It’s hard not to associate ‘lust’ with ‘sex’ when you think Hindi cinema. Films that explore this theme/genre fail to rise above insipid, lacklustre writing and shoddy visuals. Those that narrate it with subtlety and a sense of purpose are few and far between. With Lust Stories, filmmakers — Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap go beyond the obvious and turn the idea on its head.
Foregoing the trappings of commercial cinema, all four directors uninhibitedly explore human desires and relationships; how we perceive them today and the taboos that have been associated with them for generations. The four shorts capture a generational shift in perception and ideas.
The ease with which each director narrates his story is visible in each frame. They don’t feel bound to cater to or appease a set of audience. With the influx of digital platforms that are changing the way we consume cinema, there’s never been a better time for filmmakers to experiment with their storytelling abilities.
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It’s also not a co-incidence that the central character in each of these films is a female, particularly amidst the whole woman empowerment narrative (#metoo movement) scaling at a global level.
Lust Stories is coming-of-age for a genre that has long played by the rules.
Bhumi Pednekar and Vicky Kaushal deliver stand out performances but Manish Koirala is a filmmaker’s delight. Her silences emote more than words. Kiara Advani is a surprise package and makes us want to sit up in anticipation of what more she has in store.
The four-film anthology is now streaming on Netflix. Don’t miss it!
By Mansi Dutta
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