By REEMA CHHABDA
Anthology: Ajeeb Daastaans
Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Armaan Ralhan, Nushrratt Baruccha, Inayat Verma, Abhishek Banerjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Konkona Sen, Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul.
Directors: Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta, Neeraj Ghaywan and Kayoze Irani
After gaining praises for 2018 released Lust Stories and 2020 released Ghost Stories, Karan Johar comes back with another anthology titled Ajeeb Daastaans. The four diverse stories of the anthology are directed by Kayoze Irani, Neeraj Ghaywan, Raj Mehta and Shashank Khaitan.
Featuring Jaideep Ahlawat, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Armaan Ralhan, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Inayat Verma, Abhishek Banerjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Konkona Sen, Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul, Ajeeb Daastaans shows four stories exploring different emotions involved in relationships.
Majnu is a direction by Shashank Khaitan. The story of this short film is based on the life of an unhappy married couple Lipakshi (Fatima Sana Shaikh and Bablu (Jaideep Ahlawat). Their lives take a U-turn when Rajkummar (Armaan Ralhan), the educated and handsome son of Bablu’s driver, enters their life.
Jaideep as goon Bablu did justice to his character. His looks, outfit and acting, everything was on point. Fatima is seen as a never seen before avatar and I must say she aces it with utmost perfection. Armaan Ralhan’s performance make him a perfect fit for his character.
Now, out of all four, if I have to select my least favorite, it would be Majnu. With such powerful performances, this short film could be much better if the script for this was strong enough. Shashank’s direction had nothing new to offer.
Although, a plus point for the background score.
The story of this Raj Mehta directorial is based on a house help Minal (Nushrrat Bharuccha) who’s life revolves around the happiness of her seven year old sister Bini (Inayat Verma). Minal is fed up of differences between societies rich and poor but dreams of a beautiful world with partner Sushil (Abhishek Banerjee).
With the on point body language and dialogue delivery, Nushrratt will definitely win your heart with her natural performance. Abhishek as dhobi aces his character with ease. The young girl Inayat is full of happiness.
Raj’s direction in this one is amazing. Khilauna’s twist at the end will definitely give you goosebumps.
Neeraj Ghaywan’s Geeli Pucchi is about the same sex love. Bharti Mondol (Konkana Sen) is a Dalit factory worker and Priya Sharma (Aditi Rao Hydari) is a Brahman data accountant. Both the ladies get different treatment in the same office based on their castes. However, Priya is scared to accept her truth about falling for the same sex person, Bharti decides to choose career over her love when she starts feeling how everyone treats her differently knowing about her caste.
This short film comes with convincing performances by Konkana and Aditi. Neeraj brings us the story with a unique concept which makes it a wonderful watch.
This one has to be the winner of Ajeeb Dastaans and my favorite of all four. Directed by Kayoze Irani, Unkahi is based on a complicated life & relationship that Natasha (Shefali Shah) is dealing with. Her ups and downs with her husband makes it difficult for her to think about herself as she’s busy prioritizing her deaf daughter so she doesn’t feel the absence of her father’s time. Natasha then meets photographer (Manav Kaul) who’s deaf and they fall in love. However, the end is not what you expect next.
Without having a single dialogue between them, Shefali and Manav’s chemistry is out of the world. Manav’s look, specially, makes you fall for him and his innocence.
Kayoze brings us a beautiful tale that needs no words, just expressions and emotions.
Watch it for the astounding performances and good stories.