First publised on 2020-09-24 08:07:07
In Dolly Kitty Aur Who Chamakte Sitare, Alankrita Srivastava tries to say many things, and all the right things, about female independence and desire. But she is let down by a poor script and a narrative which meanders and flags. Hence we have a married woman who left home after bearing kids as it was not the life she wanted, a frigid woman who searches the past to find answers for her condition, a marriage that is on pause, unfulfilled sexual desires, middleclass dreams and doing anything, including stealing, to achieve them, women with a passion to do their own things, moral policing, body selling, a little boy who likes to put on makeup and play with dolls, perverts calling up girls on a romantic app and the concrete jungle of Greater Nodia where these are all served up.
But perhaps, like the character Kitty (Bhumi Pednekar in a subdued performance) in the film, the director filled up her plate with more than she could eat. Whereas her earlier film Lipstick Under My Burkha was guilty of understating things, this one overstates them with a vengeance. In trying to say too many things, the film ends up just pointing them out instead of making firm statements. Hence, Dolly (Konkana Sen Sharma shines as the middle class woman who is frigid and is always trying to pretend she is richer than she actually is) adopts the high moral ground when she finds out that Kitty works in a phone-sex call centre. But Kitty gives her back by pointing out that all is not well in her family and her husband has a roving eye and wanted to take her to bed too. But despite making many statements about women, their desires and the way society looks at them, the end result is vague.