The 4 stories narrate a tale of women protagonists in 4 fresh, strange, yet oddly familiar settings.
I can see how any middle-aged Indian man would be offended by the stories. But then again (there’s really little that doesn’t offend a middle-aged Indian man) Lust stories is the voice of many Indian women. Many who may or may not be ready to talk about lust and desire. But they will find this Netflix film a comfort to watch.
Radhika Aapte plays the role of Kalindi, a college professor who’s seemingly in an open relationship with her husband. Ergo she initiates a sexual relationship with one of her students. Young, innocent Tejas, played by Akash Thosar is more than happy to oblige her. Kalindi, however, is still trying to wrap her head around the ideals her husband has taught her from afar. She often erupts into casual monologues in between, explaining to the audience her POV on things.
Now, while there are a lot of insights to learn from this story and her life choices, I especially picked up on how Kalindi’s tried to be the logical, no string’s attached gatekeeper in the beginning of this arrangement. She was weary that Tejas would be the one getting his emotions mixed up in all of this.
However, she eventually turns out to be the crazy, can’t-separate-emotions-from-sex kind of woman. Kalindi also shows us how a woman can love and seemingly care for 2 men in her life at once.
The short allows us to make our own interpretations of her actions and does little to explain much and I think that sets the tone for the shorts to come.
Bhumi Pednekar’s character in Zoya Akhtar’s short is Sudha, the house help at a young spinster’s house. This story is told entirely inside a 1 BHK in Mumbai. It starts with a surprising reveal of just how much ‘help’ Sudha is to the bachelor.
We’re taken through her entire day as she takes care of every chore of the house. Until one day, his parents are over. There’s talk in the house about a suitor’s family coming over. While Sudha is clearly uncomfortable about this, she has no choice but to just do what she does best, serve. So even when the to-be in-laws come over, Sudha listens in as her lover flirts and tries so hard to impress another woman.
Let me add here that you will ride that roller coaster of emotions she feels as you near the end, and all of it, with just 2 lines from her own lips in the entire story. Bhumi Pednekar’s ability to say so much without really ‘saying’ anything was what really blew me away.
Manipulative, seductive and confident Reena has got the 2 men in her life wrapped around her fingers. One, her husband, the other, her affair-his best friend – Sudhir.
Manisha Koirala plays the role of a femme fatale, knows what she wants and is on a mission to make sure she gets it. Reena is married to a rich businessman. He has never treated her the way she wants to be treated. And so she’s been trying to find her happiness with his best friend at his beach house.
When things get a little out of hand, Manisha decides to come clean to her husband about her affair. She does this in the hope that he’ll leave her alone or at least treat her the way she wants to be treated.
This short left me wondering in the end who really won here. Cause after everything, Reena goes home with a husband whose only fear was that his best friend shouldn’t know he knows about the affair. And Reena, being the woman she is, makes sure Sudhir knows that.
Maybe no one wins, and that’s the point of it all. But I’m just thinking out loud, so you tell me.
Megha (played by Kiara Advani) marries Paras (played by Vicky Kaushal) and immediately regrets it. While only Megha can tell us how bad or rather non-existent her sex life was, I can say for a fact that Paras was quite the nightmare when it came to conversations too.
“Good riddance” I internally screamed when Megha happened to enjoy a perfectly good orgasm in the middle of her new home in front of her husband and in-laws by the grace of a vibrator. This little incident caused her to be subject to judgement and rejection from them all.
Megha’s friend and mentor Rekha- her colleague at school, (played by Neha Dhupia), was the one who first introduced her to the concept of ‘taking care of her own needs’ when Megha happened to find her masturbating in the school library.
I must say, if this is the reality for young Indian women recently married, then more Indian women need a ‘Rekha’-like figure, to teach them a way around when most Indian men either don’t know how to do it right or just don’t care enough to even try.
Lust stories is an insightful, very real tale of women, their desires and their realities in a country like our own.
Bingewagon rating- 3.5/5
Featured Image Courtesy: uk.newonnetflix.info
Title Image Courtesy: Za’s Pages
Faye D'cruz is a 22 year old with an old soul and a passion for telling stories through poetry. With a poetry blog, micro tales on social media and a number of stories written in the form of fan fiction, her life experiences find they’re way into little works of art that strike a chord with anyone who encounters it.
June 22, 2018