Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Vikrant Massey
After battling the world for Lipstick Under My Burkha, Alankrita Shrivastava got a relatively easier release for Dolly Kitty Aur Chamakte Sitare. After a big debut at the Busan International Film Festival last year, the film was to arrive in Indian movie theatres this year. But a pandemic later, Dolly and Kitty’s stars have descended upon our Netflix accounts. Good for us because of all things, Dolly Kitty Aur Chamakte Sitare is not worth catching the coronavirus for.
Watch the trailer for Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitaare:
Cluttered and busy, Dolly Kitty bites more than it can chew, hold in its hands and even stuff down its pants. Multiple ideas, conflicts, themes are picked up and discarded at various points throughout the film. There is more conflict than what the film can deal with at times, giving us something of a hot mess.
Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare is about two cousins and their lives in the glorious Greater Noida. Konkona Sen Sharma plays the elder sister Dolly, a mom of two, trapped in a sexless marriage. Bhumi Pednekar plays her cousin Kitty, a broke young girl who takes up a job at a hotline to pay for her bed at an overcrowded women’s hostel. While Dolly is trying to rekindle the passion, Kitty is searching for the right guy to ‘hand her rose’. Dolly finds her salvation in a sweet and ‘bhondu’ delivery boy, played by Amol Parashar, while Kitty meets her match in a hospice worker, played by Vikrant Massey, who dials her up one night in hope for a quick fix but ends up scoring himself a girlfriend.
Dolly’s affair makes her realise that she is not the ‘frigid’ as her husband has gaslighted her into believing. Kitty, however, toughens up for the real, cruel world after losing her virginity to the wrong guy. She realises that be it her brother-in-law or the creepy builders she met at a night-out to even the boy she gave her heart to, there are opportunists everywhere. In order to get these points across, the plot takes multiple unnecessary detours, leaps over and forgets themes that were introduced 15 minutes ago and arrives at a conclusion so abruptly that it gives you vertigo. Dolly’s young son, for instance, is grappling with gender conformation, trying to fit in as a boy when all he wants to do is play with dolls and wear pretty frocks. The child’s behaviour shocks Dolly and she even gives him a long and hard thrashing for using a girls’ toilet but as soon as she resolves her sex issues, she also magically gains a ‘tolerance’ for her child’s gender identity.
Alankrita decides to pick up Greater Noida’s real estate scams but drops it halfway through. There is a rowdy mob of Hindu boys, picking up lovers off streets on Valentine’s Day and harassing Muslim delivery boys. Their purpose in the story, other than being a convenient device to push the story forward, is never fully explored. The religious intolerance goes unaddressed, and the futility of the entire exercise reaches its crescendo at the climax. The rowdy boys bust up a ‘feminist art installation’ of a vagina, fire up some guns and kill multiple characters in the story just so the remaining ones’ stories can be tied up.
The film doesn’t do justice to Bhumi and Konkona’s talents. The defining moments aren’t cooked well enough. The first time Dolly meets the delivery boy, there is no chemistry, and the entire interaction lasts no longer than two minutes. There is nothing intimate about this moment and yet when the boy leaves, Dolly longingly looks at her phone, smiling whether or not to give him five stars.
Thankfully, Bhumi and Vikrant get a little more room to build their chemistry. Their romance kicks off on the hotline and despite the dull dialogues, they make the best of their screentime together. But even then, for a film so largely about sex, to have all both female characters remain fully dressed even during sex scenes seems way too prudish to ignore.
Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare is a confusing thing to behold. Despite picking relevant themes about gender issues, everyday misogyny, intolerance and moral policing, it fails to do justice to any of them. These flicker, but for a moment.