Lust Stories is a 2018 Indian anthology film, consisting of four short film segments directed by Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, and Karan Johar and a sequel to the 2013 anthology film Bombay Talkies. Co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala of RSVP and Ashi Dua of Flying Unicorn Entertainment, the film has an ensemble cast including Radhika Apte, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani, Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Neil Bhoopalam, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Kapoor, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Akash Thosar.
|Produced by||Ronnie Screwvala|
|Edited by||Nitesh Bhatia|
Flying Unicorn Entertainment
Kalindi (Radhika Apte), a college professor, engages in sexual intercourse with a student of hers named Tejas (Akash Thosar). The morning after, she reassures herself that it was only a one-time occurrence but later stresses over the power dynamic of a student-teacher relationship. Multiple scenes are woven throughout the segment which depict Kalindi speaking to someone off-screen, in the fashion of an interview. During these cuts, she reveals that she is married to a man named Mihir, who is 12 years older than her and remains a close confidante. Inspired by his adventurous stories of love and numerous short-term relationships, Kalindi is also on a mission to explore her own sexuality. She begins dating her colleague Neeraj (Randeep Jha), but breaks up with him due to his firm belief in monogamy and his sexual awkwardness. She realizes that Tejas is beginning a relationship with his classmate Natasha (Ridhi Khakhar), which Tejas vehemently denies. To get him to confess, Kalindi obsessively stalks the couple, behaves rudely towards Natasha, and even breaks in to Tejas's room to search for evidence. Finally, in her exasperation, Kalindi relays to Tejas that she was interested in him and that she wishes him luck with Natasha. Tejas tells her that he was unaware of her feelings and is willing to leave Natasha for her, to which Kalindi replies that she is already married, leaving Tejas overwhelmed.
Sudhaa (Bhumi Pednekar) and Ajit (Neil Bhoopalam) are secretly in a passionate sexual relationship. It is revealed that Sudha is his maid, who arrives daily to clean his bachelor apartment. Ajit's parents arrive to stay for some time, during which Sudha is shown to diligently work for the family, despite earning only ignorance from Ajit. One day, a family arrives with their daughter for a marriage proposal and Sudha is silently heartbroken. As she prepares food, she watches the two families finalize the marriage and discuss the futures of their children. Sudha serves them tea and finds Ajit romancing his bride-to-be in his room. She appears to be desolate as Ajit's mother distributes sweets and congratulates her. Sudha slowly eats a piece of the sweets and resuming her normal routine, is shown to leave the apartment after yet another day of work.
Reena (Manisha Koirala), a housewife, is in an extra-marital affair with her husband's close friend Sudhir (Jaideep Ahlawat). The two are in love and have maintained their secret relationship for 3 years. During one of Reena's visits to Sudhir's home, Salman (Sanjay Kapoor) relays to Sudhir that he suspects Reena is cheating on him. This causes Sudhir and Reena to panic, especially when Salman arrives at Sudhir's home. Reena reveals to him that she is unhappy in their marriage, due to Salman wanting a mother for his children, not a wife. After she reveals her affair of 3 years with Sudhir, Salman breaks down and asks her to stay for the sake of their children. Later that night, the couple bond and make love whilst Reena is grief-stricken. The next morning, she tells Sudhir that she cannot meet him again and leaves with her husband.
Megha (Kiara Advani) is a young school teacher who is engaged to be married to Paras (Vicky Kaushal), an office worker. After their marriage, Megha discovers that while Paras is continuously pleasured during sex, he is not aware of her dissatisfaction. His family pushes her to bear children, as they believe this is the only pleasure that a woman desires. One day, Megha witnesses her colleague Rekha (Neha Dhupia) using vibrator for sexual pleasure in the school library. This motivates Megha to use a vibrator; however, when she attempts to try it out, Paras arrives home in a disheveled state from an accident and she rushes out to the living room with her vibrator still tucked within her. Paras's grandmother mistakes the vibrator's remote for a TV remote and unknowingly begins to increase the intensity. Megha eventually climaxes into an orgasm as her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Paras watch in shock. Enraged, Paras's mother demands a divorce and announces that Megha's womb is not suitable to bear her son's children. One month later, Paras meets Megha and tells her that he does not wish to divorce her just because she made a mistake. After she firmly says that she made no mistake and that a woman has more desires than just children, Paras romantically feeds her ice cream, indicating that he is interested in pleasing her.
- Anurag Kashyap's segment
- Radhika Apte as Kalindi
- Akash Thosar as Tejas
- Asir Abrar as Kalindi's Sideflick
- Ridhi Khakhar as Natasha
- Randeep Jha as Neeraj
- Sumukhi Suresh (cameo)
- Zoya Akhtar's segment
- Dibakar Banerjee's segment
- Karan Johar's segment
Lust Stories is developed as a sequel to the 2013 anthology film Bombay Talkies. It has been co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Ashi Dua under the label of their respective production companies RSVP and Flying Unicorn Entertainment. The four segments of the anthology film have been directed by Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar respectively.
The international distribution rights for Lust Stories were acquired by Netflix and a two minute long trailer for the production was released on the platform's official YouTube channel on 18 May 2018 and was promoted with the tag line: "discover love and everything in between". The film was released on Netflix on 15 June 2018.
Critics praised the film's portrayal of women and its exploration of female sexuality, a subject which has been rarely dealt with in Indian films. Film critic Alaka Sahani used the metaphor of a woman’s body is draped in a dupatta while discussing the sheltered sexuality of women in general, a theme that took a central position in the narrative; she praised the handling of the subject matter as clinical in the subversion of such regressive stereotypes associated with women who have an active sex life as the presumably amorous "vamps" in the Indian film industry. Kiara Advani's masturbation scene in the film, using a vibrator, was praised for its frank portrayal of women's sexuality.
Mridula R of The News Minute echoed the sentiment as she praised the film's novelty in the honest portrayal of women, their "liberation, thoughts, [and] decisions". Others were also appreciative of the "glorious women [who] stubbornly and strikingly hold the reins" and the "sometimes not likeable, but definitely relatable women who usually elude our screens". Commentators responded positively to subtlety in the film's use of female protagonists; they were especially impressed by the fact the all of the stories had female protagonists "without being obnoxious about it" and how they were wielded "to tell stories from a uniquely different perspective".
Johar, Akhtar, Banerjee and Kashyap will reunite for the third part of the anthology series titled Ghost Stories, expected to premier on Netflix in 2020.
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