Friday, September 18, 2020 18:05 IST
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Amol Parashar, Aamir Bashir, Vikrant Massey
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
William Blake once said, "To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour." Well, even with the two hours of duration Alankrita Shrivastava's Sitare falls short of expectations and fails to grab a single grain of sand. A film that starts from two cousins who seek freedom from their mundane lives, went to a nowhere path that shatters the soul of feminism. A woman is a bliss, a rage, a fire that ignites her soul when she seeks freedom but here, women seek freedom but with a sexual desire motto.
The film starts with a factual scene where Kaajal aka Kitty joins her cousin sister Dolly (Konkona Sen Sharma) family on an outing and the whole family including her dressed up in 'Mughal-E-Azam' film's character style. During a photoshoot when Kaajal stands beside Dolly’s husband Amit (Aamir Bashir), he inappropriately touches her. Kaajal tells her cousin Dolly, with whom she lives, that her husband is handsy with her. Dolly laughs it off, telling Kaajal it’s probably because she’s attracted to him. Dolly isn’t ready to explode her family life yet she has rose-tinted glasses on too.
After that, Kitty moves out from Dolly's house when she gets a job at the Red Rose Romance call center where women have to talk to horny men through an app and sell them chocolates and plastic flowers. Kitty has no option but to start a new life. Initially, she didn’t like her job but when she starts getting five stars for her service, her work starts attracting her. On the other side, Dolly has her own ambitions but despite her personal problems she’d rather keep them buried, delayed work on her new apartment she is trying to purchase, her stalled sex life, and her young son Pappu who is dealing with a gender identity crisis.
Despite the new job, new life, loneliness hits her hard when she fails to cope up with the speed of a fast-paced city. While working for the romance app she falls for a client named Pradeep (Vikrant Massey). With whom she starts getting involved in a deep romance. Talking about Dolly then, in order to fulfill her sexual desire, she starts an affair with a delivery boy Osmaan (Amol Parashar) who gives her attention and showers immense love and care. But things take a twisted turn when it is revealed that Pradeep is cheating on Kitty and is a married man. Kitty discloses Dolly’s husband's reality to her and tells Dolly that he talks to her through the romance app. Well, ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ is all about Dolly-Kitty love and jealous relationship and how with a passage of time they both understand each other and go against the social shackles.
Alankrita Shrivastava who impressed the audience in the past with her speculator and thought-provoking films like 'Lipstick Under my Burkha' is back to showcase the complexity of women which is quite rare in Hindi cinema. Although Alankrita wants to convey some serious messages through this 2 hours cluttered storyline, but sadly it crashes at every plotline. As a writer also she has kept the story as straight and simple as possible and because of this, the righteousness of the film takes an ignominious spin. Rather than focusing on women empowerment, Alankrita tried to cornerstone on the women's sexual frustration.
As per cinematography concern then John Jacob Payyapalli's lightning job tremendously works when a dreamy red shades fall throughout Kitty & Pradeep conversation. All in all, John's work shade reflects on each and every scene and he is the one whose Sitare actually shines in the film.
Talking about the performances, Konkona Sen Sharma is an excellent actress and has successfully portrayed the fragmentary life of Dolly and perfectly fits into the bearer beliefs of a middle-class family. On the other side, Bhumi Pednekar performed in great fluidity but her accent and expressions remind us of her previous performances. Vikrant Massey did justice with his role but at one point of time, his role has nothing to do much rather than getting a slap from the main protagonist. Anmol Parashar looks too innocent and honest while portraying Osmaan and suits perfectly in the role.
Aamir Bashir as Amit extremely performed well, he proved once again that he can portray any kind of role. It is quite disappointing to see Kubbra Sait do nothing except making love with Karan Kundra's character. The rest of the cast equally devoted their contribution to speeding up the film storyline but unfortunately, the film is even slower than a turtle.
In the film, Kitty who nearly raped on an evening out, but somehow it is even more shocking and embarrassing to see her first romance call, where the client switches in a second from talking about his pet cat and making tea to addressing her as Saali and masturbating loudly. The film is not less than a dump yard of sexism and with a no clue dialogue delivery when Kitty recalls to Dolly that she belongs to a backward caste. Wish Alankrita has worked on the caste aspect. One more point Alankrita tried to present with her unacceptable narractive style, is Osmaan being Muslim does lead to something? But still, the writer decided to add this aspect to showcase a half-written narration and grab sympathy.
More about the Music department, the film music follows the rule of 'nothing to serve' policy. You can easily forget the songs and even at one point will think why this film barely has any songs. There is only one song 'Neat' that grabs the listener's attention. Well, what exactly Arjuna Harjai and Jasleen Royal have done with music only they can answer it.
All in all, Alankrita tried to present the film as women-centric and focused on the feminist theme but being feminism means to just have a sexual desire? Is it not about women's empowerment? It's sad to watch, Chamakte Sitare as Bujhte Sitare and some drastic scenes whether it is Kitty's calls to clients or Dolly's remarks at the film end when despite Osmann's death she clarified her husband that she wasn't sexual satisfy with him that is why she cheated. Like really, she wasn't in love with Osmaan and only went to his grave just to give him five stars. Overall, if you are a fan of Konkona's work or want to see Bhumi once again in the same repeated role and accent, or wish to watch a film, whose entire narration is focused on the sexual frustrations and desires of the central character then you should have to watch this film. But still, we wouldn't honor this film with five stars as the film theme fails to cover the aspects which the maker tries to present in the name of feminism.
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