The Netflix Original anthology Lust Stories 2 gives viewers four more short films by four new directors, marking the first movie in the anthology series — which includes Bombay Talkies, Lust Stories, and Ghost Stories — not to include works by directors Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, or Dibakar Banerjee. The sequel is a fitting entry in the series, with quick-hitting, powerful stories from directors with interesting viewpoints on the subject of lust. The new collection has no weak points and features some top-tier performances.
Here are brief reviews of each of the short films:
R. Balki – “Made for Each Other”
The collection eases viewers in with the very enjoyable “Made for Each Other.” Arjun (Angad Bedi) and Veda (Mrunal Thakur) seem to be, as the title suggests, made for each other. They’re both fantastic looking, they have similar ambitions and interests, and their dads are longtime friends. The only person who puts a pause on their wedding plans is Veda’s grandmother (played by Neena Gupta), who bluntly asks the couple in front of their parents if they’ve had sex yet, and if it was any good. As embarrassing as it is for everyone, Grandma prompts the couple to consider what it would be like to spend the next several decades with someone they were conjugally incompatible with. Thakur is especially cute in this, and her scenes with Gupta are a highlight.
Konkona Sen Sharma – “The Mirror”
Konkona Sen Sharma’s contribution is easily the most complex of the short stories, starting out lighthearted and taking on added depth as it proceeds. Like “Made for Each Other,” “The Mirror” centers its story around women’s sexual desires. Graphic designer Isheeta (Tillotama Shome) returns home early from work to find her maid Seema (Amruta Subhash) having sex with a man in Isheeta’s bed. Though she’s able to sneak out undetected, the initial awkwardness is nothing compared with what’s to come. The short film could’ve been a few minutes shorter, but Shome and Subhash are just terrific.
Sujoy Ghosh – “Sex with Ex”
Kahaani fans will not be surprised that director Sujoy Ghosh’s “Sex with Ex” is a bit mysterious. CEO Vijay (Vijay Varma) must cut a visit to his mistress short when he’s summoned to an urgent company meeting. While driving back, he watches her strip over a video call and crashes his car near a small village. There he spots a familiar woman, Shanti (Tamannaah Bhatia) — but Shanti disappeared ten years ago. “Sex with Ex” has an unusual visual style that takes some getting used to, but it works for the vibe Ghosh is trying to set. His story pacing is so good that “Sex with Ex” goes by in a flash, yet it feels precisely as long as it needs to be.
Amit Ravindernath Sharma – “Tilchatta”
The anthology ends with the darkest of the stories. Viewers who don’t want to watch a segment that features sexual assault can bail out at this point. Kajol plays Devyani, wife of Suraj (Kumud Mishra), who is letting his ancestral estate fall into ruin because pride won’t let him sell it — and because it would deprive him of the ability to impose his will on everyone around him. All Devyani wants is to secure a better future for their son, Ankur (Zeeshan Nadaf), away from a place that’s decaying, morally and physically. Kajol is heartbreaking as the suffering wife, and Mishra is absolutely chilling as the drunken, abusive husband.