Stree_ A perfect mixture of Horror and Comedy
For the 90s kids the Hindi horror movie was synonymous to the Ramsay brothers spooky tales with an abandoned “haveli”, a ‘bhootni’ singing a melancholy tune, bats flying out and a very hideous looking Ghost. In most cases the final result was a hilarious one, though the writer and director never intended to tickle your funny bones.
Year 2018, Director Amar Kaushik decided to actually mix both the genres of comedy and horror and present us what was both insanely funny yet scary in parts. With a subtle garnishing of feminist message. The story is based on a ‘ridiculous’ phenomenon which occurs during the four nights of religious festival in a small town of Chanderi. The men of the town experiences the plight of an Indian woman as the tables are turned and the men are given lecture by the mother and wives, on not venturing out in the dark or not talking to stalkers or strangers or keeping the door locked till they come back to avoid getting abducted by a mysterious female spirit. The only sign that gets left behind are the clothes of the missing men...Does the familiarity ring a bell??
The plot revolves around the young man Vicky played by the versatile Rajkumar Rao who thinks of himself as “Manish Malhotra of Chanderi”, and whose proud father never misses a chance to boast about him as “Iswar ka darji rupi avtaar”. In short Vicky is a gifted tailor, who can stitch a lehenga in 30 minutes, a self proclaimed ‘modern guy' who ridicules the blind superstition of the townsmen painting on their wall ‘O Stree Kal Aana” to save themselves from the evil spirit. Rajkumar Rao in and as Vicky lights up the screen everytime he comes and the viewers can never stop applauding his stellar performance.
Things go haywire when Vicky falls in love with a mysterious unknown girl that others suspect to be the spirit and in the meantime his best friend Chana is abducted by the witch. The roller coaster ride punched with impeccable, timely dialogues and the superb acting by all the other key actors like Aparshakti Khurana, Avishek Banerjee and especially Pankaj Tripathi, rides the film high. The latter with brilliant dialogue throwing with a deadpan kind of look, sometimes even surpasses the brilliance of Rajkumar Rao.
Take away of the movie is a beautiful message, so subtly placed inside the story under the wrap of witty dialogues that unlike many recent feminist kind movie it never becomes preachy yet it still touches the heart. I am still laughing heartily at the concept of “Naya bharat ki Chudail” who unlike men understands the importance of consent. The sly digs at various contemporary issues like Aadhar linkage or being a ‘bhakt’ to giving a whole new meaning to ‘swamsevy’, the comedy range of this horror tale is far and wide. The horror part is just according to the taste, it never breaches the limit of absurdity yet gives a chill. The background score is great and a win-win for the unique narrative.
However the brilliant movie is not completely flawless. Shraddha Kapoor as the mysterious girl could have been better, where as in certain scenes you do question the logic as to why the guys growing up in the town are unaware of this impending danger and its legend. The music was average. But, as a viewer you will never feel bored. A complete entertainer, the movie ended at a dubious climax which has led to very high speculation of a sequel to this not so high budget, already hit movie. My recommendation would be a must watch. So grab your popcorn and book a visit to the town of Chanderi with your ‘Stree’.
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