Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Ajeeb Daastaans’ on Netflix, an Indian Anthology Comprised of Four Films About Interpersonal Relationships

Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Ajeeb Daastaans’ on Netflix, an Indian Anthology Comprised of Four Films About Interpersonal Relationships

Netflix India’s Ajeeb Daastaans is an anthology of 4 Hindu-language quick movies centered on a theme: interpersonal relationships. So sure, it casts a large internet, though the emphasis is usually on romantic love, whether or not it’s genuine or handy or merely used as a method to get what one needs. And as is true with many anthologies, some shorts are inevitably stronger than others.

The Gist: Ajeeb Daastaans opens with “Lover,” directed by Shashank Kaitan. It’s Lipakshi’s (Fatima Sana Shaikh) wedding ceremony day. Her new husband, Babloo (Jaideep Ahlawat) informs her that their marriage is basically a enterprise deal for his or her fathers, he loves another person and may by no means love her and solely he’s allowed to have one other relationship. Babloo lives in a sprawling manse, is informal with a 9mm and is fast to interrupt somebody’s leg over minor improprieties, which tells us he’s the top of some profitable legal enterprise. So Lipakshi lives lonely in a cage with golden bars. Three years later, Raj (Armaan Ralhan) very handsomely and in slo-mo arrives on the property, employed to be Babloo’s monetary supervisor. Clearly sexually pissed off, Lipakshi comes on to Raj with each alternative, and he resists. He received’t even look her within the eye, however, I imply, they’re by far essentially the most enticing folks within the movie. She needs to get again at her merciless and heartless husband, and doesn’t care how brazen she acts. Evidently, it is a tense state of affairs, and one thing’s gotta give.

Subsequent is Raj Mehta’s “Toy.” Meenal (Nushrratt Bharuccha) and her little sister Binny (Inayat Verma) dwell a hardscrabble life — no dad and mom, no electrical energy, little alternative. Once they’re not working meager grifts, Meenal works as a maid whereas Binny goes to highschool; at evening, the older sister enjoys slightly one thing with Sushil (Abhishek Banerjee), a avenue vendor. The narrative places the three of them within the police station, being interrogated for an as-yet-unrevealed crime. The remaining is flashback: Meenal lands a brand new gig as a nanny and housekeeper for Mr. Agarwal (Maneesh Verma), a neighborhood Justice of the Peace of some type whose spouse simply gave beginning. He lords over his little streetcorner territory, threatening Sushil, and can possibly flip Meenal’s unlawful electrical hookup again on, in change for — nicely, you already know. This case, it’s like sitting on an atomic bomb, ready for it to go off.

Neeraj Ghaywan’s “Sloppy Kisses” units the scene in a manufacturing unit, the place Bharti (Konkona Sen Sharma) is the one feminine worker. It’s such a person’s world, there isn’t even a girls’s toilet. She yearns for an workplace place on the firm, and regardless of her competence and {qualifications}, her boss provides her a load of excuses as to why he shouldn’t promote her. She lives alone in a battered flat, and foregoes pointedly female skirts and scarves for denims and flannel shirts. Someday, she spots Priya (Aditi Rao Hydari) throughout the store flooring, employed for the job Bharti needs. Why? Priya is from a privileged caste. Priya beelines it to the one different girl within the place, and shortly breaks by Bharti’s partitions. They turn out to be associates, and would possibly turn out to be extra than simply associates, if Priya wasn’t already married to a sweetheart of a person who needs a baby, and whose dad and mom take into account these of Bharti’s social strata to be markedly inferior. Who is aware of what they’d suppose in the event that they — or the husband for that matter — knew Priya was homosexual.

Lastly, there’s Kayoze Irani’s “Unspoken,” about Natasha (Shefali Shah), a lady who’s attempting desperately to carry her household collectively. She’s at odds along with her overworked, typically merciless husband Rohan (Tota Roy Chowdhury), who’s distant with their teenage daughter Samaira (Sara Arjun). She’s going deaf, and he argues that he’s too busy to be taught signal language. Samaira isn’t so deaf that she will’t hear her dad and mom combating intensely. Natasha walks into an artwork gallery someday and strikes up a dialog with a deaf photographer, Kabir (Manav Kaul). They strike up a friendship based mostly on mutual attraction, so of course it’s harmful, though Kabir doesn’t know she’s married. Samaira opens her coronary heart to her mom: She’s apprehensive her incapability to listen to means she’ll be troublesome to like — then says Natasha is “so pretty, and you can obviously hear. But Dad still doesn’t love you.” Your coronary heart damaged but? And did I point out the primary shot of the quick exhibits Natasha in mattress with Kabir?

What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: So far as anthology movies go, Ajeeb Daastaans is not any Black Sabbath, however what’s? The Indian comp is alongside the traces of New York Stories or Paris Je T’aime in its quest for poignancy.

Efficiency Value Watching: Shefali Shah, of Monsoon Wedding fame, is extraordinary because the middle-aged mom staring down the barrel of a midlife disaster. And Konkona Sen Sharma finds so much of depth within the ache behind her character’s stoic qualities. Their performances make their shorts the strongest of the 4.

Memorable Dialogue: For “Lover,” this line will stay context-free to keep away from spoilers: “He called me by my name, too.”

“Toy”: “You both sought pleasures of the flesh. Now you’ll get your flesh ripped,” a cop tells Meenal. O RLY, officer?

“Sloppy Kisses”: “You have to decide if you want to suffer like me or live happily,” Bharti tells Priya.

“Unspoken”: Once more, no context: “You managed to lie with your eyes.”

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Only some suggestive moments.

Our Take: All quick movies usually are not created equal, particularly on this occasion. “Lover” serves up some juicy twists, however is tough to take significantly resulting from its melodramatic, soap-operatic tone. “Toy” fiddles round with pointedly essential jabs on the caste system, however concludes with a growth so outrageous, it torpedoes your entire endeavor.

“Sloppy Kisses” much more successfully tells a narrative of class division, vividly capturing Bharti’s isolation and the tenderness of her friendship with Priya, though the movie’s ultimate moments upend some of the numerous pathos of earlier scenes. That leaves “Unspoken” as the perfect of the bunch, a sentimental, simple story that packs an emotional punch and doesn’t overreach thematically. Its success stems wholly from Shah’s efficiency, which plumbs the character’s depths with an almost-deceptive effortlessness — and brings the movie to a dramatic peak in its ultimate shot.

Our Name: STREAM IT. Every phase of Ajeeb Daastaans deserves a shot — even when their attain exceeds their grasp, they’re not less than thematically bold and thoughtfully conceived.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic based mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at or comply with him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Ajeeb Daastaans on Netflix

Share this article