By S Rao
Set in greater Noida, this is a tale of 2 cousins Dolly played by the veteran actress Konkana Sen and Kajal played by Bhumi Pednekar. The film explores issues surrounding female sexuality, gender stereotypes, political issues and the real person that hides behind the face we put up in front of society.
Kajal is from a backward community in Bihar and she is in Dolly’s city trying to get a job when she lands up in a call centre job which is actually a call based sex service company.
Dolly on the other hand, is married with 2 sons and trying to stay happy with her job, her dream of buying a house and her non existant sex life.
While their 2 lives run into different tracks, the issues that these middle class women face are uncovered without making it obvious or a big deal.
When Dolly’s son is adamant about going to the doll museum instead of the rail museum and his innocence when he fails to understand why he can’t like dolls and why he is forced to play cricket by Dolly shows how we are accustomed to forcing children to be a certain way based on their gender and being anything different is unacceptable.
You also see Dolly making chai for her male colleagues and how she is responsible for the lack of sex in her relationship makes you realise that these are such common things we have experienced or witnessed but do not think too much about. The character uses different things to convince herself she is happy in her life like starting an affair with the gullible delivery boy Osman Ansari played by Amol Parashar whose only goal is to get 5 stars for his delivery. discover her sexual desires for the first time
As the movie progresses, Kitty is aware that the only way to survive in a cut throat city is to keep the horny men happy on calls while experiencing double standards of society where the men contacting the service are not to blame but the women providing the service are considered to be ‘acche ghar ki ladkiyan yeh sab nahi karte’.
By the end of the movie the characters have fought like true siblings but have come back together. Kitty with her new found voice to express her opinion and sexual desires and Dolly with the realization that her life is not what she imagined it to be.
The acting prowess of both Konkana and Bhumi are true to the roles they played. They are convincing and very real. The supporting cast does an equally good job with Vikrant Massey doing his shady lover boy part and Aamir Bashir being the creepy but likeable husband.
The story starts to slip because of the clutter. The writer and director Alankrita Shrivastava hit the right notes when it comes to realistic characters and their emotions but lost out on the plot by adding too many issues for a short movie to undertake.
The Hindu Muslim references and the ending scene with the mob attack, the relationships the lead characters have with their immediate family, the gender issues, etc make the viewer lose focus on what is the plot exactly.
The supporting cast being played by fine actors did not have a good enough character arch to form solid roles in the movie. By the end of the movie you feel as though you have watched bits and pieces rather than the tale of 2 siblings. Overall, the movie had scope to do more and could have played on just a few themes.
My favorite scene is when Dolly finally makes chai just for herself at the office and her male colleagues are visibly perplexed as to why they did not get any chai, she responds with “chai ka maza aaj aa raha hain”.