Horror is a genre that Bollywood hardly gets right. And mixing horror and comedy would have seemed like a task, but writers Raj & DK and director Amar Kaushik get it just right. Raj & DK are the same people who penned and directed the films Shor In The City and Go Goa Gone, but their last two outings, Happy Ending and A Gentleman failed miserably. When you watch Stree, it seems like someone put sense back into these two to be able to write a script like Stree.
The movie is pretty much about what the trailer tells you it is about: this small town, Chanderi, is haunted by an evil spirit, named Stree, who comes to town during every Puja and hunts for men. Why she does this and what happens eventually is something that the film will tell you.
I am a person who can’t watch horror, however unscary it may be. But I went for Stree and I must admit that it’s good horror. If you are a horror fanatic, you might not get scared and bounce in your seat every few minutes, but there definitely is the thrill. Director Amar Kaushik plays well with the genre. What he also plays well with, and what is also scripted well is the comedy part of the film and the merger of both these genres. There wasn’t a moment in the film when I felt like it’s getting too much, or even too less. The second half does slow down, but the writers and director don’t loosen their grip over the narrative and that’s what keeps the film going.
Actors Aparshakti Khurrana and Abhishek Banerjee play Bittu and Jana, Vicky’s best friends, and bring in the comic very beautifully. Even when Jana is possessed by Stree, he doesn’t lose his element, in fact, he portrays it in a more polished fashion.
Shraddha Kapoor hasn’t been given much to do, but whatever she does, there isn’t much to her fault. Her character is supposed to look lost and confused, so she does it well. There also is the brilliant Pankaj Tripathi playing Rudra Bhaiya, who is like the sarvgyani of the town. He claims he knows it all about the history of Chanderi and also Stree, even though he is the first one to run when they go looking for her late at night. My only complaint is that we get to see very less of his brilliance. When you have an actor as fine as Tripathi, you need to use him to the T.
But the hero in the narrative and actuality is Rajkumar Rao. The talent of this man knows no limits. He moves from playing one character to the other with so much ease, it almost makes you wonder how is this even possible. It’s all very seamless for him. Here, he plays Vicky, who is supposed to save this town from the evil eye of Stree. Vicky is a tailor, or the Manish Malhotra of Chanderi – a man as much in love, as much as he is not supposed to be. Rao brings out this complex of his character with perfection. As a man who is in love with a woman, and equally haunted by one, this is one of Rao’s best performances.
As a whole, Stree is a tribute to the power of women. Though it is the men who are in action, but this film salutes women and their contribution to making each man a man.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend that you go watch Stree, if for nothing, just for Rao and his brilliance.
If I had to rate the film, is it a coincidence that Stree comes to haunt for four nights and that’s exactly the number of stars I want to give to this film?