Ankahi Kahaniya review – partially successful, go figure Love stories.

September 18, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
3

Summary

Ankahi Kahaniya is a Hindi-language film that starts as a steller anthology until it’s not.

3

Summary

Ankahi Kahaniya is a Hindi-language film that starts as a steller anthology until it’s not.

This review of the Netflix anthological film series Ankahi Kahaniya does not contain spoilers. 

Anthology films are so hard to pull off. Each story must be different but connected in some way in theme, setting, or storyline. The film is separated into three parts, while each chapter is titled after the directors. Ankahi Kahaniya spares no expense, bringing three well-known Indian directors (Abhishek Chaubey, Saket Chaudhary, and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari). The Netflix Hindi-language film, Ankahi Kahaniya, meaning “Untold Stories,” is fresh, different, even daring, until its final chapter dives into trope-filled mediocrity.

Part one is directed by Saket Chaudhary (Udta Punjab) and is by far the most interesting, even delightful. A young man named Pradeep (Abhishek Banerjee) has the worst case of schizoid personality disorder put on screen since Lars and the Real Girl. He awakens from his social interaction slumber when he finds love with Pari, a mannequin. You read that right.

Part two, directed by Abhishek Chaubey (Hindi Medium) about two teenagers seeking their first love. Manjari (Rinku Rajguru) and Nandu (Delzad Hiwale) are both trapped in stressful situations. Her family physically and mentally abuses her. She is also coming of age, yet not even 18. She keeps catching leering looks from her male neighbors. He is a hard worker who needs to take care of his alcoholic uncle.

Part three, directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (Nil Battey Sannata), is your soapy, almost Lifetime network film. Thirty-something’s Tanu (Zoya Hussein), is worried her husband, Arjun (Nikhil Dwivedi) is cheating on her. She runs to the hussy’s husband, Manav (Kunal Kapoor), and they team up to investigate. They come together by betrayal.

The first sections of Ankahi Kahaniya couldn’t be more different. Each tells a uniquely different story about love, loneliness, and companionship. Abhishek Banerjee, by far, gives the film’s best performance. He brings a layered mix of social awkwardness, tender earnestness, and a blunted psychotic break that gives the movie the pulse it needs. Chaubey’s section is by far the darkest and most realistic of the culture. Fueled by poverty, abuse, and despair, it looks at young, impetuous love, akin to The Graduate, where the dance is more exciting than the finish. It’s a superior short from a gifted filmmaker.

The film loses its luster in the final section, which is a massive disappointment considering it’s coming from Tiwari. She is an award-winning comedy director for the movie Bareilly Ki Barfi. After two such unique storytelling, her narrative is in line with most Lifetime films. It’s soapy, cheesy, and lacks an authentic voice. She decided to go in a different direction to show her flexibility, and it failed the film miserably.

Ankahi Kahaniya falls short of Netflix’s far superior Hindi-language anthology film, Lust Stories. A movie that pushed the boundaries of conservative East Indian culture regarding sex with often hilarious results. All of those parts had a connected, seamless feel. The producers attempted to wrap the film up with a trope cliche that wasn’t as mature as they planned to appease a mainstream audience. 

I tend to make an exception for anthology films. Primarily if the more parts work better independently than the film does as a whole. Ankahi Kahaniya (“Untold Stories”) is worth watching because of the first two unique films. Even if we wish the final section remained unspoken.

What did you think of Netflix anthological film series Ankahi Kahaniya? Comment below. 

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