A title like Lust Stories was itself intriguing enough when filmmakers such as Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar helmed four different stories for the Indian anthology film released in 2018. The premiere on the digital platform offered liberation from censorship to serve us an insight into relatable, in some measure, themes of love and lust. Kiara Advani Birthday
Set in the backdrop of a common motif, the filmmakers explored aspects of sexual desires as well as the taboos that have clinged to it for decades. One such tale, led by the actor Kiara Advani turned the lens towards the subject of female-pleasure, the hush-hush topic Bollywood often flinches away from.
However, the film wasn’t the first attempt at shifting the focus on a woman’s desires but the Indian audience can swallow the hard pill only with a mild dose of humour in it. Therefore, unlike the other makers, Karan Johar went straight for that nerve and managed to delve into the intimate relationship of a newly-married couple.
Premise of Lust Stories
Kiara Advani portraying the role of Megha, a new-bride and a teacher at an all-girls school, who expects something beyond the love-making session that is fulfilling only for her husband played by Vicky Kaushal. As a shy, Indian bride (an image often imposed on them) she keeps her libido hidden behind that ‘ghoonghat’. Fortunately, for her, she meets a librarian in the school who becomes her source to assure that her desires are valid and sexual expression shouldn’t be limited by gender differences.
As Megha proceeds on the step-by-step guide to embracing her sexuality, she stumbles upon another stigmatised talking point- female masturbation and sex toys. On her quest to find out what pleasure feels like, she gets her hands on a vibrator. Although what was suppose to be a solo experience, accidentally, happens in presence of her family members. As one would expect, she is shamed for the act by the brigade that believes a woman’s sexual desires has an expiration date as they only wish to bear children.
A look at female pleasure: Why are the ‘uncomfortable’ scenes necessary?
One of the unfathomable fact attached to Indian films or series is that the acts of sexual violence or assault tend to get a lengthy screen-time yet consensual contact makes up for uncomfortable subject matter. Since the days we can remember, we have witnessed unnecessarily elaborated scenes portraying sexual assault or villians harassing women. Why did such acts never made us question what we are ‘comfortable’ watching on-screen? How is that a woman being raped gets more screen-time than a woman owning her sexual desires?
In a society where while growing up women identify sex only as a way of serving their partners, pleasure is a chapter often skipped. As a result of the same belief, a particular portion of the segment that drew plenty attention had to be the one where Megha uses a vibrator and the audience witnesses a woman have an orgasm. Kiara, who was only a few films old in Bollywood back then, took the step to portray the character that had high-stakes when it comes to unsolicited criticism on the basis of the concept of a ‘virtuous woman’.
The talk about sexual desires are seldom discussed even among married couples. Although, communication is considered a key to any issue, we would prefer women in an unfulfilled or sexless marriage than women with guilt free sexual expression.