Our sexualities are huge parts of our identity. In this very gendered and restricted society that we live in, we’re forced within the boxes that are prescribed to us at birth. Be it gender, our sexualities, our role in the society, everything has a norm; a certain way to go about.
Perhaps it is the very human condition of being afraid of new things that is to blame. Regardless of the reasons these restrictions serve only one function, to keep us constrained. The process is messy, of ridding ourselves of these boxes we’re stuck in. This very process of breaking out is what Dolly Kitty aur wo Chamakte Sitare explores in its essence. I would not go as far as to say that it is a feminist masterpiece – but it is definitely bringing up some very important cconversations.
The plot relies heavily on analogies and metaphors. The “chamakte taare” mentioned here is the happiness that the society promises if we fit in, even if it is by force. Except the protagonist doesn’t find any happiness after trying to fit in all her life. Year after year, Mrs. Yadav (Konkona Sen Sharma) fits into this retarded conception of the “Adarsh Patni” (Ideal Wife). Always smiling, subservient, going out of her way for family even at personal peril, she has done everything. Perhaps it is a reaction to her own upbringing – which is a subtle arc the plot relies on quite a lot. She is, in her own words, “frigid”. Frozen in a passionless marriage, dead end job and the role she has been ascribed.
This is further exacerbated by the arrival of her cousin sister, Kitty (Bhumi Pednekar). Kitty is a parallel character to Mrs. Yadav – her choices are entirely different from that of her counterpart. She is a rebellious spirit that ran into the city to experience the consequences of her own choices. Initially working at a shoe factory, her next venture is at a call center “selling romance”. The contrast between the characters is quite intense, and yet another device that the plot relies on to drive its point across.
If you think that this will lead to the conflict resolving in a manner that leads to a happy ever after ending, you will be mistaken. Their lives are messy, and most of the choices they make throughout the film are regrettable and traumatic. This is one of the strengths of the film; it makes no attempt to hide the fact that our lives are messy and virtue is a mire to keep us in the trap. These are real, human characters making mistakes and learning from them. Mistakes that make the characters re-evaluate their role in the world – as a wife, as a mother, as a person. The ultimate realization of the characters is simply that the only person they owe something to is themselves.
The plot however, also has its own faults. The plot takes on too much and the duration of the film does not permit it the freedom to explore the many different characters it has. Most of the characters have arcs that remain unexplored, and in certain cases it makes the film feel a little messy. The realization that the film could have been so much better is a little jarring. Something I feel particularly sad about is that the little boy questioning his gender, as his character was not given enough justice.
It is a big deal in itself that these conversations are being had in the first place. Coming to the performances of the characters, it was very excellent. The roster of actors the film has is excellent – from Bhumi Pednekar, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vikrant Massey, Aamir Bashir. Their renditions of these characters are quite excellent as well; as good as the plot permits them to be. Here again it is limited by the screen time and in some cases poorly sketched out characters.
The music score of the films is good enough. Rather than adding to its entertainment value, the songs simply set the mood for certain scenes. The colors are bright and popping, and that offsets how glum the events actually are. The trailer makes it out to be very different from what it actually is.
In conclusion, some of the things that Dolly Kitty aur wo Chamakte Sitare talks about are very important. It is not something you can watch with your parents, but it is definitely something that will make you think about things. It is very much like a masala film sans the action, but here the action is replaced with sex.
Now streaming Netflix.