Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurrana, Abhishek Banerjee
Mard ko dard hoga! It does sound like it’s payback time and rightfully so, Stree is about women scaring the men with vengeance for the many years that they have felt used and abused. Heavy stuff? Well, actually not. Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK (the filmmakers who gave us movies like Go Goa Gone and A Gentleman) have written the script of the film and have ensured that the movie is a mad journey that ties superstition to reality in an odd yet convincing way.
The story is pitched in the village of Chanderi, in Madhya Pradesh – the heart of India. They begin by introducing Vicky (Rajkummar Rao) he is a smart talking tailor, who considers himself Chanderi’s Manish Malhotra. Despite what Vicky might want to believe, the only famous thing in the whole of Chanderi is Stree. Everyone is aware of the stories surrounding her. According to the folklore, during the Devi-Puja in the village, Stree comes to random homes and abducts men who answer her call. Afraid of being taken off, the men usually hide in their houses and write ‘Oh Stree Kal Aana!’ While that simple statement is enough for Stree to simply walk away, men in Chanderi don’t really breathe easy the four days that Stree hunts the village for her victims.
It is during the days of the puja that Vicky meets a girl (Shraddha Kapoor) the two hit it off from the word go, and meet regularly during the festivities. However, the love of his life is never seen in the village other than the days of the pooja. While his friends keep asking him more about his girl’s disappearing acts, one of Vicky’s friend disappears. Shortly afterwards, Janaa (Abhishek Banerjee) a close friend of Vicky’s, also disappears. The unusual circumstances in which the boys have disappeared alarms Vicky and his friend Bittu (Aparshakti Khurrana). Their theory that links Vicky’s new girlfriend to Stree starts taking root.
The two flee to the village scholar cum librarian, Rudra (Pankaj Tripathi) and madness ensues. This is not the first time Raj and DK have meshed two diverse genres together and made something fantastic, but this time around they had a lot of help. To begin with, Sumit Arora and his dialogues are certainly one of the strongest take-aways from the film. His work along with the class of actors that Amar Kaushik has gathered work wonders together. The punches come so effortlessly that the comedy doesn’t seem forced. Of course, Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi – the duo that has the best dialogues are both phenomenal actors. While they are equipped to make even bad look good, the two have it easy because they are backed by some awesome writers all around.
The cinematography has to get a special mention, while shooting in real locations might have helped a great deal, it is the way the cinematography has helped the pitch of the film that awards it a special mention. To begin with, the realism employed by Amalendu Chaudhary builds onto the relatability factor, making the situation and circumstances more real for the audience. And while, Sumit Arora’s dialogues makes you laugh, Ketan Sodha’s background score edges quietly towards eerie making the film a buffet of emotions in every scene. You are spooked while you are laughing, making Stree a wonderful experience.
Then why is Stree stuck with a 3 on 5 rating? Well, it is towards the end that the film gets a little too verbose and predictable. The fun is sapped out and the message too hypocritical, because we all did dance in our seats watching Nora Fatehi gyrate a few minutes before Stree takes a whole ‘respect women’ route. All said, Kaushik is bound to get more work post this, but the person who will win the most is Shraddha Kapoor. She does her part nicely, but a film like this alongside the big talents was the need of the hour for her.