Director: Arjun Mukerjee
Starcast: Richa Chadha, Pulkit Samrat, Renuka Shahane, Sharman Joshi and Masumeh Makhija
Rating: 3 Stars
Besides packing an interesting pun in the title of the film, 3 Storeys genuinely tells 3 beautiful stories that all merge into a mind altering climax that one doesn’t expect at all. It’s almost like a psychological thriller that makes you quip, ‘I didn’t see that coming!’ The end is indeed the highlight of the film.
3 Storeys is set in a Mumbai chawl. And mind you, it’s not the kind of chawl you have watched in Begum Jaan or any such Hindi film. It’s the kind of chawl that safeguards dark tragedies in its bosom, one that witnesses budding romances between young individuals belonging to the same building, coming from different religions. Eavesdropping is a routine here, space is crunched and privacy is a myth. Your life and all your darkest secrets are staged to the world that play out like an uncomfortable tragedy because peering eyes and open ears are just a step away, eagerly witnessing your life behind those thin walls. Yet there is warmth. Bowls of sugar are exchanged, candies are bought from the local shop, one for one’s son and the other for the neighbour’s daughter. Dinner parties and Garba nights are happily organized and help is literally next door, though it might come at a price. Each story in 3 Storeys packs different emotions and each one of them touched by tragedy and a climatic surprise.
If the Renuka Shahne- Pulkit Samrat story makes you feel uncomfortable, the Sharman Joshi-Masumeh story leaves you with a sense of deep, painful longing. Their love story seems implausible especially in cellular times but wait for it till the end. The third story of debutante Ankit and Ayesha is all about a young rebellious couple and their heartbreaking story that makes you feel their pain. Simple things happen in the movie that subtly build characters. Like a brief lewd moment between a house wife, Varsha and a shopkeeper, Rizwan where he sugarcoats leching with a concerned smile, that eventually gets threaded later in the movie. The moment is so short lived you might even miss it. 3 Storeys packs beautiful performances. You might initially have a problem with a few stereotypes, like Renuka’s Catholic aunty act who is often heard saying, “bring up kiya hain apna son ko” and inserts a “Jesus” every now and then, lest we forget what her religion is. Or Richa Chadha’s character of a woman with a high libido who sashays around in slow motion with red lipstick, anklets and flowers. But it all gets justified towards the end.
Mosumeh and Sharman are expressive and the new comers Ankit and Ayesha are just refreshing. Their chemistry is palpable and their performances, simply endearing. There is an instant smile that came on my face every time I saw Ankit’s infectious smile.
Althea Delmas Kaushal strikes gold for writing such an engaging film, giving you delectable insights into the chawl life of Mumbai. Director Arjun does a stellar job in handling so many characters without ever confusing the viewers. The way he has made chawl and Mumbai city come across as characters in the movie is indeed commendable. Kohinoor Bridge and Kohinoor Mills have never been used so creatively before.
The only grouch I have is a couple of songs and scenes that pace down the film and make it a bit lengthy. A sharper edit could have made it even more exciting, but that shouldn’t stop you from watching 3 Storeys.