Director Alankrita Shrivastava attempts to strike a similar conversation as her last one but takes in too much time to make a conversation
Early on in the film, Kaajal (Bhumi Pednekar) tells her sister Dolly (Konkona Sensharma) that her husband is making advances on her. As hard hitting is the dialogue she is trying to have, the setup of the scene is symbolic, taking place in a horror chamber in a fun fair. Refreshing it is. Wish the same could be said about Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare in entirety. The film seems a lot like the director’s last venture Lipstick Under My Burkha, infact another part of the same franchise. Good thing or bad? Well, not sure.
Watch the trailer here:
Two sisters, a disillusioned wife in Delhi and her new-in-town cousin from Bihar, explore their own wishes and make choices for their freedom while treading on secretive paths.
Written by Shrivastava herself, the story is not at all new. The idea is simplistic. The concept is done to death, more in the recent times, across all forms of media. What this film could stand out in was its execution. Even that isn’t too appealing. The approach seems to be borrowed from her last film, that came as a breeze when it released as it entered terrain unexplored hitherto.
The film opens with flashy pink rides in an amusement park, following with some more shades of pink and then some more. You think of it as a pattern used to advantage for amusement park highlight. But no. The lead character’s entire house is a godown on pink where you struggle to find any other colour. You start wondering very early in the film if such extravagant and deliberate use of pink was necessary. The furniture, curtains, wall decor, costumes and even the auto rickshaw are pink. In some scenes, it does suit right for bringing that feminity out. But here, the usage of colour loses its importance.
Seemingly happy marriages, career choices considered taboo, sustaining in limited means, cheating in relationships- have all been touched upon with care.
Gender stereotype has been touched upon with sensitivity where one of Dolly’s son likes dolls or enjoys dressing up as a little girl. The parallel track is present throughout and the closure is achieved in the end. Good thing, because all this while, even this seems of a forced inclusion. There are dialogues that give strength to feminism, but they are too few.
The first half seems to move without a direction and after watching the film, you wonder if the film could be reduced by a good 30mins or so. The second half gets more concrete in terms of content where there is actually something happening related to the topic.
One problematic thing is that there is a narrative that sex is always the talking point when women are talked about. Several points of discussions have tried to prove otherwise, which is a welcome notion. But even here in the film, two lead characters and their indulgence in sex has been glorified (using cross cutting as a way of narration) to give a point that sex is above everything when it comes to making choices.
Even if the second half does talk about liberating women by way of their choices, the tropes it uses are the most conventional ones and the makers don’t attempt to change the mainstream narrative.
Bhumi Pednekar and Konkona Sensharma, both shine in their respective roles, putting their best foot forward. Konkona is brilliant in the morning role of a middle class housewife, frustrated with a lot of things. The way she shows off to guests as a small party is mind blowing. Bhumi too maintains the decorum of her character and plays Kaajal and Kitty with great conviction. She brings in believability.
Aamir Bashir is fantastic. He makes his act look as if he is not even acting. He is so effortless. He is just extraordinary. Vikrant Massey too is amazing, doing so much with his eyes. His portrayal also seems very real and you feel he is a man next door. These two actors have made the drama worth cherishing, of course apart from the leading ladies.
Amol Parashar has his defining moments and he does everything nicely. He suits the role, the best quality about him. He makes his character innocent and vulnerable. Karan Kundra has a small appearance and he is okay. Kubra Sait is clearly underutilized. She does fine though.
Neelima Azim makes her presence felt in one scene appearance and tells what a terrific actress she is.
Music is just okay, nothing great. Lyrics however are very good, binding the film. The background score is too chirpy at times and doesn’t convey the actual meaning and emotions of the scenes.
Cinematography by is good, for the shots and angles part. The story is simple and thus the camera also has tried to maintain that simplicity. Production design by must be questioned to a great deal for the extra usage of pink. Otherwise the sets are real.
Editing by could be better and sharper. There are scenes that could simply be chopped oft as they don’t contribute in the larger scheme of things.
The film could be so much more. There’s lot to adore here. But also to despise in equal measures. Feminism should come across in the right manner, and you do expect substance from someone like Alankrita Shrivastava. Sadly, she doesn’t deliver here.