In the latest Horror/Comedy Movie Stree, the men of the town, Chanderi, became so scared of an angry woman ghost, known as Stree (who hunts men during the night) that they stop going out of their houses after the nightfall.
So much scared they become that they let women do the outside chores. “Come soon,” they wimp from behind the doors, as they see off women of the houses, a palpable fear in their voice. And by doing this, they assume the role which we are so used to associating with women. A dependent, scared, and weak being who can feel safe only within the confines of the four walls of their houses.
As a man, no other movie has driven this point of feminism in me, like ‘Stree’ did.
“How would you (a man) feel if you live in a society where you feel unsafe, instead of women? How would you feel if you can’t go outside without the accompanying fear of what if?”
We (men) can appreciate these women woes at an intellectual level. But to really understand it, to really feel it in the bones, we need an analogy which can relate to. Which can make us ‘feel’ how to live in a society where men have to live in such restrictions. Which we can ‘experience,’ the way a woman ‘experiences.’
And the movie “Stree” does exactly that.
It provides this analogy in terms of this angry bitch of a woman ghost who not only kills men but humiliates them, robbing them of their dignity before it kills them. This woman ghost, Stree, has ‘kill only men’ policy. (She was deprived by the city men of her love, now she wants a revenge) So while women can walk freely in the night, it is the men who have their heart beating in fear when the nights dawns on this town.
It would have been normal (in a ghost movie) if Stree would have just killed them. But she does more.
Before killing men, Stree strips them naked, leaving behind their clothes on the road for everyone to see. On seeing these discarded clothes (including unmentionables) the town people can only assume worst for its victim. What can a love-hungry woman ghost do with a naked man! It’s a double tango.
But all of this symbolism is garbed in the peels of laughter so that not once you feel lectured on this heavy topic feminism. Everything gels very well in this movie which starts with the disclaimer “”Based on a ridiculously true phenomenon.”
Be it the innocent town boyish charm of Rajkumar Rao. Or the deadpan expressions of Pankaj Tripathi. Making it a laugh riot that ensures you spend the two hours on the edge of your seat, laughing and getting scared, while subtlety driving the underlying message.
One of the high points of the movie was when the main characters discuss their strategy on how to beat the ghost. “The ghost being literate,” one of them says as she doesn’t enter the house marked with the chant – “O Stree, come tomorrow.” They use this point to lure in the Ghost into a trap.
Also, the ghost repelling concoction made up of ‘white hair of a cat,’ ‘lizards’ tail’ among other things is a very well aimed satire to traditional Horror Movies. Moreover, there are many moments which really make you jump in your seat! Now how many real horror movies are able to do that!
Watch “Stree” for successfully delivering on the promise of its dual genre of horror/comedy. Brilliant editing that ensured you get the right thrill. A star-cast that made this movie a fun watch. And brilliant direction by Amar Kaushik (its his debut as a director) who kept a tight pace throughout this movie, without going over the top.