Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Shefali Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari, Nushrat Bharucha, , Manav Kaul, Abhishek Banerjee, Tota Roy Chowdhury
Director: Neeraj Ghaywan, Kayoze Irani, Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta
Most of you must hear the song Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh Kahan Shru Kaha Khatam from the film Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai. Lyrics penned by Shailendra, it's a mesmerizing song that talks about a broken heart, an endless love. Well, after so many years, the song title has been presented in the form of an anthology film title. Here the title track Ajeeb Dastan has been used for the film directed by four renowned directors Neeraj Ghaywan, Kayoze Irani, Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta and has been added with a double-A with an S at the end of Daastaans. Well, Daastaans amplifies four different stories of five women who are dealing with their lives' ups and downs and trying to identify the crux of the stumbling blocks of their lives. Exploded with jealousy, entitlement, prejudices and toxicity, Ajeeb Daastaans is a perfect mix bag of four strangely contrasting stories. With the moral dilemma of what's right and what's wrong, let's find out whether the anthology is a binge-watch or an abstention act.
Restoring the loss incurred by Ghost Stories, Netflix's latest anthology Ajeeb Daastaans has surpassed the level of all the analect films. Poured with beautiful short stories, Ajeeb Daastaans highlights the major concerning issues of a gap between affluent people and poverty-stricken ones, satiate of desirable fornication and unheard love.
So with this, let's have a look at the compendious brief of Ajeeb Daastaans. The first story Majnu, written and directed by Shashank Khaitan is a story about Babloo (Jaideep Ahlawat) who marries Lipakshi (Fatima Sana Shaikh), the daughter of a powerful Hardoi politician. But on the very first night of marriage, Babloo clears Lipakshi not to expect love from him as their wedding is just the result of a forceful compromise. This made Lipakshi to find her love in someone else and her voluptuous desire takes her to Raj (Armaan Ralhan), whose father was a driver of Babloo. His entry flips the lives of Babloo and Lipakshi. Raj's intention of getting close to Lipakshi is mysterious and suspicious.
With Majnu, Shashank Khaitan has beautifully written and directed a revenge story that was piled up with several factors of hankering love, erotic desires, and anger. The entire setback of the film was dark with a touch of Barabanki. Perhaps, the end was unexpected and was full of shocking climaxes. Keeping Majnu in the first part of this anthology was a great idea.
The next story Khilauna has been written by Sumit Saxena and directed by Good News fame Raj Mehta. Khilauna revolves around an inspiring housemaid Meenal (Nushrat Bharuccha) who works at middle-class people's home and earns for herself and her little sister Binny ((Inayat Verma). Meenal is in love with an ironing man Sushil (Abhishek Banerjee). The society's new secretary Vinod Agarwal (Maneesh Verma) disconnects Meenal's illegal electricity connection. In order to reconnect it, Meenal starts working at Vinod's home and takes care of his pregnant wife. But with each passing time, Vinod starts getting attracted to Meenal, and one day things turn into a horrific incident that will shiver your soul from inside.
Sumit Saxena penned the Khilauna and there are several dialogues and scenes which are uncomfortable to watch. The short story ends with a disturbing stroke but Raj Mehta has perfectly helmed the entire plot. Although, Nushrat Bharuccha as Meenal is unbelievable as who can expect a perfectly toned housemaid sensuously donning the saree and performing household work. Gosh!!! Although, she acted perfectly in the given role and Abhishek Banerjee has also shined in his part.
One of the best and intriguing stories of Ajeeb Daastaans is Geeli Pucchi, which is brilliantly crafted by Neeraj Ghaywan and written by Sumit Saxena. Foregrounding the major issue of the caste system and class differentiation, Geeli Pucchi focuses on Bharti Mandal (Konkona Sen Sharma), a machine man who introduces herself as Bharti Banerjee to the newly recruited data operator Priya Sharma (Aditi Rao Hydari) in the chemical factory. Bharti has a dream to work in an honorable position but with the arrival of Priya, her dream shatters. Their relationship which starts with love turns into the act of treachery and then vengeance.
Neeraj Ghaywan has marvelously shot each frame of Geeli Pucchi and casting Aditi and Konkona is a hell of a treat. Where Aditi is sweet as sugar and Konkona is a nut-based typology personality. Aditi looks so beautiful in each given frame and Konkana is tough as a stone. Well, Geeli Pucchi is our favorite flick out of four and it is a perfectly crafted and directed film.
Speaking about the last and slightly emotional story Ankahee, directed by Kayoze Irani and written by Uzma Khan and Sumit Saxena, is a story about a mother Natasha (Shefali Shah), who is concerned about her daughter. Her daughter is losing her hearing power. At the same time, Natasha is suffering from her complicated marriage where her husband is least concerned about her daughter's problem and more focused on his work. Fragmented Natasha finds her peace in Kabir (Manav Kaul), deaf-mute photographer. But whether her love with Kabir will ever take any endpoint or she will juggle between her responsibilities or love.
Well, Kayoze Irani helmed the Ankahee beautifully and just with a short period, the director highlighted the emotions of silence, grief, unsaid, unheard love. The end melts you with suppressed feelings and one will start thinking about how one can indulge in his responsibilities so much that he or she forgets to find their true desires.
Shefali Shah brilliantly played the character of a concerned mother and a lover who finds more peace in silence. Whereas Manav hasn't spoken a word but his charming and lovable personality is just mind blowing and who can deny his enticing smile. Well, we are in love with him!
All-embracing, Ajeeb Daastaans is a perfect watch for the weekend, beautifully collaborated with four prescribed stories, the anthology has its own aura and impact. Just within a short period of time, the directors and writers have summed up their part of recalling different issues that we face in society. Whether it is love, class-gap, revenge, betrayal, responsibility, and a deep well of class prejudice and discrimination. But if you want to know which story has a great impact then have to applaud Neeraj Ghaywan's 'Geeli Pucchi', which is marvelous and thought-provoking. So with four stars, we highly recommend you to watch this anthology and thanks to Karana Johar for bringing these four beautifully crafted stories for the fans.