New Delhi| Deeksha Sharma:

Ajeeb Daastaans

Ajeeb Daastaans Directors: Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta, Neeraj Ghaywan, Kayoze Irani

Ajeeb Daastaans cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Armaan Ralhan, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Abhishek Banerjee, Inayat Verma, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shefali Shah, Manav Kaul

“The course of love never did run smooth”: William Shakespeare

Contrary to the fairytales and storybooks, love is not always perfect with a happy ending. Instead, love is all about overcoming obstacles together, holding each other’s hands through all the peaks and valleys of life and never letting go.

Netflix's new anthology - Ajeeb Daastaans - takes you through the journey of love, elucidating the fact that if it is too easy, then it is probably not love. The four short stories will make you understand the contours of love like never before.

Ajeeb Daastaans begins with Shashank Khaitan's ‘Majnu’ that begins on a separation note where Lipakshi (Fatima Sana Sheikh), daughter of a strongman, gets married to Bablu (Jaideep Ahlawat) who is a rich landowner of UP’s Barabanki. The newlywed couple do not embrace love on their first night and instead talk about the compromise they did by marrying each other.

Three years gone, a handsome man who is set to join the Bank of London marks his entry into the lives of Lipakshi and Bablu and turns the tables by scratching the old wounds.

Jaideep Ahlawat reminds you of his famous Paatal Lok character Hathiram Chaudhary until the plot takes an engrossing twist. Fatima Sana Sheikh's acting is a plus one in the story. However, it is Armaan Ralhan who manages to steal the limelight in the story.

The second tale is titled Khilauna, which is written by Sumit Saxena and directed by Raj Mehta. This story stars Nushrratt Bharucha as a young maid (Meenal) who is in love with Abhishek Banerjee (Sushil), an ironing man. Inayat Verma (Binny) can be seen essaying the role of Meenal’s younger sister.

This short tale sheds light on the issue of class divide prevalent in our society and how the househelps experience the desirable difference between the life in those bungalows where they work in the day and the slums where they return only to get reminded of the struggles of survival.

Inayat Verma's performance comes as a saviour in this story and will make you smirk, laugh and spook in a way that you didn't even imagine. However, the story fails to make a mark.

Starring Aditi Rao Hydari and Konkana Sensharma, the third tale of this anthology manages to steal the show as it almost perfectly showcases how love faces hurdles in the form of societal issues of gender discrimination, taboo against bi-curious, and caste and class divide.

The title of the third story is 'Geeli Pucchi'. While the title is all simple and mushy, the story is exactly the opposite, filled with complexities and prejudices.

In Neeraj Ghawan's short story, Konkana is playing the role of Bharti, a machine man and as his boss calls her 'karigar'. Well, she is not only trained with machines but also holds a B Com degree. As she makes all efforts to get the job of data operator, Priya Sharma (Aditi Rao Hydari), a new joinee in the office, gets the position which Bharti had been eyeing for so long.

The story talks about the gloomy concept of 'Hum Jaise Log' for women who like each other but the social barriers keep them from expressing it to each other. It also highlights the minute details of how a Dalit is treated in a Brahmin patriarchal society; how she can sit in front of them but can not drink from the same cup as others; how she is invited to an office party, but ends up serving desserts to others as a ‘servant’.

While Konkana tends to overpower Aditi’s character in the story initially, the latter catches the pace with the innocence and charm as the plot moves forward.

The fourth and final story of Ajeeb Daastaans is Ankahi by Kayoze Irani, who has made his directorial debut with the Netflix anthology and seems to have done a brilliant job. The story stars Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul. Shefali is playing the role of mother of a girl who is soon going to turn deaf, and her only way of communication is sign language.

Shefali also shares a flawed relationship with her husband as he does not have time to learn sign language for their daughter. Manav is playing the role of a mute photographer, who does not say a word but speaks a lot with his photography and sign language. Eventually, Shefali and Manav meet and connect in a way that will make you believe in the concept of love. However, the abrupt ending will make you think - Do eyes lie?

The four short stories are tales of twist and turn but not all of them deliver the 'Ajeeb' twists. However, Neeraj Ghaywan's 'Geeli Pucchi' and Kayoze Irani's 'Ankahi' are worth the watch and a full paisa vasool deal.

Disclaimer: This movie review has been written by Deeksha Sharma, Sub Editor, Jagran New Media. The views expressed are solely of the author, and not of the organisation.

Posted By: Deeksha Sharma