Sometimes, a short story of 10 minutes or a music video of 4 minutes has a better story to tell than most 2.30 hour movies.
It would be unfair to club DUS KAHANIYAAN in the same category as DARNA MANA HAI, DARNA ZAROORI HAI and SALAAM-E-ISHQ. Not only because the genres are as diverse as chalk and cheese, but because each 10-minute story in DUS KAHANIYAAN has something to say. At times, the message is loud and clear. At times, feeble. But there's no denying that DUS KAHANIYAAN is refreshingly different from the episodic films we've witnessed in the past.
At the end of the day, it's all about narrating interesting stories effectively. Sanjay Gupta and his team of directors have chosen 10 different stories that are not linked with each another and also don't have a sutradhaar to bind them in one thread. Nor is the finale of each story the same. So let's minutely look at each story and the impact they create.
Cast: Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah.
A Hindu woman and a Muslim man's journey over a rice plate. It is about the challenge that the woman faces when a man claims her plate of rice. Will she place her hunger before her beliefs? Maturely handled by debutante director Rohit Roy. Plus, watching Shabana and Naseer after a hiatus is a treat. Shabana is outstanding!
'Sex On The Beach'
Cast: Dino Morea and Tareena Patel.
Dino picks a worn out book on the beach and its character comes alive into a breathtaking woman. They have a great time together, but suddenly everything changes. The mystery woman has some surprises in store for Dino. Director Apoorva Lakhia succeeds in giving you some chills down your spine. The culmination to the story is eerie. Dino is alright, while Tareena flaunts her assets without inhibitions.
Cast: Anupam Kher, Anooradha Singh, Aftab Shivdasani and Neha Uberoi.
Neha meets a woman in the train who is wearing only one earring. She finds that strange and that chance meeting strikes the change in her life. A story about fate, destiny at play and the notion that one moment can change your entire life. Very identifiable, very true to life. Beautifully handled by debutante director Jasmeet Dhodi. Aftab and Neha are natural.
Cast: Mandira Bedi, Arbaaz Khan and Sudhanshu Pandey.
Mr. & Mrs. Sarin is a happily married couple. The devoted wife meets her ailing aunt every Thursday. But is she really meeting her aunt? A story of betrayal and faith. The twist in the tale, towards the end, comes as a bolt from the blue. Mandira is efficient, Arbaaz is able, Sudhanshu is perfect. Sanjay Gupta shows his expertise as a storyteller.
Cast: Nana Patekar, Anita and Rohit Roy.
After an argument with her husband in the bus, Anita sits next to an intriguing man holding 11 red balloons. This story unfolds a journey within a journey into this man's past, uncovering the key to one of the most important lessons in life. Fantastic performance by Nana. Anita is effective. Sanjay Gupta is in form yet again!
Cast: Amrita Singh, Minisha Lamba, Parmeet Sethi and Vishwajeet Pradhan.
It's about the mother-daughter bond. A mother's only daughter is about to get married and she would do anything to make her daughter happy. But an incident changes their lives forever. A brilliant story beautifully handled by Meghna Gulzar. Amrita is topnotch, Minisha is okay. The end moves you!
'Strangers In The Night'
Cast: Neha Dhupia and Mahesh Manjrekar.
Every anniversary, they narrate the other a secret; this year it's the wife's turn. She begins narrating an interesting encounter with a stranger at the railway station waiting room. What you perceive and what you eventually witness is a sharp contrast. Again, an outstanding story. Neha is first-rate, Mahesh okay. But what you carry home is the culmination. Sanjay Gupta handles the story with elan!
'High On The Highway'
Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill and Masumeh.
The highway symbolised their companionship and their unspoken love. Its unpredictable and volatile turns define this story of two people, who discover the boundaries of freedom and the recklessness of life. Though interestingly handled by director Hansal Mehta, the story lacks meat. Jimmy and Masumeh are competent. Too dark, content-wise as also visually. Overall, mazaa nahin aaya.
Cast: Manoj Bajpai and Dia Mirza.
After discovering something startling about his neighbour, a writer is driven to madness. The one step he takes gives this story its required twist. Hits you like a ton of bricks. Manoj is superb, Dia is excellent. Sanjay Gupta shows that he can handle emotional moments with remarkable ease.
'Rise & Fall'
Cast: Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty.
Two parallel stories run together to meet one end. It is a story about two gangsters, their friendship and subsequent betrayal. Very confusing, looks very theatrical and the action and the subsequent scene only add to the chaos. Gupta and Hansal concentrate more on technique instead of simplifying things. Both Sanju and Suniel are strictly okay.
On the whole, the number of interesting kahaniyaan in DUS KAHANIYAAN outnumber the not-too-interesting ones and that's what goes in its favor. At the box-office, the film may not set the box-office afire, but would definitely keep its investors safe given the fact that the film has been sold for more than reasonable prices and also due to the fact that it has the merits to keep you hooked. A novel experience!