The biggest aim of a horror film is simple. It has to scare the audience. But this simple aim has been hardly fulfilled by Marathi and Hindi cinema. The former hasn’t been making horror films. Bollywood, on the other hand, regularly explores this genre but hardly provides a convincing film.
Debutant director Vishal Furia’s Lapachhapi fills the much needed void not only through the content but also the technical departments. Finally, we have an impressive horror film!
Lapachhapi is about a couple, Tushar (Vikram Gaikwad) and his pregnant wife Neha (Pooja Sawant). They escape to their driver’s native place after Tushar gets beaten up for not being able to repay his creditors. It’s a secluded village scattered around sugarcane fields.
The scary atmosphere is enough to ring an alarm bell inside Neha’s head. But Tushar assures her that there’s nothing to worry. The driver’s wife Tulsa’s (Usha Naik) warm hospitality diverts her mind but not for long. At the same time, we are also told the story of a pregnant woman who was forced to abort her unborn child.
Lapachhapi succeeds in taking the audience to a world where creepiness exists in a natural way. The location over here is an altogether different character that brings in a scary feeling throughout. The film has a smooth-flowing screenplay that divulges the tale in a gradual way.
The major reason for the chills is the contemporary manner of filming. It is impressive to see how cinematography (Chandan Kowli) is used to create jump-scare moments which are simply pleasurable! The same purpose is achieved by the editing too. The blackening of the screen abruptly and the smart use of sounds add to the scariness. Thankfully, the film steers clear of using loud noises and screams to create forceful horror.
And who would have thought of using a lullaby to induce horror? The song, sung by Nandini Borkar, is a sweet number with no music. So, how it creates a frightening feeling is something that can be experienced than explained. Its use should have been limited in the second half though.
There are points, however, that stop the film from achieving bigger heights. The main issue here is the lack of proper conviction in the back story, although the message driven out of it is important. On some occasions in the second half, the narrative becomes overindulgent. A conversation between the lead couple in the first half is a slight giveaway of the hidden issue. The final scene, although impressive, is too convenient.
The performances also complement the genre. This act might be the turning point in Pooja Sawant’s career. She got a chance to play a challenging lead character and she has made good use of it. But the effect wouldn’t have been this high without Usha Naik’s act. She shows sympathy and anger with remarkable ease.
Although Vikram Gaikwad isn’t present throughout, he is appealing. Dhanashree Khandar gives a fine act without uttering a word.
Overall: Lapachhapi fills the void of horror movies in Marathi cinema and also for the audience in Maharashtra that has relied on Bollywood for this genre of films.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director: Vishal Furia
Producers: Wild Elephants Motion Picture and Midas Touch Movies Production
Writers: Vishal Furia and Vishal Kapoor
Cast: Pooja Sawant, Usha Naik, Vikram Gaikwad, Dhanashree Khandar
Runtime: 111 minutes