‘Lust Stories 2’: Cast & Crew
Director: R. Balki, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Ravindernath Sharma, Sujoy Ghosh
Cast: Mrunal Thakur, Neena Gupta, Angad Bedi, Tillotama Shome, Amruta Subhash, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vijay Varma, Mukti Mohan, Jennifer Piccinato, Kajol, Kumud Mishra, Zeeshan Nadaf, Payal Pande, Anushka Kaushik
Available On: Netflix
Duration: 2 Hours 12 Minutes
‘Lust Stories 2’: Story
Four eminent Indian directors explore sex, desire and love through short films in this sequel to 2018's Emmy-nominated ‘Lust Stories’. Will the anthology be able to excite your inner sense as much as the previous part did? Will there be more than lust that’s shown in the films? Will the directors be able to justify the central theme of lust and yet tell something new and innovative? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch ‘Lust Stories 2’.
‘Lust Stories 2’: Performances
Vijay Varma is a class apart. He is a gem that needs to be treasured. When he plays a character, he delves so much into it that not just his body language, but just one look at him and you know what the character is. Varma’s eyes express in the first two minutes of the film that he is a nymphomaniac. He carries on that character so well throughout the film that you’re absolutely in sync with what he wants to portray. The simplicity with which he plays the character is what makes it come out so brightly.
Kajol is without a doubt the second-best performance in the anthology. What’s so brilliant in her act is the nuances she gets into the character. Her facial expressions are enough to express the intentions that she hides beneath her demeanour. And that change of expression in the climax is so good that you’re left wondering why don’t we get to see this side of Kajol more in movies nowadays. She is simply stunning.
Tamannaah is not just looking uber sexy, but her facial expressions are so apt that it will be hard for you to figure out how she actually enacted the scene so perfectly. There is not too much depth into the character, but in a rather monotone character, Tamannaah brings out exceedingly well what that character needs the most – sex appeal. The oomph factor she brings out is what makes the character memorable.
Tillotama Shome has somehow always managed to do something innovative with the characters that she picks up. Whether it was ‘Qissa’ or ‘Delhi Crime’, she has given an out-of-the-box portrayal. Sadly, this isn’t one of those times when you’re marvelling at her portrayal. The character seems quite close to her as she performs it with utter simplicity. The emotional ups and downs in the character are what brings out the best in Tillotama Shome, the rest it’s just quite plain Jane for a performer of her stature.
Neena Gupta, once again in a grandmom’s character, plays the bold and nonchalant woman that she is in real life, to utter perfection on screen. She manages to bring the feel of any regular grandmother, but the way she expresses her sexual exploits and talks so openly about fornication is what gives an altogether cool angle to the character. It makes you feel that ‘Yes, grandparents need not always be represented in the stereotypical quintessential way. They can also be forward and cool.’
Kumud Mishra is another performer like Vijay Varma, who manages to make you believe that he is that character and not the actor Kumud Mishra in the very first two minutes of the film. He might have a smaller screen time compared to his co-stars in the film, but the intensity of his performance is what makes you realise the high-value intent of the punishment that’s doled out for him. While the film is entirely eaten up by Kajol’s brilliant performance, but her performance is that good only because there’s an equally strong performance from Kumud Mishra coming in from the other end.
Amruta Subhash, as usual, has once again gotten typecast in a character where she is playing a character coming from a low-income group. It’s high time we get to see her play some other characters as well. There is no doubt that she is absolutely believable and too good in her performance, but there is nothing new or rather innovative in her act. Slightly disappointed.
Mrunal Thakur shows that when you don’t have too many dialogues in a script, you can yet give a standout performance with your facial expressions and language. She plays a perfect coy granddaughter who’s about to get hitched and is taking life lessons from her grandmom. Her expressions do the talking and the numerous coy smiles that she has spread across the storyline make you take notice of her act. Otherwise, her character doesn’t have too much to offer.
Why was Angad Bedi even there? He was just there as a prop throughout the film. His character could have been done by any other good-looking model or newcomer. He has, I think, just one dialogue throughout the movie. A total waste of his talent.
‘Lust Stories 2’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Among the directors R. Balki, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Ravindernath Sharma, and Sujoy Ghosh, the last two definitely tried to push the boundaries and gave more than what the central theme was. While Sujoy Ghosh gave a feeling of a horror story, Amit Ravindernath Sharma gave you a gripping thriller. Each has brought a different perspective to the core theme. The story and the screenplay by them and their team together have given lust new meanings. While some of them have emphasised on being more open and accepting about the nature of lust, there are others who’ve tried to showcase societal ills via lust. It’s a great mixed bag which leaves you with a bittersweet taste at the end of it (no puns intended).
Tapan Tushar Basu, PC Sreeram, and Anand Bansal’s cinematography are good. The locales that they’ve selected are so beautifully shot that you’re left wanting for more.
The music by Raja Narayan Deb, Amit Pant, Sagar Desai and Subhajit Mukherjee is decent. Even though there is not too much of a place in anthologies like this, they’ve managed to deliver a decent enough background score and an above-average opening theme song.
The editing by Urvashi Saxena, Nayan HK Bhadra, Sanyukta Kaza, and Chandrashekhar Prajapati is crisp and doesn’t let you feel disconnected from the films at any point. While all 4 films are as different as chalk and cheese, the editing has brought a very beautiful amalgamation that takes you from one film to the other and keeps you hooked for what’s going to come next. A good decision was even the placement of the four stories. They’ve started off with the one that’s the least favourite of the lot and move on to bettering stories one by one eventually leaving you with a fitting climatic finale.
‘Lust Stories 2’: Can Kids Watch It?
While the first two stories of ‘Lust Stories 2’ are watchable, it’s the last two stories where we see the directors and writers have pushed the boundaries of the core concept. That slight push makes the film’s viewing purely orgasmic (pun intended). Also, what’s good this time is that all four films can be watched with your entire family, and you won’t feel squeamish at any point. Overall, it’s a worthy sequel to the 2018 anthology and definitely a Breezy One Time Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.