Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
Author: Alankrita Shrivastava
Solid: Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Vikrant Massey, Amol Parashar
DOP: John Jacob Payyapalli
Editor: Charu Shree Roy
Streaming On: Netflix
Author-director Alankrita Shrivastava is an observant chronicler of the internal lives of Indian girls. Since her debut movie Turning 30 in 2011, Alankrita has turned her gaze to a query too usually ignored by Hindi cinema – what do girls need? One in all Alankrita’s most interesting creations is Bua ji, in her second movie Lipstick Below My Burkha. Bua ji, a 55-year-old widow, performed with heartbreaking vulnerability by Ratna Pathak Shah, develops an uncontained ardour for her strapping swimming teacher. This isn’t a girl in search of a revolution. All she desires is to savor life and discover a semblance of happiness.
Dolly and Kitty search the identical. Dolly, the older one, is a mother-of-two who has made peace together with her sexless marriage and her mundane job. Her cousin Kitty, whose actual identify is Kaajal, has not too long ago arrived from Darbhanga district in Bihar. She’s wide-eyed and decided to shine within the huge metropolis, which on this case is Larger Noida. Each are bizarre, middle-class girls in search of the issues that the boys round them take without any consideration – company, sexual satisfaction, freedom. They are often silly, nasty and aggressive however finally, they assist one another to forge a path.
The most effective factor about Dolly and Kitty is that they’re a multitude. They’ll lie and steal. There may be infidelity, willful ignorance, denial, naivete. Each do actually dumb issues however as a result of they’re performed by two keenly clever actors – Konkona Sen Sharma and Bhumi Pednekar – they don’t come off as foolish or capricious. The opening sequence between the 2, set amidst the gaudy lights of an amusement park, is glowing – Kaajal tells Dolly that her husband is attempting to have intercourse together with her however Dolly brushes it off with a shrill giggle. That pitch tells you that she is aware of that it’s true however she will be able to’t carry herself to acknowledge it.
Nevertheless, for a lot of the subsequent hour, the actors are aside because the movie follows their parallel lives. With out their chemistry, the narrative takes successful. The drama sags and the script lurches from one hot-button challenge to a different – throughout the story of two girls discovering themselves, Alankrita additionally bungs in gender stereotyping, tradition wars, the commodification of romance, consumerism and the hollowness of city India. In a single scene, a personality says: Larger Noida is the brand new Shanghai. The motion performs out in opposition to rows of drab, half-constructed buildings, which trace at a greater life however don’t ship on the promise. Dolly tries to fill the void in her life with an air conditioner, garments, a flat nevertheless it solely will get larger. When Kitty finds herself alone on a street at night time, autos crammed with leering, predatory males, go by. Beneath the fashionable façade, the town is a jungle.
There are just too many factors being made. And because the political overwhelms the private, the movie loses its maintain. The writing veers from sharp to sloppy. There are a couple of fantastically staged moments – one during which Dolly meets her estranged mom and one other during which she begins to grasp her youthful son who likes to decorate up in lady’s garments and play with dolls. Alankrita additionally underlines the small slights that girls routinely endure – so in her workplace, Dolly serves tea to her male colleagues day by day and when she asks for a mortgage, her boss dismisses her with, ‘Par aap toh shauk ke liye kaam karti hain.’ However we even have paper-thin characters who exist merely to advance the plot – amongst them a beefy DJ whose brother is a bullying, spiritual zealot. The climatic motion, during which he performs a key position, is far-fetched and borderline foolish. However hold a watch out for Vikrant Massey, who’s as regular, bang-on as Kitty’s suitor Pradeep.
Kaajal turns into Kitty when she joins the Purple Rose Romance App, which could remind you of Dream Girl and Tumhari Sulu, each movies during which the leads bought a notion of companionship over the telephone. Dolly, Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare additionally takes a web page from the last word basic about girls breaking guidelines – Thelma and Louise. Like in that movie, a candy, younger man offers a girl the reward of an orgasm. Regardless of the great intentions although, the movie doesn’t ship as a result of it’s written in broad strokes. However it may be enjoyable for Dolly and Kitty to get their very own streaming sequence. I wish to know in the event that they ever discovered their chamakte sitare.