Luststories 2: cast and crew
Director: R. Balki, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Ravindernath Sharma, Sujoy Ghosh
Form: 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
Duration: 2 hours 12 minutes
‘Luststories 2’: Story
Four leading Indian directors explore sex, desire and love through short films in this sequel to the 2018 Emmy-nominated Lust Stories. Will the anthology be able to stimulate your inner senses as much as the previous part? Will there be more than lust shown in the movies? Will the directors be able to justify the central theme of lust and still tell something new and innovative? Well, for that you have to watch ‘Lust Stories 2’.
‘Luststories 2’: Performances
Vijay Varma is in a class of his own. He is a gem to be cherished. When he plays a character, he dives into it so deeply that not just his body language, but 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 continues that character so well throughout the movie that you’re absolutely in sync with what he wants to portray. The simplicity with which he plays the character is what makes it so clear.
Kajol is hands down the second best performance in the anthology. What’s so brilliant about her act is the nuances she brings to the character. Her facial expressions are enough to express the intentions she hides under her attitude. And that change of expression in the climax is so good it makes you wonder why we don’t get to see this side of Kajol in movies anymore these days. She’s just beautiful.
Not only does Tamannaah look super sexy, but her facial expressions are so appropriate that it will be hard for you to figure out how she executed the scene so perfectly. There isn’t too much depth to the character, but in a rather monotonous character, Tamannaah brings out what that character needs most: sex appeal extremely well. The oomph factor she brings out makes the character memorable.
Tillotama Shome has somehow always managed to do something innovative with the characters she picks up. Be it ‘Qissa’ or ‘Delhi Crime’, she has given an out-of-the-box rendition. Sadly, this isn’t one of those times you marvel at her portrayal. The character seems quite close to her as she executes it with utmost simplicity. The emotional ups and downs in the character bring out the best in Tillotama Shome, the rest is just pretty plain Jane for an artist of her stature.
Neena Gupta, once again in the role of Grandma, plays the bold and casual woman she is in real life to perfection on screen. She manages to convey the feeling of a regular grandmother, but the way she expresses her sexual exploits and talks so openly about fornication gives the character a really cool angle. It makes you feel like ‘Yeah, grandparents don’t always have to be portrayed in the stereotypically typical way. They can also be progressive 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 movie. He may have less screen time compared to his movie co-stars, but the intensity of his performance makes you realize the high-level intent of the punishment meted out for him. While the film is completely swallowed up by Kajol’s brilliant performance, her performance is only so good because an equally strong performance from Kumud Mishra comes in on the other side.
Amruta Subhash, as usual, has again been typecast in a character where she plays a character who comes from a low-income group. It’s about time we saw 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 if you don’t have too many dialogues in a script, you can still deliver a striking performance with your facial expressions and language use. She plays a perfect reluctant granddaughter who is about to get married and is receiving life lessons from her grandmother. Her expressions do the talking and the numerous coy smiles she has scattered throughout the storyline make you notice her act. Otherwise, her character doesn’t have too much to offer.
Why was Angad Bedi there anyway? He was just there as a prop throughout the movie. His character could have been done by any other good looking model or newcomer. He has, I think, only one line of dialogue in the whole movie. A total waste of his talent.
‘Lust Stories 2’: script, direction and technical aspects
Under directors R. Balki, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Ravindernath Sharma and Sujoy Ghosh, the latter two definitely tried to push the boundaries and gave more than what was the central theme. While Sujoy Ghosh gave a sense 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 screenplay of them and their team together has given lust a new meaning. While some of them have emphasized more openness and acceptance of the nature of lust, there are others who have tried to show societal ills through lust. It’s a great mixed bag that leaves you with a bittersweet taste at the end (no pun intended).
Tapan Tushar Basu, PC Sreeram and Anand Bansal’s cinematography are good. The locales they have selected are so beautifully depicted that you long for more.
The music of Raja Narayan Deb, Amit Pant, Sagar Desai and Subhajit Mukherjee is solid. While there isn’t too much space in anthologies like this, they’ve managed to deliver a decent 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 never leaves you feeling disconnected from the films. While all 4 movies are as different as chalk and cheese, the editing has produced a very nice amalgamation that takes you from one movie to the next and keeps you hooked on what’s to come next. A good decision was even the placement of the four floors. They started with the least favorite of the bunch and move on to improve stories one by one, eventually leading you to a fitting climate finale.
‘Lust Stories 2’: can children watch it?
While the first two stories of ‘Lust Stories 2’ are up for viewing, it’s the last two stories where we see the directors and writers push the boundaries of the core concept. That slight shove makes watching the movie purely orgasmic (pun intended). What’s also good this time is that all four movies 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 a Breezy One Time Watch for sure. I’m going for 3.5 stars.
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