Horror comedy is not an easy genre to attempt, especially with the Indian audience. It shouldn't be difficult to see why too. We like our horrors to scare the living daylights out of us and comedies to tickle us silly. Horror comedies usually leave us confused as to what to do. Horror comedies like Go Goa Gone and Nanu Ki Jaanu didn't impress the box office perhaps only because of this reason. However, Golmaal Again sure did attract the audience to the ticket windows but may be it was because it was more comedy than horror. Stree seems to be quite a novel concept and it is with much enthusiasm that we rush to catch the press show of the film. Here's what we think of it...
What's it about
As the fictional folklore goes, the town of Chanderi is cursed by a prostitute, who couldn't be with the love with her life because the villagers killed them. So every year, during the village's temple festival, she visits the village and abducts men, leaving behind only their clothes. This has been going on for years. Cut to the present day. Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) is an expert on the subject matter and advices men in the village on how to avoid Stree. And he has a lot of work to do. It is once again time for the village festival which means business for the local tailor. Vicky (Rajkummar Rao) is a self-proclaimed Manish Malhotra and the ladies love him for his tailoring skills. His father, too, thinks highly of his skill. But he, himself, doesn't want to be a tailor. However, when the girl with no name (Shraddha Kapoor) asks him to sew her a ghagra, he doesn't refuse. He is besotted by her, you see. But that is until his friend, Jana (Abhishek Banerjee) disappears and Bittu (Aparshakti Khurrana) points out to him that she might be Stree. But is she? Don't worry...we won't spoil the fun for you by revealing everything here.
Ironically, in a film titled Stree, it is the men who steal the show with their amazing performances. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Rajkummar Rao is superlative in his portrayal of a village boy, who thinks that with a pair of headphones and a 4G connection, he is 'modern.' But that doesn't stop him from falling head-over-heels in love with the first girl he meets. Whether he is shopping for her rather eccentric list or sewing a skirt for her in flat 31 minutes, Rajkummar is completely relatable. We have all seen such wannabe guys who hang on to every word of a girl, haven't we? Providing him apt support are Aparshakti and Pankaj, who are so in character that you have to remind yourself that they are actors and not the characters that they are playing. Shraddha Kapoor, too, manages to pull off her role of a girl with no name, faltering only at places.
Coming to the story of the film, the premise is very exciting. Since ages, men have complained that they don't know as to what a woman wants. This film continues the search. The build-up of the horror story is great too and is punctuated with enough jokes to keep us in splits. The film also, quite slyly, takes several tongue-in-cheek digs at rapists and eve-teasers. She is perhaps called Stree only because of this. The film's climax, too, perhaps tries to drive home the same point. All this while not being preachy at all.
The climax of the film seems rather insipid after the amazing build-up. You find yourself wondering as to what happened, for a long time. And the promotional song with the end credits just kills the vibe of the film. You want to walk out of the film making conjectures and drawing conclusions. Instead you find yourself watching the cast of the film dancing their heart out. Also, there are quite a few loopholes in the film when you think about it. Like, who was Shama?
What to do
Stree certainly deserves a watch for its funny content and the concept that will keep haunting you for long. By the end of it you might also figure out as to what is it that women actually want. Also, what's more delightful than watching good actors on screen!
3.5 out of 5
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