The much-awaited Netflix anthology, “Ajeeb Daastans” released and netizens have poured out their love for the anthology with some picking out Neeraj Ghaywan’s installment ‘Geeli Puchi’ as the best, while others picked out Kayoze Irani’s, ‘Ankahi’ as the best.
There are four stories, the first one being, ‘Majnu’ directed by Shashank Khaitan, this installment deals with the prevailing patriarchy, how year after year men have used women to reach a position in society. The film deals with class and sexuality in a rather interesting or pulpy way. Jaideep Ahlawat does a great job, while the others are just.
The second story by Raj Mehta, called ‘Khilauna’, is a good take on the rich-poor class divide, it is a social commentary on how the rich treat the poor as their toy, and what happens when the latter does the same with the former. Bharucha plays a maid who takes up work in a man’s house who can give them back their power connection that has been cut off. Nusrat Bharucha and Abhisekh Kapoor are good in their roles, but Inayat Verma deserves a special mention.
The third installment by Neeraj Ghaywan, ‘Geeli Puchi’ is a beautiful short that deals with the complexities of love, sexuality, and the caste system that has very quietly crept its way into the systems. Two women dealing with their insecurities and fighting their own battles find a ray of hope and love in each other, but what happens after that, the notorious caste issues start crawling in and more complexities arise, leading to a rather surprising ending. Bharti is the heart of this short, with Konkona and her eyes doing all that talking, Aditi Rao Hydari imparts a sweet tenderness to her character.
The last installment by Kayoze Irani, ‘Ankahi’ would be my pick, it is my personal favorite from the whole anthology. Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul make up for the two pieces of a heart in this story that remains broken. This story has a lot of emotional depth to it, in aspects of failed marriages, infidelity, communication and so much more. Shots of Shefali Shah with Manav Kaul have been intercut with shots of Shefali Shah with her husband, showing how relationships or bonds do not need words, it just needs efforts and patience, this is surely the lightest and the most beautiful watch of this anthology.
‘Ajeeb Daastaans’ is a must-watch with the uniqueness it uses to portray different themes of love, sexuality, prejudices, caste, and class divisions.
Text by: Sreyoshi Sil, IBTN9