Cast: Abhishek Banerjee, Kunal Kapoor, Rinku Rajguru, Zoya Hussain, Delzad Hiwale
Directors:Abhishek Chaubey, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Saket Chaudhary
Streaming on: Netflix
There is no end to the number of stories you can churn out of the ever-effervescent city of Mumbai, Infact it is genre in itself. More often than not, The stories from Mumbai are about big dreams either failing or making it big, its all been done to death. But with a promise in its title, Ankahi Kahaniyan documents instances of ‘loneliness’ and the longingness for love in unusual places.
The first story directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari is about a garment store salesmen hailing from a small town of MP. The initial minutes are spent in showing the lifeless routine of this hardworking employee in a loop of mundane activities. While everyone else around him has a someone to go home to, Abhishek lives in absence of human conversations. Until one day he finds a companion in a Mannequin! Trust Abhishek Banerjee to bring in believability and compassion to this inherently creepy narrative. It is his sincerity to the character and an unhurried pace that makes this otherwise bizarre awkward story watchable. A tighter edit would have been nice though.
The second story digs a little deeper on the same premise of loveless characters stuck in deprived livelihoods. Unlike the first one, the narrative here is richly layered with a lot of unspoken metaphorical references. A lot of camera detailing goes into establishing the parallels in the lives of the two protagonists. The escape from reality found in the walls of a local theatre is what bring these two together. Both the actors do a fantastic job. Dellzad Hiwale’s sunken eyes do all the speaking complimented by Rinku Rajguru’s expressive face. Although it’s an extension of Archie from Sairat, it does fit perfectly here. What are they looking for, love, companionship or simple hope? It is an interesting question that the directors leave you with.
The third story moves away from the working -class and also from the mood so far. Wife of a rich businessman teams up with husband of the woman she suspects to be her husband’s romantic interest in office. They together spend hours and days reimagining and recreating scenes on how their respective partners might have cheated on them. Their conversations and discoveries are extremely predictable and repetitive. Far from real and somehow deprived of emotions, this story feels like a misfit in this anthology The only thing that works here is its cast. But even the earnest performances of Zoya Huassain and Kunal Kapoor are not able to save this drag of a narrative.
With so many anthologies being released on Netflix in the recent past, Ankahi Kahaniyan fails to impress much. If I had to choose one, Madhyantar, the cleverly placed second story has to be my favorite from the lot.
Going with a overall rating of 2.5/5 for this one