Netflix's Anthology Film-Ankahi Kahaniya Perfectly Glosses Over An Array Of Strong Female Characters
Ankahi Kahaniya is about a trio of love tales that have set morales to deliver. Though it specifically caters to the genre of romance, several other issues have been addressed through this 110 minutes of cinema. The deep-seated feminist outlook portrayed by the characters sends a powerful message to women out there.
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari | Character: Sashi
The gorgeous T J Bhanu plays the role of Pradeep’s fiancée. Though her screen time is very limited, she successfully delivers 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.
Sashi is the kind of woman who stands for the saying, effective communication is key. She is accepting and encouraging. All these are indicative of the positive, independent thinking of Bhanu’s character. Abhishek Banarjee is a delight to watch. The respect he projects towards the mannequin is an absolute lesson to what gentleman courtship signifies.
Director: Abhishek Chaubey | Character: Manjari
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. Education starts at home. Additionally, Manjari is also constantly harassed by an acquaintance of her family but they act naïve despite the clear indications of refusal she puts forth.
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.
Rinku has marvellously put up an act of the sweet, innocent girl of a family that has no respect for her life choices. She is fearless and expressive. Although she knows her limitations, she 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, love that emerges from loving oneself before anything else.
Director: Saket Chaudhary | Character: Tanu Mathur and Natasha Kapoor
The third and final story dwells on infidelity and letting go of toxicity. There is no unique perspective to the regular old extra-marital massacre, 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 the cuckolded spouses.
When the chance of exacting revenge presents itself in the form of Manav Kapoor, Tanu still holds on to the sanctity of her marriage. She is smart, intelligent and inquisitive; yet she suffers from low self-esteem. As she religiously enacted her role as an ideal wife, she had 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 at times despite the betrayal. This is an expression of the maturity and rationality Tanu possessed.
Zoya Hussain has justified her role. Her 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 lags communication. When Tanu and Manav recreate scenes leading to the reason behind the explicit Arjun-Natasha affair, it was evident that 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 had questioned her loyalty and love.
Natasha is shown to be career-minded, which society points out as someone lacking in basic skills as a proper mother or wife. Just as a man can carry many facets so does a woman. 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.
Image Source ~ IMDb Official Website
A version of this post was first published on the Women's Web website.
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