Love may be the endless quest of the soul. But lust is easier, tantalisingly within reach, all heat minus the complications, right? Not entirely. All four tales in the Lust Stories anthology throw up challenges that draw you in, shift the mood and take you on a ride that leaves you a little richer by the end of it.
Five years after filmmakers Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar came together to contribute a chapter each to the anthology film Bombay Talkies, which celebrated the centenary of Indian cinema, they return with tales woven around the common motif of lust. With filmmakers of their calibre, lust could never be a wham-bam affair. Instead, each film takes you into a different world, introduces a fresh perspective, stirs thought...The perfect watch for a rainy weekend.
No strings attached?
The first story in the compilation, we are introduced to Kalindi (Radhika Apte), giddily happy as she heads for a night of passion with her lover Tejas (Akash Thosar). “See you in college,” she tells him, the morning after. She is college professor to his student, you see. Kalindi is in a long-distance open marriage. Early on she warns the young and uncomplicated Tejas not to expect more from their hook-up – some people always get too clingy and complicate everything, she sighs. Turns out Kalindi was talking about herself. She proceeds to develop into a stalking neurotic, tailing her lover mercilessly, getting him to state on record that the sex between them was consensual, breaking up his dates with his pretty girlfriend. Eventually, he tells her he didn’t realise she was so serious about him, and that he too would like to be exclusive with her. And she drops the bomb: ‘Don’t be silly, I’m a married woman’. Never overestimate a woman either!
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Marriage is not maid in heaven
A couple in the throes of passion…At one point, she flips over to straddle him, their faces wreathed in pleasure. He teases her, “Gandi saali,” as he proceeds to have a shower; she smiles back, “Nanga saala,” and gets on with swabbing the floor, fixing his breakfast, washing the clothes. Sudha (Bhumi Pednekar) is the maid, you see, a lovely young thing engaged in a sexual relationship with her bachelor employer (Neil Bhoopalam). Their idyll cannot last. His parents arrive on their annual visit and appearances must now be maintained. The real dagger through the heart comes when his future wife and in-laws come visiting. Sudha must serve them tea and snacks as her lover and his to-be-wife sit chatting on the very same bed they had thrashed around on. Social divide is a river too wide to be bridged. The sweets she is given by his mother to celebrate his upcoming wedding, are swallowed silently with the lump in her throat.
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Three is company too
Bored housewife Reena (Manisha Koirala) proves that not every woman in an extramarital affair treats it as a matter of shame and fear. Ready to reclaim her life, she places the truth before her preoccupied, money-minded husband (Sanjay Kapoor): that she has been having an affair with his best friend (Jaideep Ahlawat) since the past three years. The response is unexpected… The cuckolded husband, knowing her worth as a wife, hostess and mother, will silently accept the reality – as long as his friend doesn’t know that he knows about it. The lover is perfectly happy with the arrangement and is not looking for marriage either. The triangle continues with Reena in a happier place, no secrets under the sun, while the men in her life are left to pretend with each other.
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
The Pleasure Principle
This film is more glossy and ‘Bollywood’ in its treatment but it does drive an important point home… Much as meddling mothers-in-law might like to insist, sex is not a chore and children are not the sole objective. It takes time and a shocking episode for newlywed Megha (Kiara Advani)’s husband Paras (Vicky Kaushal) to realise this. Their time between the sheets is so predictable, she even times it down to the five seconds he lasts. A hug as he rolls over and falls asleep adds to her nightly frustration. Till she steals her librarian friend Rekha (Neha Dhupia)’s confiscated vibrator and proceeds to treat herself to what she’s been missing out on. A hilariously comic scene follows, played out in full view of her stunned husband and scandalized mother-in-law. But there is no going back to a life minus pleasure.
Director: Karan Johar