Cast:¬†Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi
Making a film that could make people laugh throughout is no easy task. Doing it through a setup and plot which honestly most people in today‚Äôs time would not relate to, is even tougher. Still, Amar Kaushik‚Äôs directorial debut Stree is incredibly funny. But the good part doesn’t end here. Stree is extremely self-aware of how ridiculous and illogical it gets in various moments. <!–
–> Vicky (Rajkummar Rao) is Chanderi‚Äôs Manish Malhotra, who can stitch an entire lehenga in just 31 minutes. He doesn‚Äôt need a tape measure to take women‚Äôs body measurements. He just needs to see them once for accurate fit when making their clothing pattern. His father (Atul Srivastava) believes Vicky is god-gifted. Soon young, talented Vicky gets distracted from work as he falls head over heels for a mysterious girl (Shraddha Kapoor), who appears only during the four-day puja in the village, and later disappears. Vicky‚Äôs love story was picking up the pace but suddenly a man gets abducted in his town. Elsewhere, Rudra (Pankaj Tripathi) narrates Vicky‚Äôs friends Bittu and Dana (Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee) a tale of a spirit named Stree who has been there for several years. She visits the town every year for four days, pretty much what Shraddha‚Äôs character tells Vicky when she meets him the first time. All of this just adds to the intensified atmosphere of the film, which unfortunately, only lasts for the first half of the movie.
Stree is one of those films that has something for everyone, except horror fans: it‚Äôs a comic movie, a revenge drama, and even strangely romantic. It definitely raises expectations in a couple of scenes and combines the right mix of tension (still, no horror) with perfectly timed laughs, but all become repetitive and meandering after a point. The scenes are way too stretched in the second half as the film gets relentlessly silly. For instance, Vicky and his gang joke about the fact that Stree is an obedient and understanding spirit that stays away from men whose homes have the words “O Stree, kal aana” (Oh lady, come tomorrow) written outside their walls. At the same time, they call her a fool because she keeps coming back, and disappears soon after reading the same message (Oh lady, come tomorrow) over and over again. In another scene, when Vicky and Stree‚Äôs spirit comes face to face, he literally shuts her up, saying, ‚ÄúEk minute chup yaar, ye kya bhain bhain laga rakhi hai.‚ÄĚ
However, for a first time filmmaker, Amar has done a fairly decent job. In fact, it‚Äôs his smart direction that saves Stree from falling flat. Able to use a limited area and a handful of characters‚ÄĒto maximum effect, Amar has delivered a fairly watchable movie.
If you are scared of watching regular Hindi horror shows, then Raj & DK‚Äôs screenplay might actually stand a chance to scare you. The rest of the movie-going population will find it a straight-up comedy. But yes, let‚Äôs give credit where it‚Äôs due. Every single cast member has been given enough space in the story to explore their character. And, all of them are naturally, unashamedly funny. Sumit Arora gives us the witty piece of dialogue when Pankaj Tripathi‚Äôs Rudra says, ‚ÄúStree hai, purush nahi, zabardasti nahi uthati!‚ÄĚ
Rajkummar is too good at physical comedy and acting like a simpleton. His character manages to succeed in evoking a chuckle every time he comes on screen. As Vicky, Rajkummar is effortlessly insouciant, funny and intensely romantic. There is also plenty of comic relief from Pankaj Tripathi‚Äôs Rudra, who moves at such an unstoppable pace that you won‚Äôt be able to control your reaction. Aparshakti and Abhishek, too, play a great support and do grab your attention with their comic timing. Shraddha holds same expression throughout, but it‚Äôs also because she is not allowed to reveal who she is.
Stree is a movie anyone can enjoy, but only if they can compromise on the horror part.