‘Lust stories’ is an anthology that deals with Indian family’s favourite taboo topic – lust. And that too to have amazingly weaved 4 discrete narratives about neurotic lust, clandestine lust, prohibited lust and liberating lust, all 4 directors -Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee- have displayed a distinctive oeuvre to not just the Indian audience but to the world audience on Netflix. It is a reassuring piece of work that promises more sensible entertainment here after from Indian film-makers. It is truly a delight to watch these creators decode the idea of lust and never attempt to force-feed any moral messages.
What unravels in the two hours, and four stories, is unadulterated happiness. The pure bliss of watching sophisticated characters not restricted by the usual moral policing or censor board; the joy of seeing actresses sink so deep into their characters ; the happiness of watching four storytellers succinctly cradling their narratives in a soothing tempo and gently placing it on a cosy bed. The beauty of lust stories is that you find yourself being far more devoted in each story, each character, each brilliantly filmed shot because everything is concisely framed and it is shorter and there's no room for a lag. Throughout the film, you are focused mainly on what's being said, or what's happening in the background.
One of the films I like is Zoya Aktar’s film about the relationship between a domestic helper and her employer. Brutal reality with silence is how I would describe the film. The helper barely has three lines in the film but the way she emotes, the way she succumbs to temptations and dreams but learns to negotiate life’s offerings without rancour. The tight-knit screenplay exposes middle class hypocrisies and casual cruelties sans even a hint of drama.
The first 3 films are somewhat serious and gloomy, laced with an indescribable darkness in terms of the shade the directors chose to paint their films with. Just as I was thinking, “why is there a dark/negative connotation to lust?” , Karan Johar’s film arrives with a bundle of outrageous fun! He introduces the much-needed quirkiness and wickedness and fulfil the erotic frisson and fun promised by the title. Johar’s segment is my favourite of the lot! And Karan has redefined his own song ‘Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham’. I will never be able to listen or watch the song in the same way again. That is ingenuity to a whole new level, Karan!
I resist myself from saying that this is bold film. Because I believe that there is no need to be bold speaking about these topics for these conversations should have been normalized by now because it is only going to make you feel proud of yourself, your body and respect others for what and how they feel.
‘Lust stories’ available on Netflix now!