‘ANKAHI KAHANIYA’ MANAGES DECENTLY TO GET THE POINT ACROSS

Rating: 3.5/5
Acclaimed directors Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Chaubey and Saket Chaudhary come together to make a statement about love and liberation combined

Seems Netflix loves anthologies. So does the producer Ashi Dua. One more Netflix anthology. One more reason to cherish content. The main treason for you to watch Ankahi Kahaniya is the team of directors. Three stories. Three different tales of how love is twisted yet very much rooted in all of us, despite the complexities of life, despite the setting you are in. Here, the three stories tell about love for three different economic classes and conveys how the feeling of love and freedom and choice remains consistent.

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

Tiwari: Mumbai. A salesman in a mid level fashion boutique  is lonely and has nobody to talk to. Enters a beautiful mannequin who he makes his companion.

Chaubey: A story of old school love. It is 90s. A cinema hall worker falls in love with a frequenting audience member. They both need to escape their messed up lives. Together they elope but it’s not the end you would normally expect.

Chaudhary: A young man and a woman come together to find reason of why their respective partners cheated on them.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

Tiwari: Written by Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nitesh Tiwari. It’s the best story out of the three. Very different. Very unique. It hits you like a surprise. And as it progresses, it wins you over. You also keep wondering in awe on how it would end. And the journey that it takes is simply brilliant. Hats off to the writers for coming up with a story that’s so fresh and despite all odds, so relatable. The economic class of the protagonist has an important role to play in what he thinks of his loneliness and perception of love. What he considers his won world and what the society thinks of him is also endearing to see in the narrative. The story aided with an exemplary performance by Abhishek Banerjee leaves no stone unturned in making this a must watch. A mature story with sensibility in place.

Chaubey: The story is based on Kannada story Madhyantara by Jayant Kaikini, with screenplay by Hussain Haidry and Abhishek Chaubey. It’s refreshing to see old school love after so long. The girl collecting the tickets of all the films she has watched. The boy stealing one bindi from her packet and sticking it on his wallet. These notions make you smile. Amid the struggle to live happily, the couple steals their moments of fun and frolic, falling for each other. Escapism is an idea that strikes and together they take a step. What it has in store for them is only smile, but the path that they are shown to take is interesting, if not very practical. The writers here must be commended for taking this route in this story. Chaubey is at his best for giving the film a flavour that stays with you keeping you invested in the drama. It may seem just another love story, but mind you, it is not.

ankahi kahaniya, netflix, hindi, film, review, 2021
A clip from the promotional event of the film with directors (l-r) Saket Chaudhary, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Chaudhary (image source: peekingpie.com)

Chaudhary: The story is penned by Zeenat Lakhani and Saket Chaudhary. Although it is the weakest of the lot, it also manages to get the message across. Things here don’t seem reasonable, viable, and doable. Things happen like a theatre performance, with interpretation to have a say. This part of the narrative is however engaging, but it is clearly lagged in pace and positioning. ‘You can do it all alone’ is the sentiment but showing that through the notions of infidelity, identity, infatuation is far fetched. You like the visual appeal and the portrayal of urban setting, and here you connect the other two films with their economic politics playing a part.

PERFORMANCES

Tiwari: It’s high time the world starts calling Abhishek Banerjee a seasoned actor. He is so good that you feel he is some actual salesman, actually lonely, actually hopelessly romantic. He says so much through his expressions and that you can mute the film altogether and still enjoy the flavour. Extraordinary work.

Chaubey: Rinku Rajguru delivers a top notch act. Those subtle smiles or irritation at home or excitement when she is getting ready. She has done it all with ease. It feels as if she is a girl next door, going through all that is shown. Delzad Hiwale is also effective. As a young boy, she has a boyish charm yet a suspicion to himself, giving layer to his portrayal. You like this story majorly because of these two also.

ankahi kahaniya, netflix, film, hindi, review, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: netflix)

Chaudhary: Kunal Kapoor is handsome, mature, stylish and effective as an actor. He has a body language that suits perfectly to the role. Zoya Hussain on the other hand carries the story on her shoulders. She is so good that you feel she is some 30 films old in the industry. She is sure to get many more opportunities after this one. Her character has many shades and she puts her best foot forward in all of those. Nikhil Dwivedi is decent, although he doesn’t have much scope to shine as an  actor. Palomi Ghosh is very good with her expressions in the little landscape of her role. She makes her mark in a way that she carves her own space.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

The background score (Achint Thakkar for Tiwari, Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor for Chaubey, Rishabh Shah for Chaudhary) is effective in all three stories. It is a major plus for the overall film. You get soaked in the stories and you stay and you chew upon the content, primarily due to the score playing well.

Cinematography by Sylvester Fonseca for Tiwari is flashy and tacky, suiting perfectly well for the film. Same can be said about production design by Sandeep Meher as the maximum appeal for the film comes from those colourful clothes and flashy lights. It’s a visual treat truly. For Chaubey, it has been done by Avinash Arun Dhaware which should be commended endlessly for creating the aura of 90s and making the viewers nostalgic about things. Hats off to production designers Ashok Lokare and Rucha Mayekar for bringing back those paper plates, samosas and popcorn packets and ofcourse those pink coloured tickets. The sets are real. Brimming with life and how they have been lit up is noteworthy. For Chaudhary, the DOP is Eeshit Narain and the work is excellent. It’s the visual appeal in this film that stands out the most. The sets and lighting- the warm or cold effect- or the usage of elements of set in the frame creates definition. Production design by Nida Diwan is sharp and elite. Very thoughtful of how the spaces look and give meanings to the characters.

Editing by Charu Shree Roy for Tiwari is engaging. The journey has been cut and made intensively interesting. Same can be said about Sanyukta Kaza who is the editor for Chaubey, but in a little less intensity. The graph is reasonably satisfying. Only thing, the story doesn’t have that much punch though, The final few moments of the film are edited nicely and make the story profound. Editor Kamlesh Robin Parui for Chaudhary seems to have faltered, majorly because of the cracks in content. The story seems too long and dragged.

Overall a good viewing experience. The main essence that love should make you free and should allow you to grow is echoed in all. Good point.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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