#Stree Film Review

#Stree Review #Shraddha Kapoor #Rajkummar Rao #bollywood #stree

The duo of Shraddha Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao sizzled the silver screen with their horror comedy, Stree.  Though horror movies are not new to Bollywood, it has become a rut of a genre with filmmaker’s dishing out cheap thrills exploiting the ghosts themselves in the regional, especially the South Indian films.

So, when Stree was touted as a horror comedy, it’s a bit refreshing through the Bollywood lens. With the main leads right out of the A-list actors, Stree is not at all an exploiting cheap horror. Rather it’s a proper horror comedy the likes of the multiplex audience expect. A class act indeed! Literally and figuratively.

The legend of Stree- The quaint town of Chanderi is haunted by a unique legend as in the real-life Madhya Pradesh town of Chanderi. The spirit of an angry woman stalks young men during a festive period (some say it is during the winter). During these four nights, the spirit simply referred to as the Stree, calls out to men when they’re alone in a mesmerising voice. If the men turn around, Stree whisks them away, leaving behind only their clothes.

In Stree,  Rajkummar Rao’s Vicky is a well-known tailor and a well-loved youngster. He comes across a mysterious but enchanting girl played by Shraddha Kapoor. He falls for her obviously. But whenever she says Vicky please, he feels all the love in the world.  There is a comedy scene regarding this in the movie with Rajkummar Rao and his friends. She disappears after the said four days. Her disappearing act gets his friends suspicious and they start believing that she could be the Stree haunting the city for long.

Stree does fairly well with the comedy. But even with several laugh-out-loud moments, the film feels a little bit lengthy. Towards the end, the movie drops the horror comedy treatment and becomes a little too serious as with a complete horror genre film.

When a film that pokes fun at horror film ideas and entertains the audience with its quips, suddenly bursts out into a comment on feminism, the audience finds it amusing. But it’s not a wrong thing to be socially relevant even with a means of entertainment.

The small-town setting and the digs the director took at horror film legends are hilarious. The funniest character in the film is Pankaj Tripathi’s Rudra, a bookshop owner and the quintessential Mr. know-it-all ( someone has to be well informed to save the day. No?), who guides Vicky and his friends on how to cope with Stree and her haunting act. Tripathi’s comic timing is extraordinary and one of the biggest highlights of the film. Rajkummar’s performance is, well do we need to say it loud again? He is fantastic. He handles the many shades of comedy, horror, and romance with great ease. There’s even a subtle reference to Shah Rukh Khan. Aparshakti Khurrana and Abhishek Banerjee as the friends offer good comedic punches too. Shraddha Kapoor’s character is a bit of an enigma. Even though the role is problematic, the actress does a fine job of maintaining an air of mystery. And she has the X-factor to keep such characters tick.

Amar Kaushik’s direction is quirky. He did a brilliant job as long as he stuck to the genre. But when things turn preachy, the proceedings went out of his hand. Nevertheless, he did a fine job with the setting and making a genre bender. The narration flows smoothly for the most part and the screenplay is similarly good. The way he created the small town atmosphere is exemplary and the scenes when Stree call out and the men wet their pants are handled with aplomb.

The music, especially the background score is extraordinarily good. The sounds themselves create an atmosphere of their own. It filled in the gaps in the narration. The songs are: of course for commercial entertainment and are decent. The cinematography by  Amalendu Chaudhary is first rate. The lighting schemes and Color palettes add a mystery element to the proceedings alongside the music.

Finally, all in all, Stree is a film what it promises to be barring the final half hour. It is a horror comedy which takes digs at other horror genre films and legends and has its intentional in the right areas. A very good popcorn entertainment this weekend, if you can bear with the preachy scenes.

Stars- 3.5/5

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