Four top directors of Bollywood came together to explore the concept of lust and they ended up choosing female protagonists. Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has directed one of the four stories in the anthology film and he says that the reason could be that men’s lust is “boring and typical”.
Lust Stories is a Netflix movie which brings together four short films, directed by filmmakers Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar.
All the films talk about female desire through several characters; a teacher-student relationship in Kashyap’s, the relationship between a maid and her employer in Zoya’s film, a woman’s extra-marital affair in Dibakar’s and a newly-wed but unhappy wife in Johar’s short.
“It was by chance that the protagonists are women. In our country, when you talk about lust, men’s lust gets so boring, it’s typical, it’s reduced to a sexual desire. We didn’t want to address it like that. In a country which has so much repressed sexuality, where a woman is not supposed to have lust, I think that’s why somewhere all of us chose a woman as the protagonist,” Kashyap told.
Kashyap’s short film is about a married college professor, Radhika Apte, who enters into a sexual relationship with one of her students (played by Sairat fame Akash Thosar).
While Apte’s character, Kalindi, wants to have “life experiences” and hates the thought of men getting clingy after an intimate encounter, she soon starts contradicting everything she says in the course of the 30-minute comedy short.
Kashyap said he was inspired by his women friends for the story and developed it with Radhika Apte, who also shares the writing credit on the project. “There is some incredible trust that we have, I’ve done three shorts with her. The amount of trust she gives me, I get it from very few actors. I get it from Nawazuddin and Radhika. I feel I can push her anywhere. She is very honest. I throw things at her and she bounces it back,” Anurag said.
In the film, Kashyap has used the fourth wall technique with the protagonist.
“We went like that. I got her into a conversation and then shot it.”
He praised Apte for being “comfortable with contradictions.”
“A lot of actors judge themselves when they play something like that. They all want to come across as a good person. They never become real. It’s all about wanting to be the good one.
“A man wants to be a Ram, a woman wants to be a Sita. Nobody wants to play it real with their contradictions, vulnerabilities, weaknesses. Radhika understands that.”
Anurag Kashyap said there was no script for the short. What one sees on screen is a result of “bouncing off ideas at each other.”
“Even Akash trusted me, that if this is your process, I’ll become a part. Everybody wants characters to be defined with certainty, that this person knows what he/she is talking about. But here, we are like ‘this person knows what she is talking about till she talks about it the next time.’
“She has so many versions, and all so self-serving and Radhika was comfortable doing that. We were laughing while doing it.”
Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP, which made Love Per Square Foot for Netflix, has also produced Lust Stories with Ashi Dua of Flying Unicorn Entertainment. The film will premiere on the streaming platform tomorrow.