Stree movie review: Indian cinema has entered surprising yet deeply satisfying times where even a Pankaj Tripathi or Vijay Raaz is accorded a welcome to the big screen with loud cheer and claps. Amar Kaushik’s ‘Stree’ starring Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor in lead roles is yet another example of the same. An out and out entertainer, Stree could be a pathbreaking film for horror comedies in Bollywood. The genre is yet to be exploited by Indian filmmakers with Rohit Shetty’s ‘Golmaal Again’ (despite its good box-office performance) and Abhay Deol starrer ‘Nanu Ki Janu’ failing miserably.
Stree is set in Chanderi – a small town in Madhya Pradesh which follows, what filmmakers say – ‘a ridiculously true phenomenon’. The town believes that a bride’s wandering spirit roams around the streets of the town for four days during the annual pooja. The legend has it that this woman calls out young, unsuspecting men – thrice and if they turn back, she takes it as their acceptance to be with her. That man disappears from the town with just his clothes left behind.
At the same time, the villagers believe that if they write “O Stree kal aanaa (O Woman, come tomorrow)” on the walls of their houses with red ink, the spirit will read it and go back. So, unlike a male ghost, this spirit only takes away people with their consent.
Enter Vicky (Rajkummar Rao), a gifted tailor who doesn’t believe in this myth and thinks that he is made for a bigger purpose than stitching clothes. He has two friends – Jana (Abhishek Banerjee) and Bittu (Aparshakti Khurana). The three friends have a carefree attitude but their lives change when Vicky meets a mysterious young girl (Shraddha Kapoor) who Bittu believes is none other than Stree.
To deal with the problem, Vicky and his friends go to Rudra ji (funny as ever Pankaj Tripathi) who has undertaken a research on how to get rid of Stree (or, at least he claims so). What happens next, forms the rest of the film.
Watch Stree movie trailer here –
Rajkummar Rao as a typical small town boy with big dreams and even an even bigger heart is the life and soul of the movie. The entire film rests on his shoulders and he carries it with perfection. The character could have been very similar to some of his previous roles but Rajkummar’s versatility is sure to provide you with something refreshing to watch. Shraddha Kapoor blends into the role perfectly and creates a mystery around her character which will keep the viewers on the edge till the very end.
Aparshakti Khurrana as a suspicious friend delivers an outstanding performance and steals many scenes with even an actor of Rajkummar’s quality in the frame. Abhishek Banerjee as Vicky’s other friend adds to the freshness and delivers a controlled performance as the friend who suffers the most at the hands of the eponymous ghost. Atul Srivastava plays Vicky’s father and has his moments despite limited screen time.
However, it is Pankaj Tripathi with his witty humour and effortless acting who steals the show everytime he appears on the screen. His on-screen entry may never get its due but could arguably be placed as one of the best in Bollywood, ever. He also gives the narrative a booster-charge whenever he is on the screen. The viewers should also be ready for a hilarious Vijay Raaz cameo in the second half.
There is another character – Stree or the spirit which is better than most Bollywood ghosts and will send shivers down your spine.
Music and Cinematography
Ketan Sodha’s background score is near perfect and adds to the eerie quotient of the film. Sachin-Jigar’s music is quite entertaining – featuring peppy numbers ‘Darji’ and ‘Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe’ (played in the background). ‘Kamariya’ is entertaining while ‘Milegi Milegi’ — it is probably the best song of the film — is played during the end credits.
Amalendu Chaudhary’s cinematography is amazing and captures Chanderi beautifully. Prime Focus’ VFX is up to the mark and Hemanti Sarkar has done a good job with editing.
Amar Kaushik has done a commendable job in his debut film. The movie perfectly fits into the horror-comedy genre with quite a few spooky scenes. He perfectly builds the first half of the film building the excitement before taking the movie to its due end. Probably, the only trick he missed was the climax of Stree which will certainly leave a section of viewers confused.
Rating – 3.5/5 stars.