Rating: 2.5 /5
‘Ankahi Kahaniya’ explores three big-city stories featuring lonely souls trying to discover connection, love, loss and longing. They are directed by Abhishek Chaubey, Saket Chaudhary, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari.
‘Ankahi Kahaniya’ opens with a story about Pradeep, a small-town guy alone in the big bustling city, who works in a garment shop. His monotonous life turns colourful when a female mannequin is brought to the store to entice more customers. He falls in love with the mannequin and pampers her as one would with a real partner.
The second tale is based on a Kannada story by poet Jayant Kaikini (Madhyantara). It revolves around stuck-at-home Manjari and working-to-make-ends-meet Nandu. They fall in love over shy glances and old cinema.
In the third story, two strangers find each other through their respective spouses’ infidelity and decide to retrace the events that lead to the start of the affair.
Abhishek Bannerjee’s portrayal of Pradeep is a little too good. But that is not unusual seeing his repertoire as an actor. However, it is quite a shame how new actors are type casted.
The second narrative, Madhyantra, hits the mark with all the actors. Rinku Rajguru and Delzad Hiwale lead from the front and create a simplistic tale that is sure to resonates with everyone who would watch it.
The four-member cast of the third segment — Zoya Hussain, Kunaal Kapoor, Palomi Ghosh and Nikhil Dwivedi — carries the whole story.
Abhishek Chubey’s ‘Madhyantra’ honestly deserves more than being sandwiched between the other two stories. It is an innocent take on old school love which is riddled with individual struggles that hurdle this blossoming dynamic.
Furthermore, apart from the decent performances, the tales themselves are about common people living in a city where it is easy to get lost. Hence, the narratives do manage to evoke a sense of empathy.
Tiwari’s story tries to capture the loneliness of a person stuck in the bustling metropolis without any companion to talk to.
However, besides the few passing mentions of ‘pagaal’ here and there, no one taps into the mental instability of Pradeep’s quite real feelings for a mannequin. Especially when it gets discarded with Bollywood ideologies that have always instigated that women are objects.
Despite talking about the ups and downs of the relationship and the dreaded ennui, the third segment is not as cathartic as they would have hoped for it to be.
Sure, the issues of infidelity, intimacy and the loss of a woman’s identity beyond the four walls of a relationship are all important but the drag writing and dialogues don’t allude to it.
While the first and the last stories in ‘Ankahi Kahaniya’ may seem like a drag, Chaubey’s film placed right in the middle deserves to be watched.