um … that was interesting // or a review of Lust Stories (NSFW)

 

Rating: 3.5 | ★★★☆☆

Release Date: June 15th, 2018

English Title: Lust Stories

Language: Hindi (with English subtitles) This title is ONLY available of Netflix

Genre: Bollywood, Drama, Romance, Anthology/Short film,

CW: This movie heavily revolves around sex. It’s rated MA on Netflix. There is also cheating, masturbation, and stalking.

Director(s): Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, & Karan Johar

Starring: Radhika Apte, Bhumi Pednekar, Manisha Koirala, Kiara Advani, Akash Thosar, Neil Bhoopalam, Jaideep Ahlawat, Sanjay Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Neha Dhupia, Ridhi Khakhar, Randeep Jha and Sumukhi Suresh

Synopsis: In a companion sequel to the 2013 anthology film Bombay Talkies— Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, & Karan Johar present four tales of love, lust and everything in between. (Wikipedia)

Special thanks to my beautiful amazing friend Neela for making this review possible by humouring me with watching this and providing the Netflix account. That was very crucial to this whole situation. Thank you & I love you. ❤

❝Love, lust and everything in between…❞

This movie is not for younger viewers. This review is NSFW.

Anurag Kashyap || ❝Kalindi❞  || Rating: 3.5 | ★★★☆☆

❝I want us to be penguins.❞

This was weird.

Kalindi, played by Radhika Apte, is a college professor somewhere in India. Kalindi is married, her husband Mihir is 12 years her senior, and out of the picture for some unrevealed reason, regardless they are still technically married. Mihir despite never actually appearing plays an interesting role, or lack thereof considering the actions of Kalindi over the course of the film. Kalindi describes in interview-like clips that despite Mihir not being a part of her life anymore he remains a very close confidant of Kalindi’s.

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Kalindi despite her status as a married woman decides to have sex with one of her students—it’s not illegal, he’s an adult—Tejas. It’s a one night, fade to black or turn off the lights scene. But like after that night she basically says they can’t do this because she doesn’t want it to become weird with the power imbalance or whatever, but then she proceeds to have an affair with the super strange maths teacher Neeraj, who is very into monogamy, he wants them to be like penguins. It’s taken me almost three weeks to figure out what he meant by this, but it’s because penguins mate for life, and he wants them to be together without any other relationships, i.e, he wants to remain and have their relationship be monogamous. Also, Neeraj is incredibly sexually awkward. Neeraj uses the word ‘fornicate‘. Like, I see why she dumped him.

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But after the affair with Neeraj, Kalindi begins to obsessively stalk Tejas who seemingly is dating his classmate, and another one of Kalindi’s students, Natasha. But he won’t admit that they are dating and this really pisses Kalindi off. And nothing is really off limits when it comes to intervening between Tejas & Natasha like she literally breaks into Tejas’s house and goes into his bedroom, right in front of his grandmother to investigate. She is serious. But when Tejas finally confronts her and asks if she wants to be with him, she simply says, “Oh, but I am a married woman.” Even though she said she wanted to be with him.

Fade to black.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

WHAT THE FUCK!

I think overall it was my favourite film because like Kalindi’s actions make about zero sense, but it’s entertaining.

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Zoya Akhtar || ❝Sudha❞ || Rating: 2 | ★★☆☆☆

Warning this goes right in and goes right in deep. You might want to keep your volume low and watch in the privacy of your room or somewhere where people will not walk in randomly and look at your screen. Turn your volume down, please and thank you.

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This segment begins with a very rigorous sex scene between Sudha played by Bhumi Pednekar, a maid, and her employer Ajit, played by Neil Bhoopalam. Their sexual relationship is passionate in nature and secret. Neil is single, and he’s hired Sudha to clean and look after things. But then one day, Ajit’s parents arrive to stay for a while, and some mysterious guest comes and go. While they are visiting Sudha does her best to impress them, but Ajit gives her little to no attention, then Sudha overhears a meeting between Ajit, his parents and some of their mysterious guests, and she discovers that Ajit is to be married to the daughter of the guests. Surprisingly, Sudha isn’t very upset, and she seems to handle thing with a great amount of grace. Though there is one awkward scene where Sudha offers chai to Ajit and his fiancee and he looks at her in this really strange way. After the guests leave, Ajit’s mother congratulates Sudha on Ajit’s engagement and offers her sweets, after slowly eating a treat Sudha resumes her normal routine and moves on.

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This wasn’t terrible, it was just very confusing and I don’t see what Sudha saw or gained from Ajit, other than pain perhaps.

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Also, like Sudha speaks a total of three words this entire film, and perhaps because we didn’t really see what was inside her is why I felt very disconnected to her. Who knows??

There was also one shot where Sudha goes into a room, and then without an obvious cut she comes in through the front door wearing a different outfit, or at least I thought it was Sudha. I don’t know, it could have been someone else, but like it looked like Sudha. My friend and I were both very confused by the composition of that shot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think open-ended ending are Zoya’s signature at this point. After watching Dil Dhadakne Do like three days previous, I can see her style coming through. I like Zoya’s filmmaking but I just couldn’t connect to the story.

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Dibakar Banerjee ||❝Reena❞ || Rating: 3 | ★★★☆☆

A story of lust and love for a slightly older audience. Complete with a sort of love triangle.

Salman: ❝So, hate me.❞

Reena: ❝No.❞

Salman: ❝So you love me?❞

Reena: ❝It’s not that simple. ❞

This particular lust story opens on Reena, played by Manisha Koirala, a housewife and mother probably in her forties. She’s been married to Salman (Sanjay Kapoor) with kids for some time but she’s not happy, thus for the past three years, she’s secretly been in a relationship with their mutual friend Sudhir (Jaideep Ahlawat).

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This was fine, but series JUST GET DIVORCED ALREADY. This was too long in my opinion. Perhaps this is because I am very accustomed to adult’s arguing, but like it was painful.

At the beginning of the film, Reena and Sudhir are hiding out at Sudhir’s beach house, when Salman finds out their location and comes to “bring Reena home,” because he suspects that she is having an affair with someone because she doesn’t seem to care about him anymore.

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Everything is revealed through a painfully long and arduous discussion, and it ends with Reena and Salman having sex and Reena deciding to return to her life with Salman even though he treats her more as a housewife than his wife.

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Like, this was so long that it got to the point where they actually started connecting again, I just didn’t care. Like, I honestly don’t remember them making up and Reena telling Sudhir basically to get lost.

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I get that Salman probably cares about the kids, but using them as leverage over Reena isn’t very cool. Also, like Sudhir is much nice and more respectful of Reena’s personhood. Not that Salman is abusive, but he kind of just leaves Reena to take care of things, all in all, what happens in a lot of marriages. And I do appreciate how this discusses how complicated relationships are, especially as they evolve over time, definitely the most realistic story. But I still wish Reena hadn’t dumped Sudhir and dumped Salman, but whatever, I don’t really care that much. = [

 

I am sorry if I wrote Sanjay instead of Salman, much of this was typed very late at night.

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Karan Johar ||  ❝Megha❞ || Rating: 3.5 | ★★★☆☆

❝Either you bonk, or you talk.❞

I am a very simple girl. When I see Vicky Kaushal is in a movie I watch it because I like myself. This is exactly why I wanted to watch this anthology film in the first place because I am trash for Vicky. I found an article from Men’s Weekly Magazine on Tumblr, that was talking about Vicky’s infamous “magarmachh” scene and or his cum face. I double took and you can too, but yes, you get to see that face many many times. I was intrigued, so thus here we are.

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Can you blame me really??

Megha (Kiara Advani) is a teacher at an all girl’s private school. She doesn’t have much of a life aside from her work, but regardless she has been courting Paras, who is beautiful, for some time and they decided to get married with a lot of pushing from his mother.

So Paras and Megha get married, and they have a very adventurous wedding night. Their shaadi bed is decorated in flower petals with the words ‘Paras Beds Megha’ and it’s quite awkward so Paras tries to break the ice, and he decides to talk about Crocodiles, and how they are devils, but also about their flirting habits. Crocodiles, he explains, blow bubbles to impress and attract potential females mates. Megha doesn’t really know what to make of this, but it’s all true, I googled it. And then Paras proceeds to grab a glass of water and blow bubbles into it. He woos her crocodile style. I cry.

This scene ^^ is honestly one of the greatest scenes I have ever seen in my entire life.

Then they have sex. And there is a very long montage of Megha and Paras doing it. Mostly clips of Paras releasing inside her and look of exception satisfaction this brings him. And as much as I felt weird watching it, Vicky is too beautiful for me to look away. But through this montage, we get to see how unsatisfied Megha is. She literally starts counting how long it takes him to release on her fingers while he’s cumming. I am very impressed with the acting within that scene. How Kiara managed to keep a straight face when Vicky is on top of her making that face, I don’t know. Sincerely impressive acting.

Then at work, with Megha, we meet the librarian, Rekha (Neha Dhupia) who is amazing because she has like zero fucks to give to anybody. Megha is sent to fetch Rekha who is in trouble to checking out Lolita to a student, finds the librarian using a vibrator in her office, and Megha is intrigued. She asks Rekha about it, and Rekha tells her that she can find one in the desk of the principle, and thus Megha sneaks into the office and grabs one and high tails-it home.

But just as Megha has inserted the vibrator under her sari, there is a commotion as Paras returns home after an accident and everyone is fussing over him. Megha freaks out and decides to take the vibrator remote with her instead of hiding it and accidentally places it on the TV, and while she is trying to help Paras, the grandmother is trying to turn on the TV and ends up grabbing the vibrator remote and turning it way up, then turns on the TV and because this is Karan Johar’s segment the movie the grandmother is watching is the super dramatic part of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. As Kiara is helping, she starts orgasming, hard, right in front of Paras, her mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. At the peak of the KG3 theme song … kabhi khushi kabhi gham.  Of course, Karan slips in his own most iconic movie into his latest film, but hey it fit rather well.

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It’s perfect. You know the song. You know the part. It’s dramatic. And Paras and his mother and sister are silent and their mouth and eyes are wide open in shock. They are horrified. And then the Mother loses her shit.

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She holds a meeting with Megha’s mother and adamantly refuses to have Megha be apart of their family. She is no fit enough to bear her grandchildren or whatever. She is pleased that at least they can tell be that Megha was an epileptic and that is a good excuse to divorce her.

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Then we had a time skip a month later, and Megha and Para meet up for ice cream, and he tells her that just because she made a mistake that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for her, everyone makes mistakes. And then Megha tells him that she did not make a mistake and that a woman wants more in life than children, and that she desires pleasure as well. He seems to get it because then he offers her a spoon of ice cream and presumably romantically* feeds her to it because he wants to please her because he loves her.

*- that word choice à la the summary, but he literally just holds a spoon of ice cream out in front of her face.

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Again, this was a very wild story, and I enjoyed myself.

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Overall, I can understand why these are called Lust stories and not love stories because for most of them the relationships are heavily built on lust. But regardless, I think it’s important to discuss and explore sexuality as a female, and it works. I’m really happy Bollywood is starting to discuss and showcase topics like this. It wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but it wasn’t terrible either. If you are interested and you have access to Netflix, check it out.

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Petyr Baeish Books  © 2019 by Tova Portmann-Bown

 

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