The Film Shtree: A phantasy on construction of woman

Radhakanta Barik

It is a film regarding women in our patriarchal society. People had a fear of Shtree which got depicted in the film. Every year in a small town of India this shtree haunts  people of the place. They feel scared of her ghost and do not know the face of the woman. But there are people who give a variety of descriptions of the woman. This shtree haunts the town people during the four days festival period. There is a huge congregation in the fort of the town.  On the side of the fort there is a temple where people go to worship the local goddess. From 'haunted' forts to stories of djinns and spirit possessions - Chanderi, the Madhya Pradesh town that served as the setting for Stree, has tales to rival any film plot.  Another woman Shraddha Kapoor  visits the quaint, old-world town from the other town coming for the last two years to explore the mystical experience people regarding  the Shtree. She is a daring woman and becomes a friend of a young tailor Rajkummar Rao. He assists the family business.  One occasion, a woman comes to the shop and demands money from his father by blaming his son who troubles her. His father without any verification  out of fear of this Shtree pays her money. He pleads with his son that he should not get involved in any woman as the issue may hurt their family position and may incur the financial loss for their family. His father agrees that sexual energy is a powerful energy which needs to be channelized properly otherwise these energies can create problems for the any human being.

These three young friends led by Rajkummar to  explore the existence of Shtree which haunts the city. In this exploration, a young woman joins them. In the next to fort there is a jungle where all three go to search for the story either real or a ghost one. In such a fantasy they find they get scared of haunting ghost in the form of noise. Any absurd sound makes them scared  but there is fear psychosis in the town as the town people decide not to take risky in going alone. They go in group where they feel the fear of Sthree is in their faces. Women in group move together showing their fear in their faces which create fear in the minds of audience. As camera moves over the fear striken women going to the temple for worshipping. This image haunts people of the city.  In the houses there is silence explaining the fear of Sthree and there is fear that their kith and kin may not come back. In such a background of fear one finds a tantric goes a little further and his book stall having all books on tantric. He shows a book written on such a ghost of a woman which haunts the city. These three young friends try to meet the tantric for getting clues from him by which they can explore further. In the mean time a young woman makes a friendship with the tailor boy in the side of temple. She demands certain things such as tail of cat and cocoanut for going deep into mystical layer of the story in the temple while puja going on. On the first day they meet on the puja sthall and where the young woman demands such things. On the next day her boy friend brings all such things for exploring the story. While they are meeting on the side of the temple the woman  suddenly vanishes which creates anxiety in their  minds. On the third day their friends face really tragedy as the woman friend disappears .  In the mean time one of the friends faces the challenge from the imaginary ghost  of Shtree which makes him injured and bed ridden for some time. Their family talks in a  whispering tone  with the other relations of the small town which creates a cloud of fear hanging over their sky. The whispering tone among their relatives create fear in their minds and create fear in audience which brings them to last date of the puja  where three friends with the young girl friend meet the tantric who guides them to go for exploration to find the Shtree which haunts the city. In the process they caricature the patriarchal approach to woman which is responsible for creating a ghost out of shtree. She ia  an unsatisfied woman in her love in  making  her a  ghost which haunts the city. This story of tantric regarding the Shtree moving in the town have created fear psychosis among the whole people.  These sorts of phantasies regarding ghost Shtree in exploration the truth. In the end there is a story created by the patriarchal mentality of the city which haunts them rather which makes them to do puja the woman or  fear of woman but they cannot tolerate a woman as their friend or sister. The film maker has created a phantasy in which the story is told. While the story is being told in such a manner  the audience to clinging to each other to save each other from the fear of Shtree. Many of the audience the young boys and girls cling to each other to see the next scene in the story telling. That keeps the audience engaged till the last moment which makes the film a box office hit. Amar Kaushik the film director has tried to create a phantasy in the Bollywood which is a good attempt by him. As there are really phantasy films in our film world which makes him a rare film maker and his first attempt as director makes him a great success in the film world. Wish him the best luck in making the future phantasy films.  The film maker creates fear in the minds of audience which is itself a success.

Prof. Radhakanta Barik, Retired Professor in Political science and a story writer in Odiya.

Nov 29, 2018

Prof Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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