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Ankahee Kahaniyan, Interesting Trio Of Stories, 2 Winners, 1 Turkey



Ankahee Kahaniyan

Ankahee Kahaniyan (Netflix)

Directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Choubey, Saket Choudhary

Rating: ***

One  of  the  three stories that constitute this  quaint compendium  is  so above the other two, and then one of them so awful  that  we are left  with  mixed feelings.

First , the  stand-out episode  directed  by Abhishek Choubey (none of  three episodes have  titles). Choubey who is making a  habit  of oustaging his  peers  in anthologies (remember his Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa in Netflix’s Ray?)  gives us a haunting working class romance set  in  the  1980s. It is  a massive triumph  of  construction bringing together two nondescript wretchedly hopeless  young people  who liberate one another from the shackles of their dark destiny and then  fly off in different  directions. The performances by Rinku Rajguru and  Delzad Hiwale (he had played Irrfan’s younger version  in Hindi Medium) are so clued into the theme of  desperate escape  that  they make you forget that they are mere  actors in the show.

Choubey lovingly recreates  the sweaty excitement of  cinema-viewing in single theatres. After bringing the two  incurably unhappy derelicts together, Choubey tears them apart so noiselessly  we barely hear the sound of breaking hearts. This  segment  of the anthology is  a  certifiable masterpiece with  period details  and performing nuances that  demand a second viewing.

Even one viewing  of Saket Choudhary’s  meditation on  infidelity is   far too much to ask for. This  is a  pretentious , self-important  uninspired  piece with some  awful acting specially by one actor who is supposed to be the epitome of desirability  but is actually  just the opposite. Miscasting apart, the story  of  a cuckolded  husband and  betrayed wife, played by Kunal Kapoor and Zoya Hassan, getting together to  solve the  mystery of their spouse’s  combined  infidelity is  so  marinated in artifice and in  steeped deceptions that it all seems  like a  pretentious  pretext to  give infidelity a bad name.

While   Kapoor and Hassan  do a  passable impersonation  of  Sanjeev Kumar and  Jaya Bachchan  in  Yash Chopra Silsila, the sight  of another couple  lying side-by-side in bed in post-coital satisfaction is  the scariest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

 Finally Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s story  about a lonely  migrant in Mumbai working in a small clothes store named Delight Wear, who falls in love with a  new mannequin (luckily a female) could have  easily lapsed  into  a tragic-comedy. Abhishek Bannerjee as  the  loner in a  dummy relationship makes  the  character real believable  and poignant. But the  last act in the story where Banerjee explains what  loneliness can do to people in  the  cities considerably reduces  the emotional  impact  of  the  drama. We didn’t have to be told. We knew.

 By  the  way the  actress T . J .Bhanu  who plays Abhishek Bannerjee’s romantic  interest in the  village is so clued-in , and never mind the  limited playing time, she  makes  you forget the excesses  of  histrionic  self-importance that have seeped  the OTT medium.

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