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The anthology movie Ankahi Kahaniya has three love stories that speak volumes. I enjoyed watching them, especially for the main female characters!
The main theme though pertains to love, but several other issues have been addressed through the 110 minutes of screen-time.
The three films have been directed by prominent Bollywood directors. The deep-seated feminist outlook portrayed by the characters sends a powerful message to women out there.
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari | Character: Sashi
Abhishek Banarjee as Pradeep Loharia and T J Bhanu as Sashi
The story is about Pradeep who gets obsessed with a mannequin. His obsessions wears off when he falls for his childhood friend Sashi. He tells Sashi the truth about his weird past obsession, but she chooses not to judge him.
The gorgeous T J Bhanu plays the role of Pradeep’s fiancée. Though her screen time is very limited, she successfully delivers an impact. Sashi is a tolerant individual. She accepts Pradeep’s weird situation stating love as inevitable and unplanned.
Shashi agrees to Pradeep’s proposal, for she admires his honest character, which highlights her maturity. Though Pradeep is jobless, Sashi doesn’t let the fact bother their developing relationship. She is a woman of her word. She keeps her promise to not let anyone in on Pradeep’s secret. She is accepting and encouraging. All these are indicative of the positive, independent thinking of the character.
Director: Abhishek Chaubey | Character: Manjari
Rinku Rajguru as Manjari and Delzad Hiwale as Nandu
Manjari is an average Marathi girl who is a victim of domestic oppression. She is constantly looked down upon by her own family. Manjari’s mother raises her son to physically assault his sister. This is the very reason people argue over the fact that instead of women being confined within boundaries, men should be taught to be better humans by their mothers. Additionally, Manjari is also constantly harassed by an acquaintance of her family but they act naïve despite her clear indications of refusal.
Regardless of the harsh reality, Manjari finds solace in embroidery and cinema. The discerning silences and stares amidst the inner chaos are beautifully portrayed. Her positive outlook is like a breath of fresh air compared to the stale environment back home.
Actress Rinku is marvelous as Manjari who is fearless and expressive. Although she knows her limitations, Manjari is willing to break free.
Manjari shines both as the suffocated girl and as the free bird. When she finally succeeds, she learns true love is loving oneself before anything or anyone else.
Director: Saket Chaudhary | Character: Tanu Mathur and Natasha Kapoor
Zoya Hussain as Tanu Mathur
The third and final story dwells on infidelity and letting go of toxicity. There is no unique perspective to the regular old extra-marital mess, but the character of Tanu Mathur and the life lesson she earns from her husband’s affair is a gem.
Truths are unearthed, shaded angst bared, identities questioned and an unexpected bond takes form between two disgruntled spouses.
When the chance of exacting revenge presents itself in the form of Manav Kapoor, Tanu doesn’t fall for it. A complex character, she is smart, intelligent and inquisitive, yet she suffers from low self-esteem. As she religiously enacted her role as an ideal wife, she lost her identity as a woman.
The best part about this short was the considerate evaluation of both parties involved in the affair: the spouses who had cheated and the ones who were being cheated on. Tanu can be seen defending Natasha (her husband’s girlfriend) at times despite the betrayal. This is an expression of the maturity and rationality.
Zoya Hussain’s portrayal of the woman who has lost and found herself is powerful.
Her broken self-esteem starts healing as she finally lets her identity as Mrs Arjun Mathur go. One needs to nurture and nourish one’s individuality. Marriage is just part of one’s life.
Natasha is in a relationship that lacks communication and falls for a married man. Flashbacks show that her husband Manav found communicating with his wife a cumbersome task. His rude remarks on Natasha’s ability to be a mother is unjustified and inappropriate. In a way, he questioned her loyalty and love.
Natasha is shown to be career-minded. Nothing justifies demeaning a woman who is in love with her work. Though infidelity is immoral, as a woman, you find yourself relating to Natasha’s character at times.
The entire movie is devoid of the glamour quotient and solely survives on the strength of its cast and storyline. This anthology film is a fine example of raw acting skills and prominent lessons on life.
The prominent feminist hold over the stories is a fine example of what modern media should convey to the public.
I enjoyed and was inspired by the strong female characters in the anthology!
Image Source- YouTube and IMDb Website
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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