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Stree  : Shivers & Laughs
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Friday, August 31, 2018
Comedy
Amar Kaushik
Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao

Small town India scores again. Director Amar Kaushik bringstogether three elements that make his debut film interesting. He captures the flavours of a small town and serves it with dollops of comic dialogues that have the audience in stitches. Even the spooky scenes, the kind you watch through your fingers, have a light-heartedness in them.

 

During the puja season every year, a female ghost haunts the town of Chanderi and lures away the men. It’s a popular ghost story told in many parts of India. So, for a change, it’s the men who have to watch out while the women can roam around freely at night. In fact, in its own small town way, Stree does bat for women in a very big way. But the message is couched with a story that’s told quite delightfully.   

 

Painted on the walls of every house are the words ‘O streekalaana’ which the town believes will ward off the ghost. Local know-it-all Rudrabhai dispenses wisdom on how to save yourself from the ghost and despite the prevailing eeriness,humourbalances the tension.

 

Vicky is a tailor who has magic in his fingers. Vicky’s tailoring skills are introduced with wit when his father and others watch him at work with admiration. Scenes like Vicky’s father explaining the birds and the bees to him and talking about curbing his youthful energy begin with a smile and end in laughter with a ‘swayamsevi’ dialogue.

 

Vicky measuring women with just his eyes is fresh and fun. It turnsslightly sensuous when he measures his mystery girlfriend without an inch tape while a soft, scary background score is a reminder of what could be lurking in the dark woods.

 

Apart from the setting, the creeps and the comic dialogues, the performances carry the show. Rajkummar Rao as Vicky is like a master-cutter creating a rare piece of couture. He stitches nuances into his dialogue with a fine sense of timing and a superbly mobile face, establishing his credentials once again as one of the best actors in the business today. Pankaj Tripathi as Rudra is also fast emerging as a consummate actor who keeps delivering with efficiency. Aparshakti Khurana as Vicky’s friend Bittuis hilarious. Shraddha Kapoor looks pretty and is comfortable in a role that has a touch of intrigue.

 

Personally, I found the first half moving at a terrific pace while the second half seemedunnecessarily prolonged. But the performances and the entertaining mix of comedy and creeps are handled with freshness. And the small town shenanigans with a lusty stag party thrown in, are a definite plus.

 

Verdict: For an enjoyable horror comedy, Stree gets a 3* rating.

 

Direction: 3.5/5
Story: 3.5/5

Screenplay: 3/5
Dialogues: 4/5

Music: 2.5/5

 

Reviewed by

Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author

 

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