Stutee Ghosh review of Konkona Sen and Bhumi Pednekar’s latest on Netflix.

Review: ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ Shines in Parts

The film is streaming on Netflix.

Movie Reviews
3 min read

Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars

Review: ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ Shines in Parts

Who are you when no one’s watching ? Is it our actions that define us or the urges that we hide from snooping noses and judgemental glares? Also, what is it that we choose to do when no one is watching? Is that our little window to live our fantasy or do we hustle to keep up the pretence even then? That’s what Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare prompts us to think about.

Everyone’s keeping up pretences here. Dolly (Konkona Sen Sharma) orders food from a restaurant and passes it off as her own for guests at home. Kitty (Bhumi Pednekar), her younger cousin, brags about the AC in her office and the continental food (read pasta) she gets at lunch. Dolly shows off the fact that her bedroom has an AC to her colleagues and then somehow hustles up cash to get one installed so that her claim doesn’t make her feel like a bluff. But that’s what everyone here is also doing. When Kitty plainly confides in Dolly about the unwelcome touch and attention she is having to deal with from jeeju (Amir Bashir) Dolly does what she does best. Laugh it off and keep up the pretence. But for how long ?

Are we all, irrespective of our gender, trying to keep up pretences and obediently pay the instalments of our conformity to help make up a smokescreen that doesn’t show the rest of the world how hollow and unhappy we really are?

But this make-belief ends up as much a lie as the highrise that Dolly and her husband invest in but one that will never come by.

Kajri becomes Kitty as she transitions from Darbhanga to Greater Noida. At crucial points, Alankrita Srivastava cuts through the hypocrisy of our society with the precision of a surgeon ‘s scalpel. “Greater Noida is a great city", says a taxi driver to a shaken Kitty sitting teary-eyed after her night of revelry suddenly turns ugly. "There are foreigners, hospitals, colleges, factories, 10,000 new jobs and even a metro” he boasts. But it’s still a place where young couples are harassed and a giant installation of a vagina is violently destroyed for “Bharati ki sabhyata ki Raksha”, while women are still catcalled on their way home at night.

A still from Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare.
A still from Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare.

Men are not the villains here. But the mindset that straight-jackets us into gender roles and bullies a young boy for liking dolls is. The screenplay is insightful and the lead actors - Konkona and Bhumi - admirably hold our attention.

At 120 minutes, the film is great in parts but it just never comes together as a composite whole. The rest of the cast suffer because of the sketchy writing. Like Aamir Bashir as the husband with a roving eye or Vikrant Massey as Kitty’s date from the dating app are dependable as usual but limited by the writing . Kubbra Sait is her effervescent presence and Amol Parasher as the earnest food delivery guy has our heart. But there is just so much that they can do.

A still from Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare.
A still from Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare.

For Dolly and Kitty, the real win isn’t a grand celebration but a quiet and resolute acceptance of their truth. For one of them it translates to standing her ground, for the other it means to take a leap of faith and move away. For us, towards the denouement, we feel slightly cheated as the characters are hurriedly gotten rid off as if no one knew what to do with them. Just like a bad zoom connection, some bits are simply pixilated grainy images that aren't as clear or coherent.

Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare works brilliantly in portions .

Our rating: 3 quints out of 5!

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