fbpx

Review: Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (Netflix)

The film has two areas that deserve applause - tackling the subject of female sexuality in India, and a talented cast.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
dolly kitty netflix poster

In Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Dolly and Kitty could be any smalltown cousins. In the world of Alankrita Shrivastava, they become fictional case studies of real desires that the Indian woman of today might harbour, even as she grapples with an innate conservative mindset and a society that is still too inflexible while accepting her sexual mores.

In a way, Shrivastava was setting up a desi Fleabag of sorts, narrating the story of Radha, or Dolly (Konkona Sen Sharma), and her cousin sister Kajal (Bhumi Pednekar), or Kitty from Darbhanga, Bihar. Dolly (Sen Sharma) is married and a mother of two. Along with her husband Amit (Aamir Bashir), she is trying to close instalments for their dream home in an under-construction Greater Noida highrise. Kajal arrives from Bihar and puts up with Dolly and family, in search of a job and life in the big city.

AT A GLANCE

  • Starring: Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Amol Parashar, Aamir Bashir, Vikrant Massey
  • Directed by: Alankrita Shrivastava
  • Rating: * * * (three stars)

The fact that Dolly’s world is far from idyllic is made clear in the opening minutes, as she, along with Amit, the kids and Kajal visit an amusement park. As they pose for a family photo-op, Amit inappropriately brushes a hand across Kitty when Dolly isn’t noticing. For Kitty, the more disturbing fact is Dolly won’t believe her when she mentions the incident.

The entire amusement park sequence is perhaps meant to be represent their worlds. To begin with, we find the sisters in the House of Mirrors, lost and confused and yet happy. Minutes after the incident with Amit, as Kitty tries telling Dolly about it, they are on a boat ride in the House of Horrors.

Dolly’s marriage is a sham of sorts, sexless and bereft of passion. She finds an ‘escape’ in the young home delivery boy Osmaan (Amol Parashar). Kitty, who eventually moves out from Dolly’s house, lands a job as a ‘voice operator’ at a call center that is basically all about phone sex. She draws the interest of a hospital worker, Pradeep (Vikrant Massey).

Shrivastava could (and perhaps should) have kept her focus on this linear plot while exploring themes around female sexuality. Instead, she tries fitting in too many extra subtexts.

Perhaps the director is not at fault. A story that sets out to understand female sexuality in the Indian context would invariably involves too many aspect. Dolly’s blind faith in her husband would seem an inevitable point to make, in order to understand the movement of her character arch. The initially coy and confused Kitty will take a while to understand men, and the narrative will dwell upon her encounters.

Those instances, perhaps, were still in sync with what Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare sets out to be. What really hinders the flow are the several other issues that Shrivastava tries highlighting, which distract the core narrative. Parallel focus is trained on saffron-clad goons who go after lovers and shady child control clinics. Focus is allotted to rampant urbanisation in the NCR. For no apparent benefit to this particular storyline, one of Dolly’s sons plays with dolls and likes dressing up as girls do.

READ ALSO: Review: Cargo (Netflix)

dolly kitty netflix poster

As Shrivastava earnestly tries doing justice to her various subtexts, you realise she has erred in selecting the right storytelling format. Her urge to narrate so many varied ideas and themes in one project perhaps demanded a fullfledged web series of multiple episodes, rather than a two-hour film.

As a storyteller, Shrivastava seemed more in command of her craft with her last feature, the 2017-released Lipstick Under My Burkha, a film that has come to be her calling card. Somehow, the effortlessness of that film is lacking here, as is the engaging storytelling.

Shrivastava’s latest basically has two areas that deserve wholehearted applaud. First, the intent. Few films tackle the subject of female sexuality and try understand it in India. Although not very assuredly, the film does open up scope for conversation on the issue.

The second thing that endears Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare is its cast. When an aptly-cast set of talented artistes gets going with unusual characters, cracks in narrative and cinematic execution usually get covered up.

READ ALSO: REVIEW: The Social Dilemma (Netflix)

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Listen to Indian Link’s NEW Travel Podcast

0
  Indian Link's NEW travel podcast- Feel New In NSW is all about travel and especially made for people who love to explore places in...

It’s National Blood Donor Week

0
  It’s National Blood Donor Week. In our new podcast host Ekta Sharma speaks to Canberra‘s Nidhi Kaushik who runs an amazing donation campaign every year....

Let’s Talk Boosters: Indian Link podcast

0
  In LET'S TALK BOOSTERS, a new podcast series by Indian Link, host Ekta Sharma quizzes Dr Kritman Dhamoon of Blacktown Hospital Sydney about booster...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

neil chandran fraud

Indian-origin entrepreneur charged for $45mn investment fraud

0
  An Indian-origin entrepreneur with ambitious goals of developing virtual-world technologies has been arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in an alleged $45 million investment...
Rajyasree Sen

The Sweet Kitchen: a guide to Indian desserts through the centuries

0
  A food columnist for years at Wall Street Journal India, Rajyasree Sen has written columns on food for a variety of publications and also...
kids in kitchen

4 reasons to bring children into the kitchen

0
  The kitchen is a simple and casual place, but it can also be a hub for developing and enhancing your kid's skills, be it...
whalers way birds

Saying no way to Whaler’s Way

0
  It’s easy to get excited about South Australia’s burgeoning space industry. Supporting a growing space industry, and the vital jobs that come with it,...

Sudarshan Pattnaik creates 125 sand chariots on Rath Yatra eve

0
  On the eve of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, renowned sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik has created 125 sand chariots and a sand sculpture of...