‘3 Storeys’ review: Grounded at take-off

Intrigue, trickery, unpredictability and a sting in the tail. Yet this compendium of stories refuses to fly.

The film 3 Storeys is yet another in the line of Mumbai films set in a chawl. Only, unlike a Katha or a Piya Ka Ghar the innocent trifles and banalities of life make way for the dark, perverse and sinister here, without quite appearing to be so.

There are three different stories brewing in the Mayanagar chawl. Each of them centred on and driven by women: one about an old lady trying to sell off her home, another about a bad marriage and the third about a young girl trying to put the seal of marriage on her stealthy love. It’s all about past catching up with people; time not being able to erase the nightmares of yesterday, in fact bringing them back in newer forms and with renewed ferocity; it’s about vagaries of individuals and circumstances; about losses, reconciling with them, suffering because of them or getting driven by retribution from them.

3 Storeys
  • Director: Arjun Mukerjee
  • Starring: Renuka Shahane, Richa Chadha, Pulkit Samrat, Sharman Joshi
  • Storyline: Three different stories set in the same Mumbai chawl; all about past catching up with the present. And then there is a fourth one to tie them up together

Each of the stories comes with an underlying intrigue and unpredictability and the proverbial twist in the tale. However, the telling is full of contrivances that stretch credibility. It gets too lazy and limp to engage consistently. Moreover, a feeling of “been there, seen that” hangs heavy on each of them. I was reminded of films like Arsenic and the Old Lace, Before Sunrise/Sunset and Dev Anand’s Bambai Ka Babu.

In all of this, there’s a fourth story too, one that ties the rest them together, with Richa Chadha as the sutradhar. About imagination and interpretation of reality, about finding the distinct faces in the crowd of humanity and hearing the distinct heartbeats of individuals in the noise around, it could have been more than just a narrative device. Unfortunately it gets short shrift.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 9:31:36 PM |

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