Of Lust and Other Things, And all that It Brings – Lust Stories 2 (Netflix)

Lust Stories 2 just released on Netflix as of June 29, 2023 and continued the saga of stories of women centered on lust; their desires, pleasures and fantasies. While the 2018 one focused on relationships, Part 2 took on more social messages as part of its narrative.

*Spoilers ahead*

  1. Made for each other – This one is all Neena Gupta beginning to end and happily so. In the role of the unabashed grandmother openly talking about the importance of sex, all the while with parents meeting to discuss their children’s wedding. Seemed a little far-fetched but the idea meant well. Talking about the importance of sexual compatibility and open conversations around sex, the grandmother emphasizes how this is as normal to talk of as anything else that one brings up in a general conversation.

The almost 30 minutes also have her reminiscing her time with her now, late husband, and having the granddaughter giggle and laugh and later even tell her that is quite embarrassing asking her granddaughter personal questions. To which the wise old woman responds “Embarrassing is better than depressing”.

She also reminds her children, well into their early 50s to also turn their attention to each other rather than ignoring each other’s needs as man and woman. While the first story seemed easy breezy compared to the others, it did bring forth the importance for women to discuss these with women in their own homes – that of female pleasure, physical intimacy, safety – all of which are still taboo topics in Indian households.

  1. The Mirror – The choosing of this title is beautifully displayed over the next 30 minutes. Tillotama Shome is a single professional living in the city and relies on her trusted house help, Amruta Subhash to get her daily things done i.e. cooking, cleaning etc. One afternoon she stumbles upon the house help having sex with her husband on Shome’s bed. Her initial shock and disgust slowly give way to her desires taking up space in her mind more than her initial thoughts. It slowly turns into a cat and mouse game with Shome returning home daily to slyly watch them in action.

Later we see the house help’s living conditions in stark contrast to her employer’s, who has much physical space but no one to share it with while the former freely uses that in the day to enjoy intimacy with her husband. While one’s initial reaction is of the morally incorrect aspect of doing so at her employer’s house, the focal point shifts to the voyeuristic behavior demonstrated by Shome. To one’s amazement once the house help discovers the employer watching her and her husband, she is shocked and humiliated, however she too continues to let her watch without bringing it up.

The most powerful scene is the confrontation between the two women. Almost a month into this daily scenario when they both are in the know and the floodgates open, the scene is nothing short of a masterpiece of expressions. Highlighting the classism and societal hierarchy while displaying anger and disgust as masks to cover the sexual pleasure that both had been deriving all this while. The mirror through which they both watched each other is reflected back at them during this scene.

The rich may still lack while those considered poor may have in abundance. The ending of course is nothing short of brilliant.

  1. Sex with Ex – This would be the shortest note compared to the other three parts. From the countryside side setting that looked like a highly edited image to the actual story, it seemed more as a thriller of sorts with not much to do with female desire as the anthologies in the series are meant to be. Tamannaah Bhatia plays the long (and actually) lost wife of Vijay Varma, a married man with a side squeeze who ends up meeting Bhatia after a decade in a quaint village/town where his car breaks down. Sex here is mostly played out as a revenge strategy by Bhatia who initially warns him to leave and not come back however Varma does not heed to advice and she gives in to his advances.

The almost ending leaves you surprised as one revelation as to what happened between them 10 years ago and who was responsible was thought to be it however the final end made it an overkill. *pun intended*

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  1. Tilchatta – The most difficult one to watch as it depicted sexual violence. *trigger warning*

Kajol plays the queen of a palace, one that has clearly seen better days (perhaps both the palace and her) with Kumud Mishra as the ‘king’ who treats women like objects for his sexual gratification, whether his wife whom he forces himself upon or the one who works for him.

Set against a Rajasthani backdrop, it depicts how men especially those in power or status treat women to fulfil their carnal needs. Kajol who was earlier in a brothel is now the queen and is hoping to escape her fate from her husband. The only way out she sees is her son going to England with hopes that she too can leave with him. A young girl who replaces the former helper is hired by Kajol and inevitably Mishra makes a move on her. It is thought that Kajol would perhaps be angered or dismayed upon this however we see the opposite through her non spoken expressions in the final minutes.

Sexual desire here is shown as the man’s depraved weakness and how it is used by Kajol as a weapon to free herself from her husband’s cruelty and viciousness. From highlighting the plight of sexual workers to the sexual violence endured by women the ending leaves one astounded.

While Lust Stories 2 started on a light note, it got heavier with each part – with some stories speaking volumes while not saying much and others seeming a tad off in parts. But it does what it was meant to do – highlight sexual desire and thoughts from a women’s perspective. Something we need more of – more talk and not necessarily less action!

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About the Author

Sonali D.

Soul centric and free spirited all the while living life through travel and adrenaline junkie activities. Counselling Psychologist and Educator by vocation. And a life and laughter enthusiast by heart. Usually found daydreaming about her read more...

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