Jaideep Ahlawat, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Armaan Ralhan, Nushrat Bharucha, Abhishek Banerjee, Inayat Verma, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shefali Shah, Manav Kaul, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Sara Arjun
Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta, Neeraj Ghaywan and Kayoze Irani.
Check out our review of the four short anthology films in Ajeeb Daastaans:
Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Armaan Ralhan
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Majnu is perhaps the most commercial of the four films. The film is a modern take on films like Sahib Biwi Ghulaam. A film that has been made several times over right from 1960s. Babloo Bhaiya (Jaideep Ahlawat) takes Lipakshi (Fatima Sana Sheikh) as his wife but clearly tells her she won’t be winning his heart. While she is not the most docile one to keep quiet at such a revelation on her wedding night, she still continues with the farce of a marriage. Till Raj Mehta (Armaan Ralhan) happens. What happens next is unexpected but barely so…
This portion of the anthology is saved by Jaideep and Armaan. Fatima Sana Sheikh gives a very mediocre performance, given the inspiration to this piece was a film like Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam which gave actress Meena Kumari, the chance to do her career best, Sheikh is a let-down. Though, the background song in the segment, remains with you.
Cast: Nushrat Bharucha, Abhishek Banerjee, Inayat Verma
Director: Raj Mehta
This is one of the darkest segments of the athology with Nushrat being a complete surprise. This portion tells us the story of Meenal (Nushrat Bharucha) who needs to get take of little Binny (Inayat Verma), financially, emotionally and mentally. It is not easy because Meenal is a household with very little means to sustain in the big bad world. And the foxes are never too far away. How she deals with the upheavals that life throws at her. Does she get played for, or toyed with – you will know once you watch. But this segment surely brings out the Ajeeb in the Daastaans. However, one does have to mention what a surprise Bharucha is. For someone who has never been a fan, she did leave me pleasantly surprised.
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari
Director: Neeraj Ghaywan
Neeraj Ghaywan is someone whose work we always look forward to. With films like Masaan and series like Sacred Games under his belt it is hardly a surprise that Geeli Pucchi is one of the most solid segments of the anthology. Ghaywan takes us inside a factory where Bharti Mandal (Konkona Sen Sharma) works as a labourer. The factory’s bahurani is Priya Sharma (Aditi Rao Hydari) From the trailers we can figure how the two form a fragile bond. A bond that transcends over the social divide and finds a common ground of respect and perhaps a little love too. However, what’s not meant to be, never can be! Ghaywan’s expertise come in the million nuances that this film actually throws at you. The small gestures, a little expressions – tell you what it takes to be a good director working with good actors. To add to the magnitude of this film is Alonknanda Dasgupta’s background score.
All in all, Geeli Pucchi is the big one of the four that gets the loudest applause.
Cast: Shefali Shah, Manav Kaul, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Sara Arjun
Director: Kayoze Irani
This one is the sensitive one of the four. Kayoze Irani gets his audience into Natasha (Shefali Shah)’s home which is crippling. Her plush house is falling apart as her daughter, Samaira (Sara Arjun) is going deaf. Natasha who has been a housewife, dedicating her life to her child and husband is struggling to find her way around sign language and such. But her husband is adamant, refusing to accept the fate of their child, refusing to learn the sign language, and refusing to be strength he should have been for his girls.
In an obvious turn of events, Natasha finds herself a friend in a mute photographer, Kabir (Manav Kaul) what happens next is predictable but beautiful to watch all the same. Simply because actors like Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul make you fall in love with their story.
Kayoze Irani’s debut clearly well supported by his cast.