Horror-comedy is a genre that's left untouched for so many years and the last one that the audience remembers is Priyadarshani's 2007 blockbuster 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa', the first 100 cr film of this genre. This Amar Kaushik directorial starring Shraddha Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao in the lead stands true to its genre, leaving the audiences with fine chills and thrills as well as some really funny moments.
And yes it turns out to be an entertaining and enthralling for the audiences who are here to enjoy a gripping fare.
The plot is compelling in itself and revolves around a small town from Madhya Pradesh named Chanderi, where every man lives in fear of an evil spirit "Stree" that visits for 4 days during prayer time. Actually based on the urban legend of "Nale Ba" that went viral in Karnataka in the 1990s, the film leaves an impact when it begins with an unpleasant warning that states based on a ridiculous phenomenon. Now, that's like some start to entact the audiences right away. The film begins with the introduction of Rajkummar Rao as Vicky an artist tailor with his rural accent spot on and a couple of monologues which makes him closer to the character. He is accompanied by his two close friends Bittu aka Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee as Jana.
It is a suspicious character of Shraddha Kapoor who plays a pretty looking stranger entering in the life of Vicky and leaving an element of suspense whether is she the real Stree? Shraddha Kapoor doing black magic tricks is satisfactory and agreeable. Not to give away any spoilers away Shraddha's play this fresh character with a drift and some sliced moments of romance with Rao was an awe to the eye as well. Not turning out to be horrendous or eerie 'Stree' manages to tickle our funny bones and it is the presence of Pankaj Tripathi and his amusing one-liners that leave us with laughter. Tripathi plays Rudra who claims out to be a research expert and has hunted every pinch of details from his 'Pustakh Bhandar' he is the guy who instructs the people of Chanderi about the nature and actions of Stree, who takes the body away and leaves just the clothes which is her patter of abduction. Vijay Raaz has an interesting cameo to play as he enlightens us with the purpose of the haunting spirit. Every character from the film serves entertainment with quirks.
The first half is equally intriguing like the second half but the encounter with the evil spirit is a bit thrilling and no doubt there are laughs embedded to it as well. The climax of the film ends on a positive note with a thought-provoking message. Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee as Vicky's small-town friends have the screen presence most of the time and yes they have delivered a fine performance indeed.
The narrative is a blend of quirkiness with scariness and the quotient are equally manifested by director Amar Kaushik.
The songs of the film add a level of engagement to the film's narrative beginning with the sizzling hot Norah Fatehi number 'Kamariya' and we are thoroughly hooked to this peppy energetic number. Shraddha and Rao's chemistry from 'Nazar Na Lag Jaaye' was cherishing and graceful. The best tailor from the town takes measuring on his own and Shraddha anticipates leaving us with a thin chemistry to catch up. The peppiest number 'Milegi Milegi' appears at the end of the film's credits scene. Overall 'Stree' songs score plus points in terms of raising the entertainment meter.
Cinematically 'Stree' is well shot and some picturesque captured sequences of this small town and these narrow lanes are presented in a brisk. Director of photography Amalendu Chaudhary has managed to lay finest of shots in the darkest of the night and the spine-chilling scenes are well edited by Hemanti Sarkar. Background score by Ketan Sodha is overdone at some places but it serves the purpose of the film to scare us. Costume design by Sheetal Sharma brings authenticity to the film and the production design team has managed to lay down a proper place for the film.
Overall, Stree serves justice to the genre that's not much explored in Bollywood. Go out and watch it, get entertained and don't you worry as 'Mard ko dard nahi hoga'.