- Nikhil Bhagwat
STREE Review: Ghost Buster!
Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Panakj Tripathi & Aparshakti Khurrana & others
Director: Amar Kaushik
Nikhil’s Rating: **1/2
Run time: 2 Hours 8 Min (128 Minutes)
Hindi Films usually have a plot line with a love triangle which goes: Boy-meets-Girl, they fall in love-meet their parents and tie the nuptial knot. All’s well that ends well! This is a common thread in all Indian films irrespective of its genre. Why? It is true with every film because the institution of marriage is a very strong part of our Indian culture.
Don’t let the title “Stree” deceive you. Stree (a woman) is not your run-of-the-mill romantic drama. It is a “Horror Comedy”. Sounds intriguing, right? Well it is, mostly. The film incidentally as claimed by its makers is “based on a ridiculously true phenomenon” is a journey about finding this woman who is wrecking havoc at night in a village by hunting down men. The film follows three friends Vicky (Rajkumar Rao), Bittu (Aparshakti Khurana) and Janna (Abhishek Banerjee). Together they must hunt down the “spirited woman” causing havoc in Chanderi (A small town in Madhya Pradesh). Don’t worry, this is a spoiler- free review. As a result, I will not divulge any details of the movie.
Hollywood does have a plethora of films in the “Horror” genre. In fact, annually they do release a new film in October. This is due to the Halloween festivities. Some popular horror movies of the west are: The Conjuring, Annabelle Creation, Saw and the yet-to-be-released The NUN.
The interplay of Comedy & Horror is the USP of this movie. It is not the first time a film of this genre has been released. An adult comedy called Go Goa Gone starring Saif Ali Khan had released way back in 2013. I won’t be able to compare Stree & Go Goa Gone as I haven’t viewed it. It is a co-incidence that Go Goa Gone was directed by Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru. The duo have been credited in this film too, but as writers & producers.
As mentioned earlier, the trio of actors are in top form when it comes to comic timing & camaraderie. Where the problem lies is in the execution of story points. When one makes a point, the next few scenes go into its development and visual explanations. In other words, The WHY and HOW something occurs is left unexplained many a time. The background score intended to frighten the audience, instead is shrill and made me cover my ears many times over. Having said that, this is probably one of the most novel ideas that has come from India this year.
A new director always lends a new perspective to a genre already established elsewhere in the world. Debutante director Amar Kaushik lends this perspective with conviction. Due to its novelty, in blending the two genres, Stree keeps you entertained. The use of lighting is the highlight here. Most of the movie occurs at night, hence a lot of blues and blacks are included to create the eerie environment. Another common aspect is the utilisation of the POV shot used to evoke a sense of danger and spying.
The humour in this film is quite effective at some points. The trio do evoke genuine laughs. As the makers claim “Based on a Ridiculously True Phenomenon” Stree does have a few “ridiculous” moments that made me wonder “How could this happen?” Many incidents here don’t have a plausible explanation.
It could be termed as a fresh one-time “timepass” watch. If the audience isn’t too critical, one might enjoy it for the time it lasts.