director’s credit who picks a location that adds to the eeriness. The unending labyrinth of sugarcane fields; the narrow paths within; an old, run-down two-room shelter with creaky doors and tiny windows; a well that silently stashes away disturbing secrets of the village — all of which have been silent parttakers to its dark past. A past that will soon come to haunt the eight-month pregnant Neha (Pooja Sawant). The location is another character in the film. Special mention here to the art director Satish Bidkar who brings alive the director’s vision.
Pooja Sawant leads the film along with Usha Naik, both of who were perfectly cast for their respective roles.
For all the challenges that came its way, Vishal Furia’s Lapachhapi is well worth the effort and easily among the best films you’ll see this year. Don’t miss it!
Lapachhapi world-premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival in June last year and saw its theatrical release in July 2017.