Ajeeb Dastaans

An anthology of four short films that boast of acclaimed directors, a superb cast, intriguing stories and twisted endings.

Geeli Puchhi by Neeraj Ghaywan is the most impressive of the stories, not surprising coming from a director who had given the likes of Masaan.

It is deep, insightful and boasts of shining performances by Konkana Sen Sharma( Bharti) and Aditi Rao Hydari (Priya).

Bharti works as foreman in a factory, aspires for the post of data operator which is given to Priya.

Priya is everything that Bharti is not; upper caste, beautiful, feminine and married. But they find an unusual friendship. Both women are fighting in their own way to make a place in the patriarchal set up.

It was moving to see Bharti’s angst and the biases she has to deal with. Priya’s innocence and confusion was heartening. The surprise climax left us a bundle of profound thoughts.

Konkana wows with a dazzling effortless performance. She is so talented, you can’t help but marvel.

Aditi is wonderful playing the charming disarming Priya.

Majnu

Shashank Khaitan who has given us the likes of Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya, Badrinath ki Dulhania and Dhadak fails to make a splash with his story.

Lipakshi (Fatima Sana Sheilkh) is locked and bound in a loveless lifeless marriage with strongman Babloo (Jaideep Ahlawat). Their lives are about to change forever when dashing Raj (Armaan Ralhan) joins Babloo’s business.

This twisted tale of resentment, lust and love is the lowest in ranking amongst the four films. It doesn’t seem to offer any novelty value, or wowing performances but is engaging enough to hold your attention and with a surprise twist towards the end, it makes it worth the time.

Ankahi is by Keyoze Irani (seen prominently in SOTY1) and boasts of a story that touches your heart.

Natasha (Shefali Shah) has a troubled marriage, a daughter who is loosing her hearing and a husband who is neither interested in his wife or in making any efforts to connect up with his daughter.

When she meets Kabir (Manav Kaul), a speech and hearing impaired photographer, sparks fly. They seem to find genuine love and admiration in each other. Does their love win over her familial ties and responsibilities ?

Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul bring to shine this heartening love story. Shefali, being the wonderful actress she is, brings alive Natasha’s pain, loneliness, dilemma, happiness and love. Manav Kaul delivers a performance at par and wins your heart. His Kabir looks both admirable and gorgeous.

Raj Mehta of Good Newzz fame bring to us Khilauna, story that highlights a complex mix of morality, adversities, aspirations and impressionable innocence.

Meenal (Nushrat Bharucha) works as house maid, lives with her little sister Binny (Inayat Verma) whom she adores. She’s in a relationship with the neighbourhood press wala Sushil (Abhishek Banerjee). We see them embroiled in trouble with police over something that has happened in one of the household she works in. The story holds your attention through out with its intrigue factor, performances and delivers a shattering morbid climax that is bound to draw varied responses from the audience.

Nushrat is impressive with her earnest portrayal but I think some more efforts to make her look the part would have been better. Inayat whom we last saw in Ludo is as admirable and steals your heart. Abhishek is as smooth and convincing as he always is.

All stories have a different set of appeal ranging from deeply effecting, thought provoking, shocking to just about entertaining.

But what’s common is that they are all engaging , all have a good intrigue factor, they boast of a great cast and they all promise a surprise ending. Goes without saying it’s a recommended watch.

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