With the entire world going the Netflix way, I was a lone human, walking in blissful ignorance that not having a Netflix account brings. Finally, I succumbed and signed up for it. Of course, since the first month is free, I shall be willing to indulge. It remains to be seen what I shall do when the time is up.
So, what have I done since I signed up for Netflix? The first thing I did was watch Lust Stories. Lust Stories had a lot of hype everytime I logged in to YouTube or Twitter. And I am happy to note it did not disappoint, mostly.
Lust Stories is a collection of four short stories directed by four different directors. I loved one, liked two and am unsure about the fourth.
The anthology begins with Anurag Kashyap‘s story. As this short story, we are introduced to Kalindi, a college professor, who indulges in introducing one of her students, Tejas, to the world of sex. Then there is the question of an emotional entanglement, which Kalindi warns Tejas against. Only, as the story progresses Kalindi begins to stalk Tejas. Kalindi’s long distance relationship with her husband, her polyamorous relationships and her struggle to find a meaning amongst all this-this is portrayed beautifully by Radhika Apte. Now, even though I generally love Radhika Apte, I’ve got to say that perhaps she was not her usual powerful self whilst portraying Kalindi. Yes, you do see the glimpse of her prowess here and there, but mostly it’s subdued. Tejas, played by Akash Thosar, was all that a naive man-child could be. And somehow together Radhika and Akash make Kalindi and Tejas work.
The next story is Zoya Akhtar‘s. This one is my favourite! Zoya‘s story was about a maid, Sudha, and her employer, Ajit. It begins with a good romp between the sheets and once they are done, they slip into their respective roles – the master of the house and the maid. When Ajit’s parents come over for a short stay, they are appreciative of Sudha for her work ethic. But a maid is still a maid, a concept that they reveal in actions and words. They’ve obviously come for a purpose – Ajit’s wedding. Which gets finalised with Sudha within earshot. Sudha making tea, serving the bride and groom and their families is a scene that’s evocative. What did I love about this particular story – the lack of words. Sudha and Ajit have a few words in the story and that’s that. Dialogue wise it was Ajit’s mother who had the biggest piece of the cake. But Sudha and Ajit, their emotions and their feelings were shown through brilliant acting. Bhumi Pednekar and Neil Bhoopalam were excellent in their roles as Sudha and Ajit. Not much to say about these two actors since they have proven their latent time and again. A wonderful effort by the entire team.
The third part directed by Dibakar Banerjee was about an affluent couple and their friend. Manisha Koirala plays Reena, who has an affair with Sudhir (played by Jaideep Ahlawat). Reena is married to Salman, played by Sanjay Kapoor. While the husband has doubts about his wife’s fidelity, the other two have doubts of their own – where is this all headed? Eventually, Reena confesses all to Salman. In my opinion, the shell of the house, in which this story plays out overnight is kind of a metaphor. There is no love lost between them. And all of them are just empty buildings, devoid of all the things that make a house a home. Eventually, Reena lets Sudhir know that she has confessed all to Salman, despite Salman’s request to keep Sudhir unaware of this. Reena is a nothing but a woman who wants to cut out a space for herself amongst the men in her life. She is not one who will be guilted or belittled. She makes a stand, and how! Oh, and Manisha Koirala in the swimsuit scene – is what goals are about. She has proven to the world that women come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colour. And each one of us is beautiful. A very self-confident and comfortable move by one of our time’s beautiful actresses.
The fourth short story was directed by Karan Johar. See, when I see Karan Johar‘s name I expect a family and plenty of relatives. And I was not disappointed. Megha, a school teacher, is asked to meet with a prospective groom, Paras. And once that is out of the way, Megha and Paras’ wedding is fixed by their families. They get married. One would hope all would be well, but it is otherwise. While during the day Paras is loving, attentive and smitten, in bed he is a five-second wonder. One day she stumbles across her colleague, Rekha, masturbating in a secluded corner of the library. Of course, someone else sees it as well and Rekha ends up being reprimanded by the Principal. The Principal also confiscates her vibrating dildo/bullet. Megha, whom ‘marital bliss’ still eludes, ends up slyly stealing it from his room. Once home she starts to experiment, only to be called out of her room before she can even start. She leaves the remote on the TV and the grandmother of the house uses it to start the television. You can imagine how that goes. Megha ends up having a ‘good time’ in front of an audience consisting of her husband, mother-in-law and her co-sister. This was a really funny scene. The oblivious husband who looks like ‘WTF is happening? How is this possible?’, the co-sister looking torn between ‘you go girl’ and ‘damn, I want it too’. Eventually, Megha is sent back to her own house and her mother-in-law wants declares the marriage null and void. This is where Megha should have gift-wrapped the toy and handed it that woman IRL. But, then this is a movie.
Megha, played by Kiara Advani, is a woman who knows what she wants and tries to get it as well. Kiara Advani has done a good job of a loving wife, dutiful daughter-in-law and a woman unsatisfied. Vicky Kaushal, who plays Paras, is eye candy in a tall dark and handsome way. Of course, we have already established he is a good actor. There are plenty of scenes in this little segment that portray the absolute ignorance that some men tend to have with respect to sex and female sexual gratification. I wish everyone would just acknowledge the saying – Happy Wife, Happy Life. It was a good segment and had me laughing.
Of the four segments in Lust Stories, my favourite would be Zoya Akhtar‘s segment. Followed by Karan Johar‘s and Dibakar Banerjee‘s. The first segment could have been better or even skipped. If there was something I felt was wrong with Lust Stories, it was the absolute lack of anything non-heterosexual. I feel that instead of the first segment the team could have included one that showcased the other side of things. Afterall, it is Lust Stories and every one has a story to tell.
Lust Stories, has everything from excellent performances and funny scenes to us hooked. Go see.