A Horror-Comedy, ‘Stree’ Makes You Laugh for the Right Reasons
The film is a solid entertainer with a good script and great performances.
Stree Is a Horror-Comedy Which Makes You Laugh for Right Reasons
Video Producer: Abhishek Ranjan
Cameraperson: Abhay Sharma
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Most Indian horror flicks with their heavy reliance on the tropes of the genre are super funny – the only problem being they were never intended to be so.
Then there is ‘Stree’, a horror-comedy loosely based on a popular folk legend about a woman who died due to atrocities inflicted on her by men, only to return as a spirit to exact revenge on all males in the town.
In many small towns of India, including Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh where the film is set, it is common practice to write “O Stree Kal Ana” to keep the ghost at bay.
Vicky, played by Rajkummar Rao, is the only son of his tailor father, and scoffs at all the superstitions. He calls himself a “maadern ladka”.
His father still is super proud and refers to him as “bhagwan ka darzi roopi avatar.” Vicky, after all, has earned the sobriquet of “Chanderi ka Manish Malhotra” because of his impressive skills with the sewing machine.
He can grasp the measurements of his female clients in one sweeping gaze and can stitch up a lehenga from scratch in “ikattees minute” – an enviable feat!
As the town gets engulfed in eerie silence anticipating the next deadly attack by Stree, Vicky’s best buddies Bittu (Aparshakti Khurana) and Dana (Abhishek Banerjee) get busy trying to convince Vicky that the woman he considers his girlfriend – who mysteriously appears only during the 4 days of puja every year – could be the ‘Stree’ they all fear!
Adding texture to this entertaining film is the subversive writing by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK that brings out the humour. Men watch over their shoulders uneasily as they walk down a lonely dim-lit street. The women stepping out of their homes at night tell their husbands or sons to shut the door tightly behind them.
Stree has item songs, sexual innuendoes, jump scares and the likes but it never once gives into the easy temptation of being sexist or crass. This is director Amar Kaushik’s biggest win.
As the fear of the ‘Stree’ looms large, Sumit Arora’s cleverly written punches tosses gender stereotypes aside with glee. It is a hugely satisfying watch also because of the perfect comic timing that the actors share.
Sharddha Kapoor as a capricious character shrouded in secrecy is pitch perfect even though there isn’t much scope for her to bring out the laughs. That task is therefore left to Rajkummar Rao, who as the hopelessly smitten well-meaning Vicky, brings out an endearing vulnerability in his character.
Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee are astonishingly accomplished, delivering their lines in perfect comic symphony. Even Pankaj Tripathi, who is seen only in a couple of scenes, single-handedly lifts them up with his uniquely nonchalant style.
‘Stree’ is a solid entertainer with a good script and great performances. Go for it and you won’t regret.
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