Lust Stories – Exploring the forbidden emotion

Lust Stories - A Netflix Film

Netflix original anthology Lust Stories is an attempt to present the forbidden emotion ‘lust’ just as a regular human need, and doing so casts light on Indian society and its moral complexities.

While depicting lustfulness, this movie certainly does not have to be any soft-porn or erotic in nature. It’s more to do with human emotions and desires, not necessarily involving sex.

Moving away from the typical Bollywood movies, four well-known directors of the Hindi film industry come together to present four strong women characters and their sexual desires (in some case, their desires to dare any set perception).

Lust Stories is not a movie with any amount of sexual imagery rather the impact it has on the lives of the onscreen characters – the four female protagonists. The stories are very well-written from very distinct perspectives and with statements those are loud and clear.   

Watch the movie trailer – Lust Stories – Netflix  

Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar come together for the second time after Bombay Talkies with their short films.

Considering the general idea of lust in a conservative Indian society, such stories are simply read in books, as uninhibited sexuality is a repressed passion in Indian culture. 

Anurag Kashyap

The shared theme of lust starts with Kashyap’s story in which a bold and married college professor Kalindi (played by Radhika Apte) starts a fling relationship with one of her students Tejas (Akshay Thosar of Sairat fame).

While her intention was never to be committed, the character falls to the grasp of possessiveness. The director very cleverly sketches the lady character who is very volatile with her desires.

From the portrayal of a free-spirited woman to making her more behaving like a man with traits of obsessiveness and stressing her rights with contradictory commentary, the director never really let viewers settle on the actual intention of the character. The story is unique and engaging.

Zoya Akhtar

Another young yet very intelligent director Zoya Akhtar brings the story of a man and his relationship with his domestic help. This story exposes Indian class structure and its deep-rooted discriminatory attitude.

The employer Ajit makes love with Sudha (Bhumi Pednekar) who behaves and treats Ajit as her husband, doing all his household works as well as satisfying his physical needs. However, this is all in her day dream as she knows the prejudice attached to a class-driven society.

Even though Sudha speaks very little, the story has its moments as Sudha holds equal power as her employer when they are on bed. This is the shortest story in the film; however, in the end – it shows the reality of our society.

Dibakar Banerjee

The next story is directed by Banerjee in which he introduces a mature relationship in terms of infidelity. Reena, played by yesteryear icon Manisha Koirala, is in an extramarital relationship with her husband’s friend. While Sanjay Kapoor plays the role of a self-centred and emotional, yet wise husband Salman; Jaideep Ahlawat plays the lover friend Sudhir.

The story doesn’t specifically talks about infidelity in particular rather it opens up different layers like friendship, adultery, loyalty, love and acceptance.

One of the finest accepts of this story is how it ends; there is neither any high drama nor any attempt to censure infidelity. It brings varied facses of each characters, with their strength and weakness. 

Karan Johar

Johar draws from the values of his mainstream movies where he gives importance to family and relationships, but here in a different tone.

His story follows a newly married schoolteacher Megha (Kiara Advani) who finds that her husband (Vicky Kaushal) doesn’t know that sex involves two people.

With the help of her open-minded friend (Neha Dhupia), she explores new ways to satisfy her but within the limits of social boundaries, which doesn’t imply lust though.

Watch Lust Stories on Netflix and enjoy the shorts for their realistic presentation. It’s really a very interesting time that Indian filmmakers are coming up with such edgy content which certainly fits in the changing dynamics of our society. Each of the short film, in some way or other, throws questions at us without justifying or apologizing for anything happening onscreen. The tonality is very clear though, as these are simply representation of what’s there in our society

Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar

Starring: Bhumi Pednekar, Neil Bhoopalam, Kiara Advani, Vicky Kaushal, Neha Dhupia, Manisha Koirala, Sanjay Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Jaideep Ahlawat, Akash Thosar, Kiara Advani

Writers: Radhika Apte, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Sumit Saxena, Ruchika Oberoi

Where to watch Lust Stories (2018)
This post is written, edited and published by the Cinecelluloid staff.

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