Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare Photograph:( Twitter )
In Alankrita Shrivastava's 'Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare' -the two leading ladies Dolly and Kitty are not rebellious but flawed personalities who deal with misogyny, sexism and discover sexual liberation.
Hindi cinema has truly come a long way. Gone are the days when women were projected as a beacon of positivity, an inspiration, the holier than thou. In the past few years, filmmakers have not just given women a voice, but also projected them as flawed, imperfect individuals who fumble and learn from their mistakes. In Alankrita Shrivastava's 'Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare' -the two leading ladies Dolly and Kitty are not brazen or rebellious but flawed personalities who deal with misogyny, sexism and discover sexual liberation.
Set in Greater Noida, the story explores the lives of two cousins Dolly and Kitty who may object to each other's life choices, feel competitive and argue- but ultimately are each other's biggest support system.
Dolly (Konkona Sen Sharma), the elder one has lived in denial about things in life. Separated from her mother at a young age, she tries to overachieve in order to prove to no one in particular how perfect her life is. Trapped in a sex-less marriage and a mundane job, she tries to fill the void by materialistic things- clothes, new AC, a flat. She also has to deal with her younger son's eagerness to be a girl. While she disapproves almost everything her sister Kitty or Kajal (Bhumi Pednekar) does, secretly she pines to be like her.
Kajal, on the other hand, has just come to the big city from Darbhanga, Bihar. Slightly naive, a bit vulnerable, she lands herself a job as a caller of a paid romance app that has men calling to fulfill their sexual desires. Initially apprehensive about the work she does, she eventually finds comfort with the money she earns and even befriends a caller called Pradeep (Vikrant Massey).
Srivastava's last outing on the big screen 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' will always be remembered for the amazing Bua Ji's character who gave a voice to thousands like her, burdened all their lives with responsibilities of the family, desperate to get affection, love from someone all their lives. Much like 'Lipstick...', 'Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare' explores the sexual ambition of the women- who discover love, lust and even orgasm. In one poignant scene, as Kitty explains how men only like phone-sex, she rues that there should be a similar app for women's desires. The film in fact is spruced with such little moments. The one where Dolly meets her estranged mother (scene stealer Neelima Azim) is precious, then the scene where Dolly's younger son Pappu admires himself dressed as a doll at the museum is so beautifully written.
It is so refreshing to see Konkona Sen Sharma in a film after a long time. The gifted actress is so natural as the slightly shrewd, competitive, and aspirational Dolly. Giving her able support, shining with her own performance is Pednekar, who in a short span of time has proved her mettle with each of her films. It really is a joy to watch the two powerful, confident actors complementing each other and delivering stellar performances.
The men in the film too are good. Amir Bashir as Dolly's husband, Vikrant Massey as Pradeep and Amol Parasher as Dolly's crush Omar are in supportive characters but do absolute justice to their roles.
The film though flaws at the scripting level. While it begins on a high, it slowly meanders and delves in too many topics thereby not digging deeper in any of them. Casual sexism at work, misogyny, gender stereotypes- all have been stuffed in a script which could focus on just the two women rediscovering their voice. The climax is one of the messiest ones in recent times where the director gives a hat tip to female rappers and their repressed voice and even puts up a giant installation of a vagina that has no context to the plot. The film fumbles majorly with its overcrowded issues.
Despite the flaws, 'Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare' makes for a good watch only because of its two main leads. The women are confident actors, deliver assured performances and manage to shine in a film with that cramps up too much in too little time. Maybe if they had made it into a web series, they would have been able to more justice to the story. Just a thought!
'Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare' is streaming on Netflix.