Stree is a Hindi movie that released in August of 2018. The Stree cast includes Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee, Flora Saini, and Vijay Raaz, to name a few. The film is a brilliant mix of horror and humour, which tells a well-crafted story based on a real-world urban legend. This is not a Stree review, so there’s going to be a ton of spoilers. Here’s the plot and ending of Stree explained; spoilers ahead.
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Let’s start with some definitions which are part of the Indian and other South Asian Folklore.
Unlike the witches from the western folklore, the South Asian ones are vengeful female spirits whose primary source of power comes from their plaited hair. They have long clawlike nails, and their feet are flipped backward. They don’t necessarily hover over the ground.
Bhoot is a ghost, the spirit of a dead person unwilling to move on and is not explicitly associated with women. Spirits stay on and haunt and can also possess other people, something that is not associated with a Dayan. They are also known to hover about as they can’t touch the earth. However, the feet flipped backward is a common trait they share with a Dayan.
Chudel is a female demon. Unlike the bhoot, this is not merely a spirit that refused to move on. It is an evil incarnate of the spirit that has returned seeking revenge because she has suffered a painful death. Chudels are primarily driven by rage and hate and are also known to shapeshift to temporarily look beautiful to seduce men.
Chudels and Dayans are specifically defined as women and share many traits, especially myths about how they seduce men and drain their life force sexually.
Why did we talk about this? Just to address the fact that the definitions are not very strict, they tend to overlap. So, let’s get two things out of the way…
1. Who is Stree?
The movie tells us that Stree was a courtesan, a mistress for the wealthy. While everyone’s love was for her body, there was one man who loved her for her soul. The two of them decide to get married. Many of the other men in town get furious and can’t deal with their jealousy and kill the courtesan and her lover. While not stated, it’s possible that her death was quite torturous and brutal. Legend also has it that they were killed before they could make real love to each other.
2. What is Stree?
Seeking revenge on the men of the town, the dead courtesan returns as a vengeful spirit. Each year she comes back to the city and lures men away and leaves only their clothes behind. These men are kept in an old abandoned palace where remain as her prisoner, and they are drained away. Stree is a blend of a Bhoot, Chudel, and Dayan. She was once a human and returned as a malicious spirit for revenge. She is shown to have the ability to possess another human and is always floating about. Her plaited hair is shown to be the source of her powers.
Nale Ba: A real story – Stree movie’s real story
The Stree movie is based on the Nale Ba story. Before the times of virality on the Internet, in the 90s, in Bangalore, there was an urban legend that became extremely notorious. Legend has it that a female bridal spirit roamed the city at night looking for her dead husband. She was known to steal men from their houses. She would knock on the door of a home and would be able to mimic the voices of the members of the family. This would trick the male resident to open the door for her to take him. After that, the people of the town starting writing “Naale Ba”, meaning “Come tomorrow” on their doors. When the spirit showed up, she’d read that and return the following day, and this recursive cycle would keep the family man safe. Nale Ba is Stree’s real story which was adapted into the screenplay.
What is Chanderi Puran? Who is Shankar Shashtri?
Shankar Shashtri is an author who has written a book called Chanderi Puran. A book that is a summary of the town’s history where a specific set of chapters are dedicated to Stree. We’re told nothing more about Shankar or how he got all the information about Stree’s origins, her powers, and weaknesses.
Stree Movie Story Explained
The movie opens with an old man explaining to the lead character, Vicky (a talented tailor), that the town folks are preparing for an annual function. Given that it is the death anniversary of Stree, he explains that they also develop a special ink and write “come tomorrow” on the walls of each house.
Stree: Who is Shraddha Kapoor?
Shraddha Kapoor’s character is never given a name, so we’ll just call her The Lady. She meets Vicky and asks him to stitch her a dress. What is Shraddha Kapoor in Stree? Well, it’s not stated very clearly, but it appears that she is either a sorcerer or a witch of sorts. Her objective is to track down Stree, kill her, and steal her powers (the braided hair). While The Lady might have minor powers of persuasion and possibly shape-shifting, she still needs Vicky’s help with taking on Stree. She coaxes Vicky to prepare her dress before the last day of the festival. Vicky brags about meeting The Lady to his two friends – Jana and Bittu.
Stree: Why does The Lady need Vicky’s help? Who is Vicky?
While this is not shown in the film, The Lady seems to have gotten to the book written by Shankar Shashtri. From the book, she rips out pages that explain how to defeat Stree. Those pages talk about a prophesied man who’ll protect the town. A man who has a wheatish color, long nose, and treats himself like a king. Born in the arms of the oak tree. The prince of his family and a true artist. A prostitute’s son who’s a bachelor. This man is Vicky. While he doesn’t know this, his mother was a mistress. This is why Shraddha’s character is seeking Vicky and coaxing him.
Later in the evening, The Lady meets Vicky and says that she missed the prayers. This is an early indication that The Lady might be a malicious entity. While The Lady states that she comes to town each year for the festival, she avoids prayers. She then hands Vicky a letter.
Who is Rudra?
Rudra is a guy from the town who keeps a close watch for paranormal activities and has been following Stree’s pursuits for years. When Jana and Bittu run into him, Rudra warns the two to be careful. He goes on to explain that if any man is caught alone, Stree will first approach by calling out to him in an alluring voice. If the man turns around, he’s hers for the taking.
Stree: Kamariya (song)
This song is put in place to describe the society of men to whom beautiful women are mere objects. It’s harmless fun for a few, but others carry a derogatory placement for women in general (like the ones who killed Stree). In the middle of all the song and dance, Vicky steps out and ends up peeing on a the wall and erasing the word ‘tomorrow’ from the sentence “Stree, come tomorrow”.
Stree: First Night
One of the guys in the group, Narender, gets abducted by Stree thanks to the word ‘tomorrow’ being erased. The prostitute who was invited by Narender states that something dragged him away through the window. Downstairs they find Narender’s clothes. The group initially sets out to search for him but get scared and decide to go looking in the morning.
Next morning, Vicky shares with his two friends the letter from The Lady, which reads – “I would like to meet you again. Can you bring these things for me? Brandy. Half a kilo of mutton. A kilo of charred glass. Thornapple flower. Hair of a cat. The tail of a lizard“. Vicky procures all of the items and meets The Lady in the evening. He notices that she has again missed the prayers for which she says that she perhaps doesn’t get along with God too well. Hmm.
Stree: Second Night
She takes Vicky to a lonely forest, further seduces him and leaves. Jana and Bittu look for Vicky because they deduce that The Lady might be Stree. Unable to find him, they decide to head back to their respective homes. Jana is intercepted and taken by Stree. Later, Bittu tells Vicky that he’s an idiot, blind in love and that his girlfriend is Stree. Vicky also begins to connect the dots. While this leads the audience to believe that The Lady is Stree, that’s not the case. We’ll get to that in the end.
Vicky tries to confront The Lady
The next day Vicky stitches The Lady’s dress and waits on the terrace to meet her. When she arrives, he hallucinates for a short minute. He imagines The Lady transforming into Stree. After that, he musters some courage to ask The Lady if she is Stree. She takes her stitched dress and disappears. Later, Vicky and Bittu approach Rudra who reads them the book written by Shankar Shashtri. They notice pages with details on defeating Stree are missing. Vicky recognizes the palace in the book, and the three of them head there to look for Jana.
Stree: Third Night: Vicky, Bittu, Rudra vs. Stree vs. The Lady
At the palace, Stree chases Bittu and Rudra around and finally narrows in on Vicky. Vicky avoids turning around when Stree calls out to him. He thinks the coast is clear, and as he turns around, Stree sees true love in Vicky’s eyes and stops for a moment. The Lady has been planning for this and tries to take Stree down, but is unable to. The Lady then cooks up a story for them saying she’s been trying to take down Stree because she too lost someone and wants revenge. Just then, Jana returns out of nowhere.
How does Jana get back?
Stree has a plan of her own. She’s tired of the writings that keep her away from the town’s men. Jana is possessed by Stree. In the night he wakes up to go around city erasing the text on the walls. Stree swoops in and steals twenty men. Jana attacks his own people in a crazed manner, and The Lady eventually releases him of his possession. After this, we see the town’s men wearing sarees and staying at home and women folk head out to handle the day. We’re shown a guy who tells his wife that he’s scared to be alone, and she tells him she’ll be back home soon. It’s a nice turn of events from that first dance sequence.
Meeting Shankar Shashtri
The Lady, Bittu, Vicky, and Rudra go to meet Shankar who is in a completely incoherent state. He recites a reflection of the town’s men from back in the day – “Women has no stature compared to men. She should always stay within her limits. Never step out of the home. Their job is to keep her husband happy and bear children. And if they cross their limit, then they should be burnt alive“. He also mentions the prophesied man who is the protector of the town. Soon, they realize that Vicky is the one and also tell him that his mother was a mistress. Vicky is heartbroken and questions his dad but soon makes peace with his father and himself.
Plan to Take Down Stree
They plan to put up signboards to instruct Stree to come into a house where Vicky is prepped to look like a groom. The Lady gives Vicky a blade to end Stree. The plan goes haywire when the Jana gets repossessed and attacks Rudra and Bittu. In the meanwhile, Vicky gets taken by Stree to the palace. He manages to send his location to Bittu. Vicky then realizes that Stree is not looking to make love, she wants to be loved and respected. As Stree stares into Vicky’s eyes, The Lady attacks her with a spell from behind and temporarily renders her powerless. The Lady asks Vicky to stab and kill Stree, but he feels that’s not the right thing to do to her. They agree to just chop off her braided hair to take away her powers. Before Vicky can, Stree gets back up and chases The Lady to a corner and begins choking her. Vicky appears from behind and cuts off her braid.
Stree Ending Explained
Shraddha is not Stree
The standoff between Stree and Shraddha is independent of anybody else. They are two different entities here, and Stree is clearly far more powerful. And it’s this power that Shraddha’s character is after. She couldn’t do it on her own and needed the prophesied Vicky to do this for her. After this, she steals the braid for herself and plans to beat town. Vicky shows up to say bye to her and continues to stay enamored. There is no indication of why she was insistent on Vicky preparing her dress before the last day of the festival, but she is shown wearing it as she leaves.
On the bus, we see The Lady pull out the braided hair and place it on her own. Soon after, she disappears. Shraddha’s character has gotten what she wants. She now has gained the powers that Stree possessed. It appears that slowly, over time, she has been hunting down supernatural entities and taking over their abilities. Her intentions, there on, are left open-ended.
Stree Ending Explained by the Director
But what was the significance of Shraddha’s character stealing Stree’s hair? Are you hinting she could use that power wrongly?
She had come with an agenda, and she got that. Her intentions seem noble, and we hope and pray they are noble. The idea is to keep you intrigued so that we can explore something really cool in the second installment. We haven’t even written it and I’m still in two minds over which way it could go. There are three options – I’m trying to figure what is more exciting. I have an idea but that’s the plot of the next one.
So, it appears that a Stree sequel is definitely on the cards and we’ll get to understand more about Shraddha’s character more in Stree 2.
Stree Movie Last Scene – What is the meaning?
One year later, the final shot of the film shows Stree hovering in front of her statue, and it reads “Stree Protect Us”. The town people have realized their first mistake and have now made amends to give Stree a new purpose. They’ve now finally shown her the Love and Respect she deserved. Though Stree has lost her powers, she may now be at peace.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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