Lust Stories offers a magnificent collection of unique tales exploring themes of love, adultery and, of course, lust, all set in India.
New to Netflix, Lust Stories bring us four unique tales, all exploring themes of love, adultery and of course lust. Set in India, each short story provides a fresh look into some of the problems that can arise in modern-day relationships.
Lust Stories delivers a truly beautiful and yet utterly messy look into the world of relationships. Although given the title of “Lust”, sex isn’t the more profound theme of the series of short films. More so are the ever so relevant subjects of adultery, class systems, obsession and female desire. Sex certainly plays a part in these tales but only as a minor provocation for narrative momentum. Nevertheless, Lust Stories is a truly entertaining piece, littered with situational comedy and endearing moments we can all heartily relate to.
Lust Stories is an elegant collection, aiming to empower women and explore relationship themes that are rarely spoken about in the Indian culture. Stereotypes are challenged and old fashioned views are given a platform to be addressed in a smart and honest way. Full of character and life, each woman is given a voice, a story, and a topic of meaning, and each woman is the absolute star of their moment. With consequential subtleties and eloquent overture, each story is paced so wonderfully. Lust Stories provides the audience with a laid back and joking style whilst also holding a sense of seriousness for the possible forthcoming consequences of our protagonist’s actions.
Personally, Lust Stories‘ most intriguing element comes in the form of incomplete resolution, where issues that arise are not exactly written out like a book, nor do they end like one, demonstrating the untidy nature of human relationships and reminding the audience that no matter how dire a situation or how momentous a scenario may seem, life goes on. Accompanying the lack of resolution also comes the absence of judgement. Where shame, guilt and remorse are glazed over, in their place comes acceptance and nonchalance, essential to maintain normality. This is incredibly refreshing; in a world of extravagant movies and fantastical imaginings, this dose of reality is pleasant and often relatable.
Lust Stories is also credited with four fantastic directors, each bringing their own signature and brilliance to the stories at hand. Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar, and Anurag Kashyap are dignified and delicate in their portrayals of the thought provoking stories. I must also congratulate the cast of Lust Stories, especially the leading ladies, for their stellar performances. These ladies are Bhumi Pednekar, Radhika Apte, Manisha Koirala and Kiara Advani, all bringing strong and diverse performances, showing the audience endearing and oddly inspirational women who do anything but follow social constructs.
Pednekar brings to life the character of a lower class housekeeper, fighting her urge to intervene when the man she loves, her employer, sets out to partake in an arranged marriage, soon to leave her behind. Apte plays a promiscuous woman who soon becomes dangerously obsessed with a student she slept with. She sets out to sabotage his chances at a relationship with other women, being selfish as she cannot date him herself as she is already promised to another. Koirala is dazzling in her performance of an independent woman, tackling her inner demons and trying to find the answer to her own desires as she chooses between responsibility to her family and the freedom to live as she wants. A curious story exploring middle-age thoughts and human nature to question “what if?” Last but not least Advani plays a naive and brilliantly funny newlywed. We follow her on a journey of self-discovery, and her venture into the world of female desire in the yearn for satisfaction.
Lust Stories overall is a magnificent collection of stories that are perfect for the more realistic romanticists or for those who just need a healthy dose of reality. Lust Stories demonstrates that nothing is truly the “end” of life as we know it, and the undeniable persistence of time ensures that life will go on no matter what the situation. A highly recommended watch as it is meaningful as well as witty, intelligent and amusing, a perfect combination to keep you intrigued, mindful and a little more carefree.