Lust Stories is the resonance of that idea that you don’t really love women, you worship them and then you lust for them when they otherwise are unapproachable or unattainable. And that is the story, in home after home. In town after town, young men have this quaint idea about women and that does not come alive even after they marry. So, whether it is a youngster or a middle aged man or even a dirty old man, they maintain these quaint notions.
Lust Stories brings such stories alive through the male gaze and the women who are subjects of gaze or of experiments.
Four directors come together again after their first work Bombay Talkies, that was, to be frank, average. Zoya Akhtar leads the quartet again and she is frankly, the best. Dibakar Banerjee, who fancies himself as a little high brow is next in line, in terms of quality followed by the also-ran makers, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar. The last two, in a manner, are the more famous among the four.
Some stories are are straight off. Johar brings a girl into a large household and creates a comedy around a bold girl (Kiara Advani) who is married into the household. The story wants to tell many things, including comic interludes for masturbation. But apart from some good actors there is nothing much to talk about.
Kashyap does a story about a young home maker and teacher who is wanting many things at once, in and out of bed, that she looks tormented. The story is half baked and does not do justice to the time given for the story. Radhika Apte plays the woman well, that is a saving grace, as she does very well with a tale that’s a middling sort.
Dibakar constructs a decently good story about infidelity. The husband, Sanjay Kapoor, playing a typical patriarchal male who has to confronts his wife Manisha Koirala’s infidelity and it is very nicely done in patches. Sanjay is a surprise because you generally have good expectations from Manisha. He has a range of new expressions and I am reminded of so many men I know who could be like the male Sanjay plays.
The best is Zoya’s film. You love the way she fixes the tenor of the film very soon into the story. She has a palette that has been common in all her ventures and she understands the lyricism that visuals can have. Bhumi plays a domestic worker in the film and she is superlative. Obviously helped by the director’s vision. The story makes one think. The class struggle, the casual sexism, the amoral domestic haven, all make a mark. I loved this film. Just for this, watch Lust Stories.
Watch it on Netflix, streams from today.