Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare Review: Succeeds in its journey but takes a longer, tiresome route
Alankrita Shrivastava's Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (DKAWCS) wastes no time hitting it hard from the very first scene where an undertone of discomfort builds up because of a prominent someone's lewd conduct. The awkward tension is beautifully portrayed in contrast to a theme park intended for fun and entertainment of the entire family. A visibly upset Kajal aka Kitty (Bhumi Pednekar) tells her elder cousin sister Radha aka Dolly (Konkana Sen Sharma) that Dolly's husband Amit (Aamir Bashir) wants to have sex with her. Dolly laughs and confidently reprimands her in return by blaming it on her hormones, having her attracted towards her jijaji. In her mind, she knows Kitty is telling her the ugly truth, but for societal reasons, she can just not accept it. And despite being a virgin, Kitty can read the ugly touch.
The beauty of DKAWCS's first scene is the way it subtly tells us about women being blessed with a mind that senses it all and reads it perfect.
Dolly is a prototypical marginal housewife successfully managing her family and work. She has her own set of dreams most dear of which is owning a flat in a big residential society. And she has managed to booked one. While Amit struggles to keep up with the instalments, Dolly resorts to various misdeeds for paying them. Her cousin sister Kitty has recently arrived from Darbhanga, in Bihar, to their home in Greater Noida in pursuit of her life dreams. She shares a room with Dolly's two school-going boys but posts the traumatising incident with her brother-in-law, she decides to shift into a PG. Over there in the other room, Dolly and Amit are a usual lower-middle-class couple. However, their sex life is going through a dry patch.
One may call DKAWCS a parallel extension of Alankrita Shrivastava's Lipstick Under My Burkha with a slight tinge of character drafts from Made in Heaven. It will only be fair and wise to notice and collect certain underlying womanliness and similarities in downtrodden emotions of women from both her creations.
Kitty starts staying in a PG and joins a 'romance on phone' company as a tele-caller and slowly becomes a pro. The new city is cruel and demanding. She meets a mettlesome Shazia (Kubra Sait) who exposes her to carefree, metro city life. Shazia's boyfriend is DJ Gujjar (Karan Kundrra). While life seems moving smooth, she falls in love with one of her clients on call, Pradeep (Vikrant Massey).
Meanwhile, Dolly falls for a much younger Osman Ansari (Amol Parashar). She experiences an emotional spark, and soon realises, she has fallen in love with him. While all the lives are moving ahead by their conscious decisions, one of Dolly's kid has taken off on a journey of discovering his sexuality.
Alankrita Shrivastava has an unmatched hold when it comes to the portrayal of women emotions, needs, wants, gullibility, expressions and also those who are brutally suppressed for reasons attached with the social stigma. Her work hammers us with the suffocation, the society has leashed upon them for thousands of years. Noteworthy, here are the lead ladies not shown perfect but with issues in their own persona and relationship management.
There is no ambiguity to DKAWCS. Everything is clear. And in your face. However, there is just too much of it to the extent that it starts drifting from the core of the narrative. The trademark element of an Alankrita Shrivastava film keeps you glued despite its slowness is missed here. Much against the beautifully sharp beginning, it starts drifting within minutes. Some newer characters and subplots get added. While some scenes are beautiful and intense, especially ones featuring Dolly's kid, many seem lengthy; many could've been avoided. At multiple moments, they occur as a forced inclusion of the director's own message to a society heavily guided by the recent change in India's social fabric. It may not be completely wrong to call them (slightly) politically motivated with a subtle jibe on the government as well.
Konkana and Bhumi throw life into Dolly and Kitty respectively with utmost sincerity, and they succeed fantastically. These roles seem a cakewalk for a seasoned actor Konkana. An unpopular opinion would be to see Bhumi take a break from north-India based characters predominantly from UP or Bihar.
Aamir Bashir does well although there were multiple loose ends to his character. Same holds true for Vikrant Massey. He has a lovely screen presence though. Amol Parashar compliments Konkana well. Kubbra Sait and Karan Kundra were plain forgettable. Neelima Azeem has a welcome cameo, but it is equally forgettable. Kalp Shah, the child artist, is brilliant. He has pulled off a sensitive character with equal maturity as any senior actor.
On the technical front, it is only cinematography by John Jacob Payyapalli which stands out. None from the rest of department leave an impact and go unnoticed comfortably.
DKAWCS has some half-baked scenes and a super hurried, possibly flawed climax leaving one with certain displeasure over a series of coincidences and events. However, it succeeds in reaching the intended narrative journey. The route definitely could be shorter.