Written by Raj and DK, the Amar Kaushik-directed Stree left us wanting more. Made on a budget of Rs.23 to 24 crore, the film became a sleeper hit and went onto gross somewhere around a whopping Rs.180 crore. Given how sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots are the flavour of the season, we knew that a part deaux was to come soon, just not how soon.
And finally it has been announced that the tentatively titled Stree 2 will be going to the floors next year and we are beyond elated. It was a near-perfect subversive piece of mainstream Hindi cinema, and most such films should be left to be standalone films. But of course we had our misgivings with Stree and since a sequel is on the way already, here are our suggestions on how it can be improved upon.
Strong female lead(s)
Even though Stree cleverly managed to navigate all the cringe-worthy sexist trappings we have all grown up OD-ing on, thanks to Ramsay Brothers and co., one glaring weak point of this horror-comedy was the lack of a well developed female lead.
Shraddha Kapoor worked only as long as she kept mum and was directed to squint and look mysterious. The moment she had to speak and emote, you could see every pore of her face straining. You had to keep your eyes fixed on the otherwise overwhelmingly male cast to distract yourself. When matched with co-stars as outstanding as Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee, and Vijay Raaz, Kapoor paled in comparison. This was no Half Girlfriend where she could half-ass her way through.
Not to mention that this essentially lead this otherwise feminist film to become just another example of The Smurfette Principle in action. In a sea of men going through the growing pains of being a man in a Chudail-infested world, Kapoor was the only woman…or at least seemed to be one till that final twist at the end.
No more item songs
The only interesting female entity in Stree was the consent-seeking ‘maadarn’ (modern) Chudail. Not even Kapoor’s nameless Buffy Summers-esque Chudail hunter could hold a candle to her. But what was definitely worse than that was the forcible insertion of a random “item” song in the middle of it all.
The innuendo-filled ‘Kamariya’ had all the money shots of Nora Fatehi’s hot bod making it stand out like an eyesore in delightfully feminist visual landscape. If the point of including this song sequence was to show how men tend to objectify women then the camera’s gaze could have found better places to land on than Fatehi’s waist and chest.
No Varun Dhawan, but more Pankaj Tripathi…pretty please?
Rumours were rife that Dhawan was so impressed with Stree’s success that he wanted in on the sequel. But since that means Rao probably has to step down or play second fiddle to Dhawan (the other way just seems unlikely), hopefully the makers won’t let that happen. If anything Stree’s success proved that star kids aren’t needed in the recipe to concoct a successful mainstream film.
And as for Tripathi, he knocked it out of the ball park with his performance as the paranormal expert of the town, Rudra. So yeah, we just want more of him. That’s all.