Direction: Amar Kaushik
Production Company: Maddock Films
Screenplay: Raj Nidimoru, Krishna D.K. Dialogues: Sumit Arora
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee, Nora Fatehi
Cinematography: Amalendu Chaudhry
Editing: Hemanti Sarkar
Music: Ketan Sodha
Hindi / Horror, Comedy / 128 Mins / India / 2018
Here is a genuinely funny film. The wise cracks are novel, treatment different and the genre ‘horror comedy’ (as its maker likes to define it) definitely a new one. The humour is not forced and just about everything works for Amar Kaushik’s labour of love, Stree. Based on the urban legend of Nale Ba in Karnataka – about a witch who knocks on doors at midnight and kidnaps the man of the house, the film is a great blend of spookiness served with witty one liners, haunted havelis and midnight sojourns.
As the sleepy little town of Chanderi comes alive during four days of festivities, gossip about Stree – a witch who stalks and kidnaps men by charming them on these nights only, starts doing the rounds. But she is a literate witch who will not knock on doors of homes whose walls say, ‘O Stree Kal Aana’. Will our hero and his friends escape her wrath? Only the climax will tell.
Stree has Rao, in another very memorable performance essaying the gullible and lovable Vicky. He falls for a young, sombre girl who insists on meeting him alone (Shraddha Kapoor in a quiet but convincing role) and taking him to strange and lonely places at night, while his slightly smarter buddies fret and worry about his safety, given that their heads are swirling with ideas of Stree.
Rajkummar Rao’s greediness as an actor ready to explore the unconventional is paying off in each film that he does and Stree is no different. As someone who falls in love with and is totally smitten by a girl he barely knows anything about – not even her name, he endears himself to the audiences. His friends (Aparshakti Khurana as Bittu and Abhishek Banerjee as Dana) are great in their supporting roles and Pankaj Tripathi as Rudra – who claims to know all about Stree and how to keep her at bay is the general go-to guy in town.
Kaushik ventures where others in the past have failed and its to his credit that his horror comedy does not fall into the usual traps laid before this by the Ramsay Brothers - whose horror films were also comedies but by default not design!! Stree is a great film with its jumpy moments, silences and different kind of music making it a definite watch. Chaudhry’s cinematography ably buttressed by Hemanti Sarkar’s editing is your outing for the week.