Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Abhishek Choubey, Saket Choudhary
Mould: Kunal Kapoor, Zoya Hussain, Rinku Rajguru, Delzad Hiwale, Abhishek Banerjee, Nikhil Dwivedi, Palomi
The Untold Story, a new anthology from Netflix, deals with a range of themes ranging from unrequited love, loss and loyalty to exploring the feeling of loneliness in a big city like Mumbai. The stories are related, but often become too ambitious in their narrative.
For an anthology aimed at connecting a series of stories to form a thematically cohesive narrative, Untold Tale is earnest if you look beyond its flaws.
The first shot, directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, features Abhishek Banerjee and tells the story of an immigrant who works as a counter salesman in a garment shop, finds a partner in a female effigy. In a nutshell, writers Piyush Gupta and Nitesh Tiwari attempt to explore the unexpected idea of love with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari. Sensitive and simple, the filmmaker makes a lasting impression with a film that has its heart in the right place.
Banerjee’s character of Pradeep naturally comes across as a man of gentle soul, great sensitivity and goodness; A character that could so easily be reduced to a loser. His interaction with a mannequin turns even sporadic lines of dialogue into unforgettable moments.
Abhishek Chaubey takes the audience back to the 80s where his lead characters Nandu (Deljad Hiwale) and Manjari (Rinku Rajguru) search for love against the backdrop of single-screen theatres. While Nandu is an orphan who works in a local cinema hall and looks after his frail uncle, Manjari lives with his family and is often involved in household chores. Both were seen burdened with responsibilities. They want to free themselves and decide to come together in the process. The unexpected moments of making some tough choices make up for the rest of the story.
Abhishek delivers one of his finest works. The filmmaker, through skillful writing and even clever direction, brings to the fore the story of two young men who want to live out their dreams. He communicates tactfully and demonstrates the complex process of understanding each other’s rights. There are long pauses and silence. The film relies heavily on this silent rhythm, giving you ample time to contemplate and reflect on the pain, suffering and understanding of the two characters. Special mention of the depiction of dream sequences between two characters.
Delzad is simply fantastic. His eyes speak louder than words and he is completely immersed in the role. Rinku effortlessly conveys Manjari’s insecurities, confusion and guilt.
The last story directed by Saket Chaudhary is a story of infidelity and broken relationships. The story takes us through an unlikely bond that two people develop when they learn that their spouse is having an affair. Manav (Kunal Kapoor) and Natasha (Palomi Ghosh) are a couple with children while Tanu Mathur (Zoya Hussain) Arjun Mathur (Nikhil Dwivedi) is married. Tanu learns about the affair between Natasha and Arjun and decides to meet Manav.
The short film raises many such questions about which you are left in awe. Can you sacrifice a relationship in an instant for the person you think you are meant to be with? Can happiness bloom in the garden of lies? Can marriages get a second chance despite the flaws? Saket works hard but the film is riddled with flaws in its character arc and plot points, which are only redeemed by good performances. There are some beautiful scenes between Kapoor and Hussain.
Out of the three stories, Abhishek Chaubey’s film is the clear winner.
In short, Story Untold is a mixed bag. Speed is not of primary importance here. All filmmakers take their time to tell their stories. If you’re looking for a happy ending, give it a go. But if you like slow-moving narratives, you should check it out.