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LUST STORIES (Hindi / Netflix) - A must watch collection of four unconventional stories featuring exceptional performances. (Review by Bobby Sing)
16 Jun, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases

In 2013, the centenary of Indian Cinema was celebrated with an anthology titled BOMBAY TALKIES having four different stories/sections focusing on cinema as its core theme directed by Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar. It got duly released in the theaters, but received mixed response from the critics as well as the people who didn’t show any excitement towards the timely experiment made.

After five years, the same team of directors comes back with another anthology titled LUST STORIES, interestingly revolving around four woman characters and their inner desires moving beyond than just lust or sex in particular. The format remains the same but thankfully the outcome is much better and refreshing as a next step forward in Hindi cinema breaking free of the limitations and fears of the strict censor board (releasing only on Netflix portal and not in the theaters or multiplexes). 

Strangely the rating at Netflix portal says 13+, but the film has strong mature content and should strictly be considered as ‘Only For Adults’ practicing a self-censorship. 
It begins with the story directed by Anurag Kashyap, starring Radhika Apte and Akash Thosar (of SAIRAT fame) as the odd couple. Radhika (as Kalindi Mam) is a married professor with her husband working abroad. And she is confusingly involved in a physical relationship with her young student Akash (as Tejas). This first story of the compilation explores the hidden psyche of Kalindi, who is an unpredictable, complex character struggling to find meanings in her various relationships with men other than the unaware husband. 
The least likable story of the four, it has been handled well by Anurag and brilliantly performed too by both Radhika and Akash. However the narration remains puzzled and doesn’t come up with any positive or clear characterization of the woman in question. On the contrary its eventually presents her as an indecisive, weak and vulnerable character who is actually quite possessive just like the men and is in constantly look out for a man too, who can hold her tight providing the much needed security saving her from her own chaotic persona. 
Having said that, it’s indeed intriguing to see Radhika talking to herself or to us (looking into the camera), mentioning Amrita Pritam and Draupadi justifying her own assumptions. 
The second story directed by Zoya Akhtar revolves around an IT professional (Neil Bhooplam) living in Mumbai and his maid/house help (Bhoomi Pednekar) looking after the house, food and clothing. The section begins with a bold sequence of their intimate act and then realistically narrates the situation when Neil’s parents arrive with the news of another family coming to see Neil with their young girl. Not able to say anything witnessing her dreams being shattered in seconds, Bhumi is exceptional in her almost silent act (with a few lines to speak) and Zoya beautifully exposes the master-maid relationship along the middle class hypocrisies exploiting the underprivileged.
The second section is no doubt better than the first without any complex personas, but it still portrays the woman as a victim, unable to speak out or reveal the real identity of men, accepting her defeat as fate or destiny. 
The most tricky of them all is the third story directed by Dibakar Banerjee featuring Manisha Koirala back on screen as a unhappy, middle-aged mother of two kids, having an affair with the dear friend of her husband. She is again an extremely complex character willing to break free of all our family captivities, just on the verge of declaring everything to her unaware husband. Jaideep Ahlawat as the friend plays it impressively but Sanjay Kapoor as the husband does even better giving a pleasant surprise. However they both together are not able to outshine Manisha’s dazzling performance as the woman who yet again decides to go for a compromise instead of moving out of it all, may be for the sake of her family and kids sacrificing her own wishes.
This particular section of the film has many subtle, meaningful moments to cherish wherein each character has a lot to reveal about our inner confusions or fears…..  and the way ignorance remains the only solution to many problems in life asking us to just forget, forgive and move on. 

Proving his command over the chosen subject, the best part of the film remains the one directed by Karan Johar featuring the beautiful Kiara Advani and a mischievous Neha Dhupia along an innocent Vicky Kaushal offering some fabulous entertainment in a novel and enjoyable manner. 
As a matter of fact this is the one story in the film which actually talks about or showcases Lust or Erotica on screen in its literal sense. Plus hold your breath and logical sensibilities as it fearlessly presents the same presenting a vibrator being used in a school library by a sensual-teacher and then right in front of the family members too leading to many drastically serious consequences. With a delightful, adorable Kiara and an outstanding Neha, this is unarguably the best part of the anthology (with a fine background music) deserving thumbs up for both its writing and the comical execution concluding on a pleasant & positive note representing a bold woman.
However many might easily find a lot to object or feel offended on moral grounds in this particular section directed by the controversy favourite Karan Johar.
Summing up, though it’s not exactly about Lust in all the four stories, the film is indeed a very fine worth watching attempt made by the four directors extracting many splendid performances from the cast pushing the set boundaries. It’s an original, real, unapologetic and much bold depiction on screen that never tries to titillate in any cheap manner. So do go for it at the earliest and meet the four known directors telling fresh stories as they actually should, satisfying their niche audience.

Rating : 4 / 5

Tags : LUST STORIES (Hindi) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Lust Stories (A Netflix film) Review by Bobby Sing, New independent Indie films, Online Releases, A Netflix original film
16 Jun 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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