When it comes to the concept of anthologies, Netflix is pretty much leading the show. Every month or two they come up with anthologies that comprise of three or more stories. Some of the stories are a hit, some a miss. However none can be accused of lack of trying. Hence, when directors as accomplished as Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Chaubey and Saket Chaudhary come up with a story each that lasts around 30-40 minutes, you expect something exciting, especially from the core concept perspective.
At least for two of the three stories in this anthology at least manage to generate some interest, the ones from Ashwiny and Saket. The first could well have been categorised as kinky if put in the hands of an inept director. After all, this is a love story that develops between a migrant Abhishek Banerjee and an attractive mannequin in the garment shop where he works. However once the germ of an idea is established, there isn’t much movement and the turn of events are unconvincing. Yes, as a viewer you do acknowledge the pain of loneliness that a youngster feels in Mumbai. However what happens beyond that isn’t quite exciting, despite Abhishek doing well and the mannequin looking indeed like a ‘pari’.
As for the story by Abhishek Choubey, it doesn’t even get a start for itself, leave aside the definitive middle or end portion. Set in Mumbai of late 70s/early 80s when pulp fiction cinema ruled and B grade Marathi films found some audiences in dingy theatre which could well be unlicensed, this one is about a girl living in a chawl (Rinku Rajguru) who finds escape in the moving images on the big screen as well as the silent usher (Delzad Hiwale) who also doubles up as a projectionist, samosa seller and the floor cleaner. They both live their own miserable lives and even though there is a Sairat twist to this budding love story, the ending is bewildering, to say the least. Ok, so good marks to the filmmaker for not taking a convenient route but still the closure is, well, not quite a closure here. Even the performances are uniformly dull.
Things do turn better in Saket Chaudhary’s story which at least boasts of good production values, courtesy its urban setting while telling the story of people belonging to rich/upper middle class. Once Zoya Hussain and Kunal Kapoor realize that their respective spouses Nikhil Dwivedi and Palomi are cheating on them, they run an ‘imaginative investigation’ on what may have actually happened and what they could do differently from here on to fix their marriage. Though there are too many cinematic liberties in this whole imagination, you like what you see right till the point when you see an expected turn in the story. However, where the short film falters is in the third act as the tense drama meets a tepid end which is ordinary, when it could have been explosive. That said, this is still the best of the lot with performances also been well laid out for all four actors.
Ankahi Kahaniya suffers from the fact that expect for the third story, the other two are hardly plausible and moreover don’t quite have enough meat in there to be converted into a cinematic format that would have led to an entertaining end result. Skip it, and you won’t miss much.