Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (Netflix)
Starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Aamir Bashir, Vikrant Massey, Karan Kumdra
Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava
Post-feminist cinema in India suffers from a post-coital fatigue. It goes around and around wearing the same heart on the sleeve, same save-woman-save-the-planet logo on the teeshirt, same obsession with caddish husbands and rebellious wives, sex-seeking selfish boyfriends, etc etc.
Alankrita Shrivastava’s third feature film has one of both, a caddish husband and a selfish boyfriend. There is a power-driven inner-driven intensity about Alankrita’s storytelling which sucks us into its characters’ famished world of inchoate desires.
Sexual fulfillment and the Big O are huge concerns in Alankrita’s cinema. In her last highly-acclaimed Lipstick Under The Burqa, Konkona Sen Sharma lay listless under her heaving husband. As Dolly, Konkona is still stuck in the same place. But with a lot more problems this time than Dolly can handle, like a hyper-intense cousin from Darbhanga Kajol, aka Kitty whose Jijajee (Amir Bashir) wants to have sex with her. Dolly laughs at her sister’s hormonal delusions about her husband. Dolly has bigger problems, to deal with, like a son who prefers dresses to men’s clothes and the female loo to the male. Dolly has also gone frigid on her husband.
“I don’t feel anything down there,” Dolly divulges to Kitty who is more than willing to lend an ear. Kitty’s big specialty is listening in. She works in a phone-sex company. Her aural encounters with sex-starved men would have been funny were it not so sad.
An inquisitive young gentleman calls in to ask Dolly the size of her breasts.
“They won’t fit into your hands,” she confidently reassures the hormonally challenged brat.
At times it seems Alankrita has taken on more on her plate than one would imagine she can handle. Miraculously the director balances out her two heroines’ imbalances, cleverly and smoothly and with bracing shots of humour and irony.
I did encounter some clunky writing towards the end when all hell breaks loose at a public rally for vaginal rights, if you please. The endgame is a bit of a hurried sendoff before both the cousins Dolly and Kitty find their orgasmic epicenters in life, heaving floors exploding lights and all.
Dolly Aur Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare is not a film without flaws. The quest for the female orgasm often makes the men in the film look like clumsy insensitive dickheads. While Aamir Bashir as Konkona’s husband still manages to bring a smudge of empathy to his character, Vikrant Massey makes Kitty’s love interest supremely uninteresting.
Rightfully the film belongs to Sen Sharma and Pednekar. Both fearless actors not afraid to strip their characters’ souls in front of the camera even at the risk of embarrassing themselves. The element of intrepidity courses through the veins of this vigorous and vital film about two sisters determined to find their mojo. Even if it means giving an all-new definition to the job of the delivery boy. Like the pizza boy who wants paanch sitare from Konkona’s Dolly for performance, this film too demands a high rating.