Name: Lust Stories 2
Director: Sujoy Ghosh,konkona sen sharma
Cast: Angad Bedi,Mrunal Thakur,Neena Gupta,Vijay Varma,Kajol devgn,Tillotama Shome,Tamannah Bhatia,Amruta Subhash
Rating: 3 / 5
Five years after the initial release of Lust Stories, directed by Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, and Karan Johar, we now have the pleasure of experiencing the second installment of this anthology franchise. Lust Stories 2, helmed by Konkona Sen Sharma, R Balki, Sujoy Ghosh, and Amit Ravindernath Sharma, explores the themes of love, lust, and desire. In this Netflix-backed show, each director presents a unique short story. Here’s my take on the four stories comprising part 2.
Lust Stories 2 opens with Balki’s approximately 25-minute film, featuring Mrunal Thakur, Angad Bedi, and Neena Gupta. Neena Gupta’s character advocates for the importance of sexual compatibility in a successful marriage. Konkona’s short film follows, starring Tillotama Shome and Amruta Subhash. Set in the bustling metropolis, this story delves into desire, fantasy, and the lengths one goes to fulfill their yearnings. The third installment, directed by Sujoy Ghosh, masterfully combines thriller elements with the theme of lust, centered around an unfaithful character. Amit’s segment, which runs a little over 30 minutes, stars Kajol and Kumud Mishra and narrates the story of Devyani Singh, her destined path, and the ultimate truth she must confront. Destiny has its own plans, after all.
One of the strongest aspects of Lust Stories 2 lies in its exploration of a variety of genres within its approximate 2 hours and 5 minutes runtime. Balki approaches the subject with humor, while Konkona delves into its darker side through the performances of Tillotama and Amruta. Sujoy maintains his reputation for delivering thrilling narratives in his portion of the film, while Amit combines suspense and intense emotions that leave the audience genuinely shocked by the end. The anthology reaches a cinematic climax, largely due to Amit and Sujoy’s contributions.
What I particularly appreciate in the last two stories is their use of lust as a central ingredient without solely relying on it. They elevate the narratives by combining this theme with other elements such as loyalty, passion, aspiration, greed, and treachery. Additionally, the background music in all four stories lends capable support to the narratives, and the settings in Amit and Sujoy’s films play a prominent role. Credit should be given to the directors of photography and production designers. The runtime is suitable, and none of the films feel unnecessarily prolonged or pretentious.
While Sujoy and Amit’s films venture beyond the theme of lust, Balki and Konkona’s shorts appear somewhat limited in imagination. They come across as more anecdotal than fully realized stories. For example, I was hoping that Balki’s directorial piece in Lust Stories 2 would explore the concept of “sexual compatibility in marriage” in a broader context, but it remains confined to that theme throughout. The same can be said for Konkona’s story. In addition to their anecdotal nature, I found it difficult to connect with the climax, as it seemed contrived for mere effect and reaction. It becomes evident when something feels forced. Furthermore, the inclusion of Mrunal Thakur’s English lines during conversations with her onscreen grandmother (Neena Gupta) felt unnatural. Perhaps the intention was to showcase a modern family, but for some reason, it doesn’t come across effectively and feels rather awkward.
Every actor delivers outstanding performances in their respective roles. Neena Gupta shines in Balki’s portion of Lust Stories 2, portraying her character with grace. Angad Bedi and Mrunal Thakur offer
pleasant performances, while Tillotama Shome and Amruta Subhash truly embody their characters. Amruta, in particular, stands out in her role. It’s surprising that Tamannaah Bhatia and Vijay Varma were not paired together earlier, as they not only make a great onscreen duo but also deliver exceptional individual performances. Finally, both Kajol and Kumud Mishra excel in their roles throughout the anthology. Keep an eye out for the range of emotions Kajol portrays by the end of the film, and how they shift with each change in the scenario. It truly speaks volumes about her acting prowess.
Despite a few lackluster portions, Lust Stories 2 as a whole is an entertaining and engaging anthology.