Lust Stories 2 Is An Anthology Of Desire
Konkona Sen’s ‘Mirror’ is the most impactful
Since the bogey called “censorship” has not yet intruded into the world of OTT, filmmakers are having a field day depicting different views on sex, lust, adultery, etc in their screen stories. ‘Lust Stories 2’ is one among them. But it is more focused on the hidden desires of women than on men.
This gives it a special edge over the other web series on different OTT sites. The anthology of four stories directed by four directors offers us both strong and weak depictions, and one which appears to have been ‘inspired’ by films we have watched before.
R. Balki’s ‘Made for Each Other’ stars Neena Gupta in the main role of the aged grandmother of a young girl whose marriage is being arranged by parents on either side. Veda (Mrunal Thakur) gets engaged to Arjun (Angad Bedi) and the two hit it off at once, going for dances and discos and having a jolly good time together.
“But what about sex?” asks the grandma, insisting that sex is the most important thing to be tested before marriage, similar to a car being taken for a test drive before the customer decides to buy it! Both families are scandalised and so is Arjun, but Veda thinks about it and shares her thoughts with him. This sets them off to hotels for their ‘test drives’ and finally, they get married.
The question is: what if they found that they are not sexually compatible? Will the girl carry on with her ‘test drives’ with different men? This forms the weakest but silent link devoid of logic. Culturally, open discussions on sex within or without marriage are still considered taboo in Indian society because keeping silent on these issues also equals to respecting elders.
Besides, sexual compatibility comes over time and not through a few nights of lust and passion. Neena Gupta however, steals the show as usual with her no-nonsense, almost shocking stance on sex.
It is Konkona Sharma’s ‘Mirror’ that takes the cake, frosting and the cherries on top in this anthology. This film is about a strange bond between two women, Isheeta (Tilottama Shome) and Seema (Amruta Subhash). Isheeta is a single, successful career woman who lives in a spacious apartment, and is lonely. Seema (Amruta Subhash) is her maid. they hardly talk to each other except about work-related duties.
Once, when Isheeta returns from work, she opens the door to discover that Seema is having torrid sex with a man on her bed! Isheeta does not scold or fire the house help. Instead, she begins to enjoy watching the couple making love, and begins to pleasure herself.
This comes to an end one day when the two women get into a heated argument and Seema walks out of her job. Isheeta begins to miss the sessions, while Seema misses the comfort of the space which she did not have in the shanty she lives in with two growing children and husband. It turns out that she knew that Isheeta was watching her and her husband making love, she was enjoying it!
Seema is an exhibitionist while Isheeta is a voyeur. This is a true picture of real life which no Indian filmmaker has ever attempted before. Konkona’s treatment of the script, with special reference to the cinematography, sound effects, background score, and the sharp editing, makes ‘Mirror’ good for a repeat watch.
It may even help adult men and women understand their sexual desires better and learn to accept them as normal. Add to this, prize-worthy performances of all three actors – Tilotamma as Isheeta, Amrita Subhash as Seema and Shrikant Yadav the wonderful actor who played Seema’s husband. Bravo Konkona, you are as brilliant a director as you are an actor.
‘Sex with Ex’ helmed by director Sujoy Ghosh is a thriller all over again. Vijay Verma plays the protagonist, who is an unabashed womaniser, journeying to meet his voluptuous girlfriend, while soothing his wife on his car phone.
His vintage car breaks down and he discovers his first wife while walking to find a garage. However, from this point on, the film begins to clamber down steps that really did not reach anywhere. The climax reminds you at once of a story from the anthology ‘Darna Mana Hai’.
There is not much of a story to lean on here, and the sex is a bit too obviously on display. Was this even necessary? The famous number “Jab koi Baat Bigad Jaaye” is used like a thread that holds this fragile story together. Tamanna Bhatia looks sexy and beautiful, and that is all she is expected to do, nothing more.
‘Tilchatta’ directed by Amit Ravindernath Varma, means ‘cockroach’. Kajol plays Devyani, an ex-prostitute picked up by the local landlord Suraj Singh a.k.a Mehersa (Kumud Mishra). He, we are given to understand, has married her only to subject her to physical violence and brutal rape every night.
They have a son who is a timid, quiet boy who wants to go to London for further studies only because his mother wants him to. Mehersa spends his time either lusting after young girls, including a newly appointed maid, or treating his ‘subjects’ very badly.
Kajol and Kumud Mishra’s performance are the only highlights of the film because the story is not only very predictable, but also leads to an illogical climax.
‘Lust Stories 2’ dealing mainly with the sexual desires and fantasies of women and men offers a mix worthy of at least one watch. But ‘Mirror’ makes you watch, cringe in your seat and think.