Netflix’s highly praised collection of short films, Lust Stories, has returned for its second season. This year, the anthology film features short films directed by R Balki, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Sharma, and Sujoy Ghosh. It was released on the 29th of June on Netflix, so naturally, I binge-watched it in a day. Let me break down my experience for you. I really did skip past the first short film. Fast forward button was a good friend. When I and my partner arrived at the second film, we quickly realized that it was Konkona Sensharma’s very rare exploration into direction, and boy, did she not disappoint! So I decided to write this PSA. I want to talk about her short film, how good it was, why I would highly recommend it, and why Konkona has been the voice of the middle class for well over a decade and I’m here for it.
So, the short film starts at around the 27th-minute mark of the film. You can feel free to fast-forward till then. Very soon, you’ll realize the story is about two women around the same age from the working class, living dramatically different walks of life but somehow finding themselves connected by their needs for love, sex and desire. They discover their sexual awakening in an unconventional manner, feel ashamed of it, and mutually come to terms with it. Tillotama Shome and Amruta Subhash deliver impressive performances in this twisted tale of finding connection in this urban jungle.
How good was the short film? A solid 8/10, in my opinion. It visually looked great, the characters and the cast didn’t seem an inch out of place. Tillotama Shome and Amruta Subhash absolutely grip you in their dysfunctional symbiotic relationship of ‘kaamwaali’ and ‘madam ji’. It is deeply rooted in reality, right from the very first frame. The story moves along at an enjoyable pace, has an epic standoff between Tillotama Shome’s and Amruta Subhash’s characters that are bound to give you the chills, and a sweet modern fairytale type of ending.
For me, where it lacked maybe was the low exploration of shot taking. The staging and lighting in each scene were excellent but the visual impact in pivotal plot points was something that could elevate this already great short film. The background score could be better, something that compliments this iconic story. The internet agrees. The story and the script were so good, you’d wonder why no one has explored this before on the screen.
On @konkonas's THE MIRROR, her entry in LUST STORIES 2. 🧵— Devarsi Ghosh (@devarsighosh) June 29, 2023
It is a short film that will make other filmmakers and screenwriters bite their fists thinking, why didn't or couldn't they ever come up with something like this. pic.twitter.com/LfvszO9nXO
In comparison to the other films in this year’s Lust Stories release – Konkana’s short film was smart, fun, dramatic, and most importantly, it checked the boxes for this show – it represented love, sensuality and desire. The ‘lust’ aspect of the story was well-crafted and the sensual scenes did definitely deliver on the show’s promise. So, yes – my reader – I highly recommend watching it without your family. But you guys already knew that. So, take that evening off your schedule. Put those kids in bed. Konkana Sensharma’s and Amit Sharma’s directed films (starring Kajol) are a must-watch. Watch them. You’re welcome.
I was introduced to Konkona Sensharma in Mr. & Mrs. Iyer. And then reintroduced to her through the multitude of characters she has played: Page 3, Life In A Metro, and lest we forget, Lipstick Under My Burkha. The characters she has played and the stories she has told over the last decade have been very close to my middle-class heart. In a time when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class get taxed to oblivion, the middle class of India is largely forgotten. And for all the good things, Konkana’s work does make the middle class feel seen in a weird way. A short film that looks & sounds like my day-to-day. A film that showcases the chinks in all our amour, championed by the voice of the middle class of our generation, Konkona Sensharma.
Konkona Sensharma’s short film in Lust Stories Season 2 stands as a shining example of her directorial and storytelling expertise. Her ability to delve into the complexities of human desires and societal expectations is commendable, solidifying her position as the voice for the middle class. With its thought-provoking narrative and powerful execution, this short film was the best addition to Lust Stories Season 2 and a testament to Konkona’s undeniable talent as a filmmaker. It is a must-watch for anyone seeking an insightful and engaging cinematic experience.