Lust Stories was released in 2018, and since then, we have been fans of this entire concept of four filmmakers coming together and making their own short films based on a similar theme. The ensemble of directors included Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibaker Banerjee, and Karan Johar in the first film and this time, a different set of directors brought forth their stories. I believe what sets Lust Stories apart is that the filmmakers have the liberty and freedom to envision whatever they seek and additionally tread on uncharted territories without fear of not being able to achieve commercial success. This is one of the boons of Netflix because I cannot imagine such an anthology being released in theaters or even on TV channels. The filmmakers have an opportunity to speak their hearts out and show the audience the world from their perspective. But more than that, they get a chance to be unabashedly absurd, indulge in unsophisticated thought processes, ask difficult questions, put the morality of society to test, make people uncomfortable, remove the veil of pretentiousness, and show how easy life would be if we were not scared to ask the right questions.
The first short film of the lot is directed by R Balki and stars the vivacious Mrunal Thakur as Veda, Neena Gupta as Veda’s way too blunt and progressive grandmother, and Angad Bedi as Arjun, Veda’s fiancée, who likes to go by the book and has his entire life planned for himself.
What Happened When Veda And Arjun’s Family Met?
Veda and Arjun were about to get married to each other, and everything seemed to be perfect. It was an arranged marriage, and both families knew each other for a long time. The parents had never thought of getting their children married, but one-day, Dabbu and Chikku, Arjun and Veda’s fathers bumped into each other in the market after 12 long years. Chikku invited Dabbu over, and that’s when he saw the Veda for the first time. At that time, even Dabbu must have been looking for a bride for his son, and it struck him to ask his friend if he was open to the idea. Veda and Arjun met through their parents, and for three months, they tried to get to know each other.
Arjun and Veda were quite similar in many ways, but still, three months was a short period to know whether they would be compatible or not. But the family wasn’t concerned about that; they were happy with the fact that they both liked Chinese, and they conveniently refrained from asking anything that actually mattered. Nowadays, families are pseudo-progressive, where they pretend to understand that the times have changed and that women need to be treated in a different way and given much-deserved respect, but deep down, their expectations are still pretty much the same. They want the girl to be a certain way; they have problems with what they wear, and moreover, in a very subtle manner, they always keep themselves in a position from where they could influence the actions of the girl while making it look like she acted on her own accord. This is where the problem lies, and we believe that it is even worse than having a totally regressive mindset.
It is a known fact that when you are sitting in between two Indian families, you have to pretend that the entire concept of procreation and the acts involved in it do not exist in this world. Even so-called modern families think twice before entering that territory, as the topic is considered to be obscene and vulgar. But Veda’s grandmother didn’t know any such thing and she was like a bomb that was ready to explode and break through these stereotypes to address the issues that were important. Grandmother abruptly asked Veda if she and Arjun had slept with each other. The parents were shocked, the kids were embarrassed, and nobody had any idea if that was a slip of the tongue or if the grandmother was insane enough to ask that question intentionally. Veda’s grandmother repeated her question in case people didn’t hear her, and that’s when Chiku tried to intervene, but to no avail. The damage had been done, and it took a lot of time for the parents to forget the incident and focus on the upcoming wedding.
What Point Did Veda’s Grandmother Want To Make?
Well, the point that Neena Gupta’s character wanted to make was pretty simple: when marriage is considered to be such a sacred bond, why don’t we make sure, before entering into it, whether we could be happy with the person and if the relationship was going to be sustainable or not? The grandmother was talking through her own experiences, and she told Veda that if she wanted her relationship to not reach a point where everything became mundane, then she should first have slept with Arjun and see if they were compatible and, more importantly, if she enjoyed the act. Veda told her that having a good physical relationship might help the marriage, but it was not everything.
The grandmother agreed with her and said that it might not be necessary that if someone has a good sexual relationship with their partner, then their marriage will be a success for sure, but for a successful marriage, it is one of the most important prerequisites. The grandmother told Veda that a chunk of people, their families included, suffer from a poverty of thought, and they want to avoid the real issue, which is why the problem arises. She said that the foundation of any relationship should be strong, as only then one can expect to survive any kind of calamity and not reach a point where you just want to end things. Veda took her advice and shared an intimate moment with Arjun before they tied the knot and got married. The grandmother gave a very important life lesson that is actually applicable in each and every sphere of life, i.e., being embarrassed is always better than not speaking up and then being depressed one’s entire life. At the end of R. Balki’s film, Veda and Arjun got married, and probably in retrospect, they would have been thankful to their grandmother for sharing that piece of wisdom.