Netflix’s Ajeeb Daastaans Review: Fresh tales of neatly packed stories of complex and fragile relationships
A compilation of four stories, set up in four different and unique contexts, all being nothing but a portrayal of flawed and fragile relations, coated in the abstractness of their own. And that’s perhaps why the name is ‘Ajeeb Daastaans’ and it won’t be wrong to call them all ‘love stories’. But not all love stories are mandated to have happy ends and so here, none of them are really about blooming love but are about complexities, confusions, and broken emotions in love. Unlike Ghost Stories and Lust Stories, both with contributions of Karan Johar, this anthology, Ajeeb Daastaans is one of a kind, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta, and Kayoze Irani. If you are looking for a detailed ‘Ajeeb Daastaans Review’ then let’s talk about each story one by one.
Netflix’s Ajeeb Daastaans Review of each story –
1. Majnu Directed by Shashank Khaitan
Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat and Armaan Ralhan
The first part of the anthology, ‘Majnu’ which literally means lover is loosely layered on the idea of marriage for political gains and power but in the subtexts of it, the layers of love, hate, power, identity, greed, and homosexuality are present. But the layer that remains sublimed till the end is the layer of revenge, which we see when the film ends on a decent, neat, and unpredictable note. While the characters of the story are slightly put to fit in stereotypes, the gripping story is fair enough to give an uncomfortable surprise.
2. Khilauna directed by Raj Mehta
Cast: Nushrat Bharucha and Abhishek Banerjee
Plotted on the idea of the class divide, this part of the film is a story of a housemaid and a ‘press wala’ (laundryman) well played by Nushrat Bharucha and Abhishek Banerjee. The film is a befitting portrayal of how the rich sees the poor and the poor sees the rich. The whole film can be summed up in both the dialogue of the female constable, in the end, saying, ‘Dono log ek dusre ko apna khilauna samajhte hai….kothi wale aur ye dusre, khatiya wale. But this part is certainly a little way too open-ended that it might end up disappointing you.
3. Geeli Pucchi directed by Neeraj Ghaywan
Cast: Aditi Rao Hydari and Konkona Sen Sharma
Well, this one can’t be ignored as there is a lot that intersects in the layers of this film. Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, the director of Masaan has this time taken up to represent the intersection of class divide and homosexuality. This part of the anthology is about complexities in relationships, in understanding sexual identities and emotions between these two women who are subliminally affected by the caste divide between them.
4. Ankahi directed by Kayoze Irani
Cast: Manav Kaul, Shafali Shah
Certainly, the finest of all the Ajeeb Daastaaans was the last on, ‘Ankahi’ which literally means ‘Unspoken’, making a lot of sense as a title as the characters in the film hardly speak as they are practising sign language as their mode of communication. This part is about the pretense in fragile relations parallel to which a loving relationship is developing but ends up with complexities of unsaid emotions. This part of the anthology definitely gets an extra point for the gripping emotional state it can put the viewer in.
So, overall, the acting performances are as good as they can be. The best of all the parts of the film is the end as the ends have been full of surprises, of confusion, and can even be seen as discomforting and overwhelming. Overall, the last story, ‘Ankahi’ and the second last, ‘Geeli Pucchi’ definitely stand out over the other two. Check out Ajeeb Dastaan on Netflix as is a must-watch.