|Director:||Kayoze Irani, Neeraj Ghaywan, Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta|
|Cast:||Manav Kaul, Shefali Shah, Aditi Rao Hydari, Nushrat Bharucha, , Tota Roy Chowdhury, Abhishek Banerjee, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Konkona Sen Sharma, Jaideep Ahlawat|
|Release Date:||16 April 2021|
Ajeeb Daastaans Plot
Ajeeb Daastaans comprises four short stories from different walks of life. The stories explore the surprising ways in which unexpected catalysts inflame the uncomfortable emotions suppressed under fragmented relationships.
Ajeeb Daastaans Review
Releasing films on the OTT platform comprising short stories is definitely a safe side to play & Bollywood is doing that for quite some time now. Some stories may work & some may not but the audiences will watch for the entire duration. Ajeeb Daastaans is a similar presentation whose anthology success is subjective. The trailer made it prominent that this movie has lots of promising performances, but were all the stories equally good?
‘Majnu’- Shashank Khaitan
The first story titled ‘Majnu’ was a treat for eyes if you are interested in cinematography. The presentation of the story was very rich in terms of vibrant colors & atmosphere & so was Jaideep Ahlawat’s presence. Directed by Shashank Khaitan, the story followed a couple in a haveli, Barabanki where Babloo (Jaideep Ahlawat), a rich, shady businessman who marries Lipakshi (Fatima Sana Shaikh), a politician’s daughter. What the tale follows next is all this story is about. The story was more or less a juvenile revenge story with a decent plot twist that was much needed in this flat, monotonous story.
‘Khilauna’- Raj Mehta
The second story starring Nushrat Bharucha & Abhishek Banerjee was also a sort of revenge story. Titled ‘Khilauna’ & directed by Raj Mehta, it explores more of how rich, powerful men exploit poor-class women just by providing basic amenities that they were intentionally deprived of. The ending was very bizarre & although it might take time to understand for some people, it was very shockingly unsettling for the most. The only charming part about this story was Inayat Verma’s presence who gave us joy with her sweet yet over-smart dialogues. But I think this story wasted the sheer talent of Abhishek Banerjee. He was properly fit with his role but his side of the story was so poor & that his background could have had more depth in the story. Nushrat was good in her role & it was surprising to see her playing an ordinary, non-glamorous human being.
‘Geeli Pucchi’– Neeraj Ghaywan
I know that I’m not alone but many will agree on this that the last two shorts were absolutely delight & they put it at last so that audiences can feel that their time was worth it. The third story titled ‘Geeli Pucchi’, by Neeraj Ghaywan stars Konkona Sen Sharma & Aditi Rao Hydari that made a class-division story more profound. The story explored the struggles of a Dalit, homosexual woman & the privileges of the upper section like Pandits. It tells the story of Bharti (Konkona Sen Sharma), a factory worker, who feels disregarded that, she didn’t get the data operator job, despite an impressive undergraduate aggregate and correct answers in the interview. Instead, Priya (Aditi Rao Hydari), a new hire got the job. Both of them despite the indifference become very close friends but for not long.
In an incident as Bharti reveals that she’s a Dalit. Soon complications arose between the two friends that were very much expected that depicted the reality of our complex society. The scene where Konkona tells Aditi about her caste background felt more of a message from the director to the wider audiences & not just between two characters. How Bharti, despite pointing down by Priya in office & her family gets away to misguide Priya & replace her position in the factory was very satisfying & empowering. I don’t think anyone else could’ve been more fit as Bharti than Konkona Sen. Aditi Rao was equally good as Priya, who resembled a more submissive woman surviving in a patriarchal society. The little moments they shared at the beginning of the story were simply adorable & a treat to the fans.
‘Ankahi’– Kayoze Irani
The final & non-arguably the best shorts of all the four, ‘Ankahi’, beautifully directed by Kayoze Irani is a story that will overwhelm you till the very end. The cast was perfect in one word. Manav Kaul & Shefali Shah’s duo was extraordinarily beautiful & worth memorable. Centered on a married couple in Mumbai, Natasha (Shefali Shah) and Rohan (Tota Roy Chowdhury), whose daughter, Samaira (Sara Arjun), had a hearing hindrance. Natasha felt Rohan(who’s quite a busy man) didn’t spend time with her daughter that he disagrees. She learned the sign language for Samaira & he didn’t because as he claims, he didn’t have time to waste on such activities.
The lack of communication – the most basic need in a relationship – informs this story. She soon befriends Kabir (Manav Kaul), a deaf and mute photographer. The thing now is he didn’t found someone who can speak his language; she didn’t found someone who listens to her. She became a different person. A very beautiful subject explored by the Ankahi team will feel your heart with strong emotion. You get to know if the ending was happy or sad when you watch it. But you should brace yourself for the last winning performance from Manav Kaul that will melt your heart to its core (might remind you of Barfi). Of all this film was my favorite & Manav Kaul was brilliant.
Ajeeb Daastaans is available for streaming on Netflix.