'Stree' movie review: Should you watch this horror comedy?
In spite of the timely laughs, 'Stree' seems mind-numbingly long.
Vicky (Rajkummar Rao) is a star ladies tailor in the three districts surrounding his town Chanderi and his father (Atul Srivastava) believes he is a gifted artist.
He falls in love with a mysterious girl, unnamed in the film, played by the one-toned Shraddha Kapoor. They meet every year when she visits Chanderi for the annual religious celebration and later disappears. His friends, played by Abhishek Banerjee and Aparshakti Khurana, think she is the witch, who is behind the abductions of men in their town, and coax him to stay away.
The first half of the film introduces us to the disappearances of the men in the town. Stree is the obedient spirit who stays away from homes that have the message 'O Stree, kal aana' (Oh lady, come tomorrow) scribbled on their walls. The hero's friends entertain us with their friendly jabs and antics.
We have the talented Pankaj Tripathi as the storyteller and owner of a bookstore, who shares the tale of a female spirit who preys on men, leaving behind only their clothes.
While the first half is still bearable with some comic relief (much of which we have seen in the trailer), the second half spills all over the place with absurd plots and new characters (Vijay Raaz), that even puts 'Race 3' to shame.
It is disappointing to see powerful performers like Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi be part of such a flawed screenplay. The last time the duo came together in 'Bareilly Ki Barfi', they proved that good script and performance is what makes even big-ticket films dwarf in the comparison.
Among other actors, Atul Srivastava is entertaining as the father and has a scene where he is engaging in awkward conversation with his son about youth, energy, and sex, and leaves the audience with a few laughs.
Talking much about Shraddha Kapoor's nameless character will be giving away spoilers, so it is best to leave it out.
But what happens to the men once they are abducted? Why don't they run away from the abandoned cave? How does Vicky's friend Dana (Abhishek Banerjee) escape? What is Shraddha up to in the film? These are the questions that aren't answered as the film ends rather abruptly - much to our relief.
The film is in the horror comedy genre like 'Go Goa Gone' (by the same producer) but sadly doesn't do justice to either genre -- horror or comedy. It is just a ridiculously long film that could have been short by 10-15 minutes.
With no coherent screenplay, skilled actors like Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi can't do much to salvage the film. Maybe they should choose better for their fans.
At just over two hours, 'Stree' is a tedious watch that makes you yearn for the exit for most of its screen time.
Directed by: Amar Kaushik
Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi