'Lust Stories': Movie Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Kiara Advani in Lust Stories, masturbation scene
Kiara Advani in Lust Stories
One of the biggest perks of the content on the web is that is free from the antiquated censorship norms enforced by the Cinematograph Act 1952. The only censorship that’s applicable is the moral one as deemed fit by the makers themselves. In keeping up with the spirit of the platform, RSVP Flying Unicorn Entertainment, Ronnie Screwvala’s new venture, has recently come out with its second offering for the streaming giant Netflix, Lust Stories, following the success of Love Per Square Foot. A four-part anthology film with each part directed by Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar, and Zoya Akhtar, respectively, Lust Stories endeavors to explore the so called repressed sexuality in Indian women.  The star-studded ensemble cast features the likes of Manisha Koirala, Neha Dhupia, Radhika Apte, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani, Sanjay Kapoor, Jaideep Ahlawat, Vicky Kaushal, Neil Bhoopalam, and Akash Thosar (of Sairat fame).

The segment directed by Anurag Kashyap stars Radika Apte in the role of a married college professor who is having a relationship with her student. The segment uses an interesting trope wherein we see Radhika talking to some unknown person. This approach is characteristic of the interviews we come across in documentary films. As far as fiction is concerned, Mike Figgis’ 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas also employed a similar trope. While Radhika delivers a no-holds-bar performance the segment suffers from some poor writing and confused direction.
Bhumi Pednekar in Lust Stories
Bhumi Pednekar in Lust Stories
The second segment is directed by Zoya Akhtar. It is made special by a brilliant performance by Bhumi Pednekar. While it begins with a lustful game between two characters, played by Pednekar and Neil Bhoopalam, we soon realize that it is all about Pednekar who doesn’t disappoint.

The third segment, directed by Dibakar Banerjee, revolves around three middle-aged people. While the segment is both long and boring, it features intense performances from Manisha Koirala and Jaideep Ahlawat. Sanjay Kapoor is also surprisingly good.
Manisha Koirala and Jaideep Ahlawat in Lust Stories
Manisha Koirala and Jaideep Ahlawat in Lust Stories
Now, as far as my opinion is concerned, I reckon that it is the fourth segment i.e. Karan Johar's directorial that’s by far the best in the anthology. Probably the best moment comes when the principal reads Lolita and announces to an anxious parent that it is a book about animals on encountering the line, "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins". Assuming it to be a spelling mistake, he actually strikes off "loins" and overwrites "lions" with a red pen.

Veere Di Wedding was castigated for its "masturbation" sequence but I think that Karan Johar's segment takes it to another level with the remarkable Neha Dhupia and the lovely Kiara Advani not leaving anything to imagination. Vicky Kaushal, however, yet again plays a part that fails to do justice to his acting talent.

Overall, Lust Stories makes for an interesting mix of stories, catering to the different age groups, which tries to explore some interesting ideas about sexuality and expectations in modern-day relationships.

Remember, the web is a personal space and not meant for group viewing and if you want to watch Lust Stories in a group then do make sure that you all enjoy a certain level of comfort!

Lust Stories - Official Trailer (YouTube)

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

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