Today, Netflix released the much-awaited anthology film Ajeeb Daastaans. Four talented directors from Bollywood have come together to weave these weird tales. The directors are Shashaikh Khaitan, Raj Mehta, Neeraj Ghaywan and Kayoze Irani. Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions has backed the film. The film is 2 hours 22 minutes long. Read our review to know if it’s worth watching or not.
Let’s start with the first story of Ajeeb Daastaans – Majnu by Shashank Khaitan. The film stars Fatima Sana Shaikh as Lipakshi, Jaideep Ahlawat as Babloo and Armaan Ralhan as Raj Mehta. Lipakshi and Babloo are in a loveless marriage because his father forced their union. Babloo doesn’t love Lipakshi, but he brutally punishes anyone else who tries to come close to her. When Raj enters their life, the unexpected happens.
Shashank Khaitan shows us the hypocrisy of men in society. He has presented us with a story of betrayal, love and revenge. However, it lacks the madness of Majnu and is predictable.
The second story is called Khilona by Raj Mehta. It stars Nushrat Bharucha as a housekeeper Meenal, Abhishek Banerjee plays her lover Sushil, and Inayat Verma plays Meenal’s younger sister Binny. Actor Maneesh Verma plays Vinod Agarwal, one of the houses where Meenal works. In this Ajeeb Daastaans, Raj emphasises the class difference, but the stereotypical portrayal of a housekeeper is a mood killer.
Despite having an interesting tale to tell, Raj Mehta’s story lacks a solid punch in the end. What stands out is its non-linear storytelling and the editing.
Neeraj Ghaywan’s Geeli Pucchi is my favourite segment in Ajeeb Daastaans. The story stars Konkona Sen Sharma as Bharti Mandal and Aditi Rao Hydari as Priya Sharma. Bharti and Priya work at a factory where they are the only two women. But that’s not the only issue. Despite being capable enough to get a desk job, Bharti is made to do the machine work because she is a Dalit. On the other hand, Priya easily gets hired because of her Brahmin background.
Neeraj Ghaywan has touched the problems of casteism, sexism, and sexuality with different layers in Geeli Pucchi. Konkona Sen Sharma’s performance is applaudable. Aditi Rao Hydari does a phenomenal job, too, especially with the behavioural shift in her character Priya towards the end. Sometimes, you have to manipulate your way into getting something you always deserved because society doesn’t see you as worthy.
Ajeeb Daastaans last story is called Ankahi by Kayoze Irani. The segment features Shefali Shah as Natasha, Manav Kaul as Kabir, Tota Roy Chowdhury as Rohan and Sara Arjun as Samaira. I think the makers had given away most of the story in the trailer itself. Hence, there was no surprise element in it. Yet, the endearing performance by Shefali and Manav will win your heart.
In Kayoze’s story, Natasha and Rohan have fights often because he doesn’t take time to learn sign language to communicate with their daughter. When Nats meets Kabir, who can only communicate with sign language, she feels a sense of comfort. I don’t know how to put this, but along with the performances, the sign language conversation between Natasha and Kabir won my heart. They have some meaningful exchanges in the film.
Sadly, the music of the film doesn’t carry any magic with it.
Ajeeb Daastaans: Is it worth it?
Overall, Ajeeb Daastaans has few highs and some lows. For me, Neeraj Ghyawan’s Geeli Pucchi is the winner. Having said that, every actor in the Netflix anthology has given a good performance. It can be your perfect weekend watch because you may never know which twisted tale will stay with you.
Ajeeb Daastaans is currently streaming on Netflix.
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