Written and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ has it intentions in the right place, but somehow the writing tries to fit in too many narratives, thereby derailing the experience.
Streaming on Netflix, ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ is the story of two cousins, Radha or Dolly (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Kaajal or Kitty (Bhumi Pednekar), whose aspirations and desires have been curbed by patriarchal oppression and years of moral conditioning. Dolly is living a hapless marriage while Kitty wants to make a better life for herself in the big city, having run away from her home and cancelling on her marriage. In their respective pursuits, both women share a common aspiration to safeguard their agency and chase freedom.
If you find references to Shrivastava’s earlier film, ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, you aren’t entirely wrong. The filmmaker is one of the few voices of reason who wants to constantly raise the conversation about what women want through her films. The characters and the universe they are set in are identical. But unlike her ‘Lipstick’, the dialogues, which have been penned by the filmmaker herself, seem far too dramatized for effect. The screenplay too deviates frequently, forcing in far too many subplots than it can actually hold. There are fleeting references to Islamaphobia, moral policing by self-appointed guardians of the society, addressing your children’s inclinations and the commercialization of romance. It’s a risk too dicey that the film endangers its prospects. Technically, the film has been brilliantly shot by John Jacob Payyapalli with effective background score rendered by Mangesh Dhakde.
Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ is largely saved by the unflinching performances of its leading ladies. As the apparently frozen wife yearning for her husband’s attention and equality in society, Konkona as Dolly is a hoot. It’s such a pity that an industry still does not know what to do with a talent as unmatched as hers. As the fragile, naïve and emotionally foolish young girl, Bhumi paints a canvas of emotions as Kitty. Vikrant Massey and Amol Parashar make significant impressions as Pradeep, a male nurse and Kitty’s object of fancy and Osman, an MBA aspirant, who moonlights as a pizza delivery boy.
Even for a watchtime of merely two hours, the crowded narrative of ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ poses as the biggest threat to the film’s prospects. But as a fan of both the leading ladies, I went along with the ride. And boy, do they outshine everything else.