"she'd walked in on her bai"
Konkona Sen Sharma has revealed that her Lust Stories 2 segment was inspired by a friend’s maid.
Lust Stories 2 has received a mixed reception, however, Konkona’s segment has been unanimously praised.
It features an upper-middle-class woman seeing her maid having sex on her bed.
However, her reaction is not to revolt. Instead, she makes a phone call and cringes about the fact that her bed is being used by a maid.
The story soon becomes one of voyeurism as Isheeta (Tillotama Shome) begins to enjoy watching Seema (Amruta Subhash) have sex.
Discussing her story, Konkona revealed that a friend inspired her.
She explained: “My fantastic producer Ashi Dua approached me asking me if I’d like to direct for Lust Stories. I said, sure let me try.
“I was thinking about stories and whether I could come up with anything worthwhile.
“I wanted to create something interesting around lust. So I was thinking from a mom’s angle, from the looking angle, or a being watched angle.
“Then I came across a friend at a dinner party who told me how she’d walked in on her bai (maid) having sex in her house.
“And I knew that was something I wanted to explore further because there are a lot of things happening there.”
On her intentions behind directing her segment, titled The Mirror, Konkona said:
“I wasn’t trying to create sexual arousal in my audience. That they can do on their own if they want.
“I felt that to give Seema the respect and the dignity, I only entered the room when she allowed it, so to speak.
“The first time we enter the bedroom is when she is performing for Isheeta. And her orgasm is derived from the fact that Isheeta is watching her.
“That’s the only time we’re up close to witness her pleasure.
“Otherwise we’re looking at Isheeta, Isheeta is looking at Seema.
“That was a deliberate decision and there was no need to show sex up, close and personal.”
On the dynamic between the two lead characters, Konkona Sen Sharma said:
“What we’re allowed to find sexy, what actually turns us on — it’s all very complicated.
“Isheeta herself is very conflicted. She tries to confront Seema a couple of times but she’s unable to.
“It’s very difficult when one doesn’t have the language, the vocabulary.
“It’s almost like a force beyond her. She’s hooked to it like a drug addict. She’s enjoying this pursual of pleasure at some cost.
“Both her and Seema are being transgressive in nature but I didn’t want to get into the morality of it. They’re both equally at fault or not. It’s almost like two thieves stealing pleasure from each other.”
The last shot in the segment features both women briefly glancing at each other, implying that they have agreed to the voyeurism.
Speaking about that expression, Konkona Sen Sharma said:
“That’s the thing na. They enjoy each other in this unusual way.
“But when confronted by Kamal (Seema’s husband) or society in general, they just flip back into their conditioning.
“Because they don’t have the vocabulary to say, ‘Ya, I was enjoying watching you’ or ‘Ya, I was enjoying being watched’.
“This is not an ‘acceptable’ thing. They can’t say it. They’re just conditioned to say ‘gandi ho, badtameez ho’ whatever.
“Sometimes, the things we feel and the things we’re allowed to feel by society are at odds. What do we do?”
“The safest thing to do is to follow what society is prescribing. It’s not necessarily the most kind, the most just, the most equal, the most fair, but it’s the safest thing to do.
“But it’s lovely that from their argument, they went somewhere else.
“They didn’t know how to react at that point but then they went through that period of introspection, reflection, regret, isolation, understanding, processing and come back to each other.
“It can never happen in the real world. Maybe they will tell each other ‘I missed you’ someday.
“It was very important for me to leave the epilogue open-ended.
“Firstly, to come back to the playful nature of the film and the playful nature of lust.
“Secondly, because I wanted to give it the feeling of… here’s the apartment, it’s 3’o clock, somebody’s opening the door, but before you can check who, you’re shut out.
“Because it’s none of our business. They’re consulting adults.”