Four popular directors - Priyadarshan, Mahesh Manjrekar, Pradeep Sarkar and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury - come together to direct four segments of an anthology called Forbidden Love. As the name suggests, the theme of these films would be about the kind of love that would be seen as unconventional, or done behind the doors of the society. Releasing on Zee5, two of the shorts, Arranged Marriage and Anamika, directed by Pradeep Sarkar and Priyadarshan respectively - have already started streaming. (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Forbidden Love: Pradeep Sarkar, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Priyadarshan, Mahesh Manjrekar To Direct Films On Marriage and Relationships.
Let's speak about Arranged Marriage first. The short film stars Ali Fazal, Patralekhaa, Omkar Kapoor and Dhritiman Chatterjee in the lead. Set in Kolkata, the story revolves around an arranged marriage between Neel (Omkar Kapoor) and Keya (Patralekhaa). Keya realises that her husband has no interest in getting intimate with her.
It is later she finds out that he is actually a closeted homosexual in love with his best friend, and also her cousin Dev (Ali Fazal). The shocking discovery incites her to try and take a very extreme step with the advise of a crazed, homophobic psychiatrist (Chatterjee).
While the basic theme of the film is bold enough, the movie also addresses the narrow-minded attitude towards gays and the persecution they suffer, including sexual abuse. At the same time, Arranged Marriage is all about flawed characters. Keya might have have been stuck in a loveless marriage, but she is a very homophobic person and sees homosexuality as a disease. Dev and Neel might have been coaxed by the society to carry their clandestine affair in shadowy corridors and hotel rooms. But they had tricked Keya into marrying Dev, so that she can be a cover for their affair.
Watch the Trailer of Arranged Marriage here:
There is also an unexpected shocking scene of onscreen nudity, something we have come to be used to since Netflix's Sacred Games. The scene appears when Keya is taken to a brothel to be taught in the art of making love. Here she is coerced to watch a sex-worker making love to her client that shows frontal nudity.
So be careful, Arranged Marriage does have NSFW content. Or in these days of the lockdown, NSFH content! Aditya Seal on Nepotism: Some Brainless Person Glamourised the Word.
Priyadarshan's Anamika, starring Pooja Kumar, Aditya Seal, Harsh Chhaya and Sona Nair, is about an extramarital story between a married cafe worker, stuck with a husband who is more interested in talking to his friends, and one of the cafe's patrons, a young bachelor. Compared to Arranged Marriage, the boldness is far more tempered, though having seen the earlier films of Priyadarshan - a director known for family content - this is definitely his boldest work to date!
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 09, 2020 10:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).