Before Lust Stories 2, let’s get back to square one. In Lust Stories first edition, the anthology kicked off with Anurag Kashyap’s episode – a phenomenal start, indeed.
Let me paint the picture:
If I’m not wrong, the opening scene featured Radhika Apte, head out of a car, basking in a nostalgic Bollywood tune. Street lamps illuminated her face, her hair waving in the wind, and she’s laying lazily, looking at her young lover, You get all this in one long shot of a taxi cruising on a quiet, lit-up highway at night.
Isn’t it making you see the picture? Can’t you feel what the character’s going through? No dialogues, but it still speaks to you. That’s my first metric for assessing a film’s quality. How much it speaks to you without dialogue.
After this scene, there’s a chat where Radhika Apte asks her boyfriend if they’re alone at home. He says only grandma’s home, and she can’t hear well. Then they’re in his room, talking about the books on the shelf, sharing thoughts. You can tell loads about the characters from this conversation. Kashyap uses the setting and dialogue to peel back layers of the characters. There’s a lot of talking, mostly by Radhika, but none of it’s senseless.
Why am I talking about Lust Stories 1 while writing about the second edition? Because that’s the easiest way for me to share my experience of Lust Stories 2.
Episode 1: Granny from the Future: Too Much Sex, Too Little Sense
Anurag Kashyap used the atmosphere and ambience to convey the emotions and used dialogue to portray the inner layers of the characters.
It’s not simply about sex or lust. The characters are not talking sex or f*** a lot of times; they are talking about their anxieties, which might be yours as well, and they are unveiling the deceptive covers in front of you. In the first episode, when Radhika Apte asks you, How can you expect one person to be everything, your friend, your lover, and your wildest fantasy? you will be able to empathise with the character Kalindi and be convinced that Kalindis exists.
In Lust Stories 2, everything is flipped. We start with R. Balki’s episode with a granny from the future, or maybe another planet. The episode is all sex or fuck. It feels so fake, full of cringe dialogue. Why did they pick this as the first episode? It made me want to stop watching. But after a break, I gave the second episode a chance. Balki should have made some notes from Anurag Kashyap’s Lust Story episode, especially on world building, character sketching, and dialogues.
Episode 2: A Peek into Hidden Emotions, Konkona Sen Sharma’s Lust Story
In Lust Stories 1, the second episode is from Zoya Akhtar, another great talent. It’s about a relationship between a domestic worker Sudha and the man she works for. It’s a subtle, simple story that leaves a question at the end. You can see that Sudha has almost no dialogue, but you can see her transformation, her anxieties, and, in the end, her acceptance of a hard truth.
In Lust Stories 2, the second episode by Konkona Sen Sharma is very similar to what Zoya did; it is subtle, with almost no dialogue between the main characters except a short tirade. The episode ends with a superb commentary on voyeurism and how some emotions can only be limited to being kept under the wraps. Tillotama Shome nailed it, and I was so happy to see her again in the Night Manager today.
Episode 3: Lots of Lust but a ‘lustful’ Misfire
In Lust Stories 1, Dibakar Banerjee crafted the third episode, and it has a strong message for women. It is about Reena, who is in an extremely unhappy marriage with a businessman. She stuck in her roles as wife, mother, and lover, unable to assert herself as an individual. A single line of dialogue from Reena is enough to understand what’s going on; she says, “You need a mother, not a wife, and I cannot be that.” The movie questions the institution of marriage from a woman’s perspective.
But in ‘Lust Stories 2’, the third episode by Sujoy Ghosh is just a show. Lots of kissing and cleavage, and then a predictable twist. I couldn’t figure out what it was trying to say. At least they should have tried to remove that cliched backstory, which would have helped them make the climax better. If you are a Tamanna fan, go for it; otherwise, just watch the first 5 minutes and the last 10 minutes of the episode.
Even Vijay Verma couldn’t save this one as he did in Dahaad, I believe. By the way, I believe Jenniffer Piccinato is going to be a most searched term after Lust Stories 2. Her video call in this third episode added more Lust than the writers did.
Episode 4: Predictable Fairy Tale, Saved by Kajol’s Eyes
In Lust Stories, Karan Johar surprised me with the last episode. Among philosophical takes and social commentaries, he presented a simple yet thoughtful comedy-drama. But Lust Stories 2 ends with Amit Sharma’s episode trying to be a dark fairy tale and ending up just being dull. The only good thing was Kajol and her beautiful eyes.
There is actually nothing much to explain about Lust Stories 2. The endings or plot points are pretty straight, and if you are still looking for ending explained posts, you should really evaluate your cognitive skills.
In the end, I believe ‘Lust Stories 2’ may disappoint you. They messed up the brand with an amateur job.
Asur season 1 presents a fascinating blend of mythological lore and modern-day crime. In this blog post, I will explain the reasons why Asur season 1 stands out, highlight the cast and performances, and provide a recap of the episode-wise plot points.This will serve as a refresher for those who are eagerly anticipating the release of Asur season 2.
The series has made a significant impact on the Indian web series scenario due to its unique concept and storytelling, which blends two very contrasting themes – ancient Indian mythology and modern forensic science – into a compelling narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
What sets Asur apart is its innovative use of mythology in a crime thriller. The show introduces us to a serial killer who commits horrifying murders while drawing inspiration from ancient Hindu mythological texts.
The philosophical underpinnings in each episode, particularly the dichotomy of good and evil, add a deeper layer to the narrative. It’s not just about catching a criminal; it’s about understanding human nature and the inherent capacity for both good and evil within us all.
Asur season 1 Cast: Worth Applauding
The performances in Asur are top-notch. A notable digital debut is made by Arshad Warsi, known for his comedic roles, as a no-nonsense forensic expert. His portrayal of Dhananjay Rajpoot (DJ), an intense and egoistic senior forensic expert, is refreshing and showcases the versatility of the actor.
Barun Sobti impresses as Nikhil Nair, a forensic expert-turned-teacher, grappling with personal and professional conflicts. His performance successfully conveys the internal struggle and dedication of the character to his craft. The engaging narrative of the series is further elevated by the commendable performances of the ensemble cast, including Ridhi Dogra, Anupriya Goenka, Amey Wagh, and Sharib Hashmi.
Story of Asur Season 1
Asur Episode 1 – The Dead Can Talk
It’s 11 years ago in the holy city of Varanasi. A young boy, son of a priest, is being readied to take on his father’s role. But things take a strange turn. After a ritual by the river, the father asks his son for water. The next thing you know, the father’s lifeless body is sinking into the river. We see the son again, his face smeared with ashes by a group of Aghori saints, and in his hand, he holds a cut finger. Could this be his father’s finger? Did he…kill his father?
Now, let’s zoom out of this mystery and travel across continents to the present-day FBI Training Centre in the USA. Here, we meet Nikhil Nair, who left his CBI job to teach forensic science. “The dead can talk,” he tells his students, alluding to how the deceased provide enough evidence to catch their killer. He’s good at his job, his knack for deductions proved when his friend asks his opinion on a murder case. But his past still calls him back to the CBI, particularly through an incessant Shashank Awasthi.
The Horror begins
Meanwhile, a gruesome scene unfolds in Delhi. A woman’s body, assaulted and burnt, is discarded in a jungle, reduced to a gruesome spectacle. This news reaches Nikhil, causing distress at home. His wife, Naina, isn’t happy about him considering going back to CBI, a place he left for their family. This disagreement spirals into a full-blown argument, revealing the cracks in their relationship.
The next morning, a new crime scene is discovered in Delhi, a body left in a terrifying state. Dr. Dhananjay Rajpoot, also known as DJ, arrives at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi. An old photo of him and his wife, Sandhya, hints at some history. A surprising twist comes in the form of a mysterious audio file from the killer, taunting DJ.
As the episode concludes, we see Nikhil taking a painful decision, leaving his family in the USA to return to Delhi. At the same time, a terrifying discovery is made – the woman who was brutally killed was none other than DJ’s wife, Sandhya, a devastating revelation that leaves us gasping for more.
Asur Episode 2 – Rabbit Hole
In the second episode of Asur, we go back 18 years, to the ancient city of Varanasi. We meet Shubh, a curious child who has a unique approach to studying the Gita, leading his stern father to label him as ‘Asur ka avatar’. Shubh’s peculiarity is on full display, especially after a disturbing incident with a puppy.
In today’s time, the CBI team, still reeling from the gruesome murder of Sandhya, who was a renowned painter and DJ’s spouse, takes on the challenging task of uncovering the mystery.
This mystery leads them far away to Nagaland, where another person is found dead in the same creepy way. This is where Nikhil enter the scene.
Enter Nikhil, a seasoned investigator brought in to replace DJ in this complex case. Past friction between Nikhil and DJ add an undercurrent of tension to the proceedings. Nikhil, in collaboration with Nusrat, a forensic expert, starts to put together the chilling puzzle pieces, all seemingly leading back to DJ.
Hidden GPS systems, late-night autopsies, peculiar tattoos, and Sandhya’s secret abortion start to shape a troubling narrative, pointing towards DJ as the orchestrator of the grim deeds. As DJ is led away in cuffs, the audience is left pondering – is he truly guilty, or just a pawn in a more sinister game? The suspense thickens as the real killer watches the spectacle unfold.
Asur Episode 3 – Peek – a – boo
In the third episode of Asur, a flashback reveals Shubh’s childhood intelligence and anger issues.
In the present day, Nikhil receives coordinates and assembles his team to investigate. DJ is imprisoned while the killer strikes in Kolkata, causing a death by poisoning.
The Delhi coordinates lead to a coffin factory, but no suspicious activity is found. Nikhil suspects a buried victim and discovers DJ’s fingerprints on the money from a previous case. George, a shop owner, goes missing, and Nikhil finds him unconscious in a car near a graveyard.
DJ warns Nikhil of imminent danger and reveals a personal connection. At the graveyard, the team discovers a coffin rigged with knives and gas, rendering them unconscious. A man in protective gear takes Nikhil to an unknown location, leaving the audience in suspense for the next episode.
Asur Episode 4 – Ashes from the Past
In the fourth episode of Asur, a flashback shows DJ’s presence during a havan(yagnam) ceremony where Shubh’s father is mysteriously poisoned.
In the present day, Nikhil goes missing, and his family arrives in India. Nikhil wakes up in a secluded place and communicates with the kidnapper through a landline phone.
Meanwhile, DJ receives old case files and analyzes them in jail. The kidnapper sends food to Nikhil but demands his cooperation to ensure his family’s safety. Nikhil observes the kidnapper’s characteristics and sees footage of his wife and daughter on television.
The kidnapper assigns Nikhil a task to suggest a method to murder Abhilasha Chandran, a woman involved in brain-mapping experiments. Nikhil proposes a plan involving a dental appointment and an MRI machine.
The kidnapper carries out the murder as instructed. CBI discovers another murder near a lake, prompting DJ to recall the suspicious incident in Varanasi. DJ joins the team at the underwater crime scene and suspects Nikhil’s involvement based on similarities to a past case. The episode leaves viewers questioning how Nikhil will communicate with DJ to escape the kidnapper’s clutches.
Asur Episode 5 – The Devil has a Face
In the sixth episode of Asur, a flashback reveals Shubh’s arrest for his father’s murder, with DJ working on the case.
In the present day, Naina learns about another victim and refuses to believe the theory that Nikhil might be the killer. Nikhil, disturbed by his actions, demands cigarettes from the kidnapper. Lolark seeks permission for DJ to work on the case from jail but is denied by Shashank Awasthi.
Nikhil watches the news about the neuroscientist’s body being found and becomes overwhelmed with guilt. Lolark visits Varanasi to gather information about Shubh and meets an ex-police officer. DJ attends a counseling session in jail led by Kesar Bhardwaj, where they discuss religion and karma. Awasthi finally permits DJ to work on the case, and a new team member, Samarth, joins. Lolark learns about Shubh’s peculiar behavior in jail before his alleged death in a fire.
The CBI team begins their investigation, and DJ realizes that the killer is using Nikhil’s family as leverage. Nikhil attempts to communicate by manipulating the television’s wiring. Samarth suggests studying the victims’ horoscopes, and Nikhil receives his second target, Aditya Jalan. Naina confronts DJ about the officers outside her home, and Lolark discovers Shubh’s records.
The episode ends with DJ recalling his interaction with Shubh during his arrest, hinting at a possible connection between Shubh and the killer.
Asur Episode 6 – The Firewall
Taking a different turn, the sixth episode of Asur begins with a flashback in Kolhapur, where a renowned painter narrates a story to his grandson about the defeat of the Asur Kali. However, the painter is brutally murdered by a masked man who claims to be sending a message to God.
In the present day, Nikhil plans to murder philanthropist Aditya Jalan, but struggles to breach his tight security. DJ contacts a Balinese mask instructor for information but learns that the instructor is blind. Nikhil battles with his past decisions and has an imaginary conversation with DJ for guidance.
Nusrat creates an age-progression photo of Shubh to see his current appearance. Lolark visits Shubh’s grandfather in Varanasi and discovers Shubh’s sketchbook filled with drawings of demons. DJ and Samarth consult a fake priest for horoscope analysis and later seek Kesar’s help. They learn that all the victims were born in the Delphinus constellation.
Another Hint & Hope
DJ realizes that the SIC database holds the required information and asks Rasul to breach its security. In a vision, Nikhil sees a way to murder Aditya using medicine. Rasul eventually hacks the SIC database with Naina’s assistance. Nikhil connects the television to a police walkie-talkie signal and continues studying forensic science books. DJ discusses Shubh’s story and sketchbook with Lolark.
The team suspects Aditya Jalan as the killer’s next target due to his charitable nature. The kidnapper calls DJ, confirming their suspicion and revealing the date of the planned murder. DJ wonders how the kidnapper obtained internal information. DJ and the team prepare for Aditya’s engagement with heightened security, but Aditya dismisses the threat. Rasul and Sajid attend the engagement, and DJ identifies a toy truck as a potential bomb.
The bomb detonates harmlessly in a freezer. However, the lights go out momentarily, and when they come back, Aditya is found dead, poisoned, with the killer’s Balinese mask nearby.
The episode leaves viewers intrigued about the aftermath of this incident.
Asur Episode 7 – Let There be Darkness
Straying from its usual path, the seventh episode of Asur, takes us back 10 years to Varanasi, where Nikhil visits Shubh in jail. Shubh refuses to admit his crime and blames DJ, leaving a cryptic message that they will meet soon.
The CBI struggles to recover from the failure to save Aditya Jalan. During Aditya’s autopsy, DJ and Nusrat discover that Nikhil used Aditya’s ulcer problem to poison him. Two additional non-toxic elements in Aditya’s bloodstream puzzle DJ, as they appear to be a message from Nikhil.
The kidnapper rewards Nikhil with cigarettes and hints at his omnipresence. DJ delves into Hindu mythology and consults Kesar for assistance. The team realizes that the killer targets achievers and believes himself to be the mythological devil Kali.
Nikhil has an imaginary conversation with Nusrat and recalls his past with Naina. DJ faces obstacles in the investigation, including a slow SIC server and the revelation that the podcast voice is not Kesar’s. Dhananjay(DJ) and Naina decipher Nikhil’s message, leading them to suspect Shubh’s involvement and an accomplice.
DJ decodes the meaning of two elements and sends teams to search corresponding coordinates in Delhi. Lolark suspects Kesar and provides DJ with a linguistic report. Naina tracks the killer’s search activity, and DJ requests Naina to add his name to the SIC database as bait.
The episode ends as the killer discovers DJ’s name in the database. The penultimate episode leaves viewers on the edge, anticipating the answers in the final installment.
Asur Episode 8 – End is The Beginning
The final episode of Asur takes us back 10 years to Varanasi, where DJ and Nikhil discuss Shubh’s case. DJ fabricates evidence against Shubh, leading to Nikhil’s resignation from the CBI.
In the present day, the search for Nikhil continues, and DJ anticipates the killer’s arrival at Central Jail to target him. The CBI discovers that Neeraj Jadhav, Radhika Venkatesh, and Umar Sayyed are missing, potentially the next targets. The kidnapper grows impatient, suspecting a trap set by DJ.
DJ becomes suspicious of Kesar and sends a team to his home. The three hostages are trapped in a chamber with limited oxygen, forced to fight for survival. DJ uncovers Kesar’s fake identity and his potential connection to Shubh. Rasul’s behavior raises doubt, especially when he attacks Lolark.
Nikhil escapes his confinement and collects crucial evidence from the kidnapper’s location.
A Big Revelation & A Twist
DJ manages to overpower the kidnapper in his room. However, during Shashank’s interrogation of Kesar, it is revealed that the kidnapper is part of Shubh’s cult.
The live broadcast shows the hostages’ desperate struggle for oxygen. DJ confesses his past fabrication to Shubh and takes pills in exchange for information.
Nikhil, Naina, and the backup team arrive at the chemical factory. Rasul challenges Nikhil to choose between his daughter and the hostages, resulting in a devastating choice. DJ’s condition worsens, and he is rushed to the hospital. Riya, Nikhil’s daughter, is poisoned by a member of the cult.
Lolark is killed by Rasul, and Radhika shoots Umar in a shocking turn of events. Naina and Nikhil find Riya dead, leading to an emotional outburst directed at DJ. Rasul, still hiding his true identity, takes Nikhil away.
The episode concludes with DJ’s suspension and the revelation that Rasul is the real Shubh.
Finally, the camera pans out as Shubh shares a chilling final gaze with DJ, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats and eagerly anticipating the next season.
Asur’s final episode delivers thrilling revelations and sets the stage for a potential second season, leaving viewers eagerly awaiting the future of the Shubh vs DJ and Nikhil conflict.
Modern Love Chennai- As a review, I would say Thyagarajan Kumaraja version of modern love, is a perfect weekend watch if you love to see the shades of romance.
This webseries is a challenge to the mainstream love stories that we are used to.
What’s striking is that each episode is a beautifully narrated tale from a woman’s perspective.
As a guy, it’s really nice to see love from a woman’s point of view. What’s really beautiful is how these stories grow, just like a flower blooming, and at the end, they spread the fragrance and make you smile.
The nostalgic background scores and music by Ilayaraja serve as a soulful thread, and keep you connected to Modern Love Chennai, making sure you feel a part of their world.
Lalagunda Bommaigal: A Tale of Trust, Love, and Betrayal
“Lalagunda Bommaigal” narrates the story of Shobha, a resident of multicultural suburban Chennai. The film, directed by Rajumurugan and featuring Sri Gouri Priya, Vasudevan Murali, and Vasundhara, begins with an abortion and then navigates waves of trust, love, and betrayal, sprinkled with a dash of dark humour.
Rajumurugan’s handling of the sensitive, dark subject, blending in dark humour without diminishing the pain and struggle of a woman, is commendable.
Nirav Shah’s exemplar Cinematography
In the first act of the movie, there is a dialogue: “You cannot live with men, but, you cannot live without men either”, and, in the climax, there is another dialogue “You cannot live with women, but, you cannot live without women either”. This summarises it.
One of the things that I loved most about the film was the cinematography by Nirav Shah. The empty roads, night shots, and transitions all reflected what Shobha was going through. Even the ending shot of the film was beautiful. It showed us the fulfilment that Shobha had finally found. Frames act like a shadow for Shobha’s emotions.
The music composed by Sean Roldan also helps us to empathise with Shobha. It was subtle yet pleasing.
Imaigal: Love Amidst Fear and Loss
“Imaigal,” navigates the life of Devi, who’s in love with Nithya while facing the fear of a retinal degenerative disease. Directed by Balaji Sakthivel and penned by Balaji Tharaneetharan, this episode stands out for its short-sweet yet meaningful narrative.
The episode focuses on Nithya’s fear of losing her sight and her love life. It beautifully captures the moments when Nithya and Devi support each other through their struggles. The episode is emotionally resonant and is a reminder of the fragile yet resilient nature of love in the face of adversity.
T.J BHanu & Yuvan Shankar Raja
Although the episode’s pace may seem a bit quick, it’s effective due to its well-written script and sincere performances by Ashok Selvan and T.J. Bhanu.
But I felt that he struggled to portray the character of a middle-class man as convincingly as T.J. Bhanu. This may be because Ashok Selvan is not typically cast in these types of roles, and he may not have had as much experience with the struggles of the middle class 😉
As a result, in the second half, there was a slight disconnect between him and the role, which made the couple appear somewhat mismatched on screen.
The music by Yuvan Shankar Raja fills in the silence with a depth of emotion, while the cinematography by Jeeva Sankar expertly catches subtle emotions with close-up shots. It’s a worthwhile watch, reminding viewers about the fragile yet resilient nature of love in the face of adversity.
Kaadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkura Emoji: A 90s Love Mashup
“Kaadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkura Emoji” is all about the romantic adventures revolving around Mallika, who is desperate for love. If you’ve seen the Malayalam movie “June,” you may find some familiar plot elements, as this episode feels like a condensed version of the same.
Directed by Krishnakumar Ramakumar and featuring a star-studded cast including Ritu Varma, Samyuktha Viswanathan, Pawan Alex, Aniiruth Kanakarajan, and Vaibhav Reddy, this episode is a sweet nod to 90s nostalgia. However, the writing by Reshma Ghatala comes across as average, with several scenes evoking a sense of déjà vu.
The story is about Mallika, a teenager who loves 90s romantic movies. She is obsessed with the scenes and dialogue, and she is eager to experience love for herself. She falls in love with different people at different stages of her life. Through these experiences, how her character arc changes and her perspectives about love evolve is the rest of the story.
A surprising Cameo and a Striking Dialogue
There is a cameo by Bhradwaj Rangan and it was hilarious and interesting. What makes this episode special is the reference of all those 90’s kids favourite romantic songs and multiple Maniratnam & Gautham Menon movie references. I felt like it’s a 1990-2000 love mashup.
One intriguing dialogue from Mallika caught my attention. She states, “there are no breakup songs for women in Tamil cinema.”
This line served as a humorous yet sharp commentary on a stark reality in the film industry.
Margazhi: A tale that Blooms Like Jasmine
Margazhi, is a heartfelt teenage love story directed by Akshay Sundher and penned by Balaji Tharaneetharan,and this is one of my favourites in recent times.
You can see Balaji’s signature in the dialogues and character development. The narration reminds me of European classics, with its slow pace, steady frames, poetic moments, and close-up shots.
The story is about Jazmine, who is depressed after her parents’ divorce. Her father suggests that she join the church choir to help her feel better. Despite being in the choir, she finds comfort in her earphones and the music of Ilayaraja. However, a silver line arrives in the form of a summer romance that dramatically alters Jazmine’s path.
Everything changes along Jazmine’s character arc – the backgrounds, landscapes, objects, and even color shades. I was truly amazed by the depiction of this transformation.
Sanjula Sarathi’s Spring, Summer, Fall..
In her debut role, Sanjula Sarathi is simply spectacular as Jazmine. Her performance shines in the close shots, She is so expressive in her close-ups. Particularly in one striking scene where she questions, “Why do you love me?” Her portrayal of the reflections and self-fulfilment is impeccable.
However, the real star of the show, beyond Balaji’s writing, is the cinematography by Vikas Vasudevan. The frames evolve like the seasons – winter, summer, spring, finally blooming into a beautiful cinematic experience.
Don’t miss Margazhi, it’s a beautiful teenage romantic film. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves teenage love stories.
Paravai Kootil Vaazhum Maangal (Gazelles living in a bird’s nest): A Forbidden Love
Do you recall the 1993 classic Marupadiyum by Balu Mahendra, featuring Rohini, Nizhalgal Ravi & Revathi? Or perhaps the iconic song “Aasai Athigam vachu“ by Ilayaraja from the same era?
Well, Paravai Kootil Vaazhum Maangal feels like a more compact, updated version of Marupadiyum. Directed by BharatiRaja, it’s steeped in the same intense emotions.
Pratheep Kumar’s dialogues might seem a tad dramatic, but they’re also poetic, adding depth to moments of character introspection.
The tale kicks off with Ilayaraja’s classic “En iniya Pon Nilave” song, setting the stage for the unfolding forbidden love between Rohini & Ravi amidst the Chennai metro station.
Kishore, Ramya Nambessan, and Vijayalakshmi deliver some standout performances in this episode. They beautifully fill the shoes of Ravi, Revathi, and Rohini, bringing these characters to life. Another shining star is the cinematography by Jeeva Sankar. The way he frames scenes set in the metro, at night, or within a room is captivating. The team’s use of darkness and night shades adds another layer to the storytelling.
Exploring the Labyrinth of Love
In Kishore’s (Ravi) own words, the theme of the episode can be summed up as, “It’s hard to discern when love will happen, or with whom, or even why. We never understood our hearts.”
The episode ends with a dialogue from Revathi about emptiness, which reminds me of Thulasi from Marupadiyum. It would be unnatural to find gazelles living in a bird’s nest. Rohini and Ravi are the gazelles here.
Ninaivo Oru Paravai (Memory is Just a Bird): A Modern Love
This episode is a real modern love story filled with all the required ingredients: pubs, smoking, wild sex, post-breakup traumas, and high-end philosophical talks.
Ninaivo Oru Paravai, directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja and starring Wamiqa Gabbi and PB, presents the tale of Sam & K. They’re a couple who subscribe to a “caveman” style relationship: “You are mine, I am yours, no god, no marriage, no rules”.
The episode opens with the soft melodies of “mella mella ennai thottu”, an Ilayaraja composition later used in Sarvam by Yuvan. As the couple stirs from sleep following a passionate night, the soft music, subdued room lighting, and red tones set the tone for the film and tell you to get ready for something dark, wild, and passionate, infused with both the sweetness of love and the bitterness of tears.
In a thought-provoking scene, K questions the fate of film characters after the movie ends, which feels like the director is posing these queries to the viewers. It reminds me of the character Mugil (Fahad Fasil) from Super Deluxe.
Philosophical Brilliance of Thiagarajan Kumararaja
This film talks about idealism (what we perceive as the “real world” is essentially a product of our mind) and direct realism. The brilliance of Thiagarajan Kumararaja is that he lets you experience the same (like Nolan’s Memento, where you feel what the character is going through). The storytelling method is so unique and blends beautifully with idealism.
In simple terms, Thyagaraja Kumaraja is playing a mind game with you, blurring the lines between a movie within a movie and two real-life characters.
The cinematography by Nirav Shah and Jeeva Sankar brilliantly enhances the film’s ambience, helping us to dig into the deeper layers of the scenes. The corridor shots in the hospital, the indoor shots of unfinished rooms, the close-ups of cigarette packs, the rain shots tinged with pink and yellow, all signal that this is a work by Thiagarajan Kumararaja. The pervasive darkness and red colour tones echo the episode’s underlying themes around idealism & realism.
Memory is just a bird, It is free and unbounded. It flits around, sometimes coming close and at times flying away, but it’s always a part of our world.
Modern Love Chennai Review: Final Word
Overall, considering a review of Modern Love Chennai, I would say it excels in execution and casting, even though not all episodes are great in their vision.
While many episodes were acclaimed for their dialogue and storytelling, some might have seemed cliché or overly familiar. More innovative and nuanced writing could have made these episodes stand out. For example, Ritu Varma’s episode, climax of first episode.
“Dahaad,” Sonakshi sinha’s new Indian web series on Amazon Prime, showcases a serial killer’s tale set in a small town in Rajasthan.
Created by Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar, the series is inspired by Cyanide Mohan’s real-life story.
Mohan Kumar, a former primary school teacher in Dakhina Karnataka region, confessed to poisoning and killing at least 20 women between 2004 and 2009, stealing their jewellery afterward.
Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar combo’s last thriller, “Talaash” (2012), was my inspiration to watch “Dahaad” on its release day. Talaash(search) was a promising search but Dahaad(Roar) is not Roaring that much.
Thrilling Plot with a dashing Villain
“Dahaad” follows the story of Anjali Bhaati, a sub-inspector in the small town of Mandawa, Rajasthan. She’s grappling with a disturbing pattern of women’s deaths that seem to be suicides but hint at something more sinister. These women all come from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds, facing domestic problems like dowry issues, compelling them to elope with lovers.
The common thread?
Their dead bodies are found in public washrooms.
Now, meet Anand Swarnakar, a charming literature professor, husband, and father, living a seemingly ordinary life. But beneath this façade, he’s the serial killer that Anjali is relentlessly pursuing. We, the audience, know this from the beginning, and our curiosity is piqued not by who the murderer is but by how Anjali will bring him to justice.
Who! Why! How! & Too Many Sub-Plots
Most thrillers tend to fall into the ‘whodunit’ category, while some focus on ‘how’ or ‘why.’
“Dahaad,” leaving viewers curious about ‘why’ or ‘how.’ Unfortunately, “Dahaad” seems to falter in this respect, failing to sufficiently intrigue or clarify these aspects.
The script is very close to the original incidents in 2009, especially the sub-plots around the fringe Hindu outfits, Mohan Kumar’s targets, and Dakshina Kannada Hindutva experiments, and those layers were successful in convincing the audience about the intensity of rumours and propaganda communications.
The series incorporates themes of casteism and patriarchy, but these elements feel somewhat forced and disrupt the narrative flow. Anjali, played by Sonakshi Sinha, is from a lower caste, and her experiences often come into the picture.
However, the incorporation of these societal issues somewhat slows down the pace and diminishes the thrilling vibe of the series.
The series also delves into the personal lives of the cops, a typical trope in cop thrillers. For instance, Pargi, a demoted corrupt officer working with Anjali, grapples with his wife’s pregnancy, leading to some melodramatic moments reminiscent of Tamil and Telugu films. This subplot does not blend well with the main storyline, further diluting the series’ impact.
The Many Faces of Sonakshi Sinha
Sonakshi Sinha’s performance as sub-inspector Anjali Bhaati in “Dahaad” is commendable, but there are a few areas that could have been improved:
Emotional Range: While Sonakshi portrays the strength and determination of Anjali convincingly, there are moments where her emotional range seems limited. Key scenes that require a deep display of emotion, such as anger, fear, or grief, sometimes come off as underplayed.
Character Development: While this is more of a script issue than a performance flaw, Sonakshi’s character isn’t as fleshed out as it could be. We don’t get a thorough exploration of Anjali’s backstory or her motivations, which limits Sonakshi’s ability to bring depth to her character.
Dialogue Delivery: Although Sonakshi delivers most of her lines effectively, there are instances where her dialogue delivery could have been more impactful. Particularly during intense scenes, her delivery doesn’t always match the gravity of the situation.
Vijay Varma: A Masterclass in Acting
Vijay Varma’s performance in “Dahaad” is one of the highlights of the series. As Anand Swarnakar, a literature professor who is also a serial killer, he is captivating and terrifying in equal measure.
Character Portrayal: Vijay masterfully embodies the dual nature of his character – a respected teacher and family man on one hand, and a cold-blooded killer on the other. The ease with which he switches between these two personas is chilling and keeps the viewers engaged.
Emotional Range: Varma displays a wide emotional range in his portrayal of Anand. Whether he’s playing the caring teacher or the ruthless murderer, his performances are always believable and evoke strong reactions from the audience.
Physicality: Varma’s use of physicality to convey his character’s emotions is exceptional. His body language and facial expressions perfectly mirror the mental state of his character, adding an extra layer of realism to his performance.
Screen Presence: Varma has a commanding screen presence that draws the audience’s attention. Every scene he is in becomes more intense and gripping because of his performance.
Why You Should Watch “Dahaad”
Engaging Plot: “Dahaad” provides an engaging plot that revolves around a serial killer and a dedicated police officer’s pursuit. The blend of crime drama and social themes like “Love Jihad”, gender disparities, and the exploitation of women, makes it a thought-provoking watch.
Vijay Varma’s Performance: Vijay Varma delivers a stellar performance as the literature professor turned serial killer. His portrayal of the character is captivating and chilling, making it a highlight of the series.
Cinematography: The series’ cinematographer, Tanay Satam, skillfully captures the landscapes and settings of the small town in Rajasthan, encapsulating the raw essence and tension of the story. The utilisation of natural light and atmospheric hues further enhances the authentic feel of the series, contributing to its overall aesthetic appeal.