Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh:
Directed by Karan Johar
The short film begins with Avinash (Saqib Saleem), a young man, bursting into his house. He wakes his father and pushes him against the wall declaring that he is homosexual and not a eunuch that his parents are ashamed of. He leaves his parents’ house, distraught and heartbroken but ready for a new start. He passes a girl at a train station singing “Ajeeb Dastan Hain Ye.” Gayatri (Rani Mukerji) is married to Dev (Randeep Hooda). Gayatri, who works for a magazine meets Avinash, the new intern. Avinash informs her that he’s gay and is shocked to see that it doesn’t shock her. They gradually become very close. On his birthday, Gayatri invites Avinash home for dinner. That evening, Gayatri tells Dev that Avinash is gay. Dev seems shocked.
During dinner, Avinash and Dev find that they both share a love for old Hindi films and music. Avinash leans over Dev to look at something on the table and Dev visibly reacts. The next day, Gayatri leaves for some work. Avinash goes to her house to meet Dev. He gives him a CD and then invites him to come out (a funny play on “coming out of the closet”). Avinash takes Dev to meet the little girl who sings “Lag Jaa Gale.” Dev is shocked. He pays the girl a lot of money and asks her what she plans on doing with it. She says she will buy food for her brothers and sisters. He asks her if she’s lying. She curtly replies that she isn’t, and that lying is bad.
By this point, Avinash is sure that Dev is gay but hasn’t come out of the closet. The next day he meets Gayatri who happily informs him that she and Dev had amazing sex the night before. Avinash is disappointed and angry, knowing fully well that he is the reason for Dev’s good mood.
He goes to meet Dev at work. He admits that he took the one-hour journey between the offices just to meet him. Dev is embarrassed and asks him to leave. Avinash reaches over to hug him sensually, alarming Dev. Dev loses his temper and begins to beat Avinash up. Avinash leaves Dev, and goes back home. The beating he received from Dev triggers the memories of his own father beating him up upon discovering his sexuality.
Dev visits him to apologize. He seems torn and after hitting Avinash again and throwing him against the cupboard, he kisses him. Again, Dev begins to hit Avinash. Avinash loses his temper and throws Dev out.
Avinash then goes and tells Gayatri that her husband kissed him. Gayatri is infuriated and doesn’t listen to anything else Avinash has to say and goes home. Dev enters and tries to kiss her, but she pushes him away and begins to wipe her face. She tells him that she now knows that the there’s nothing wrong with her but with him and that he is the reason their marriage failed. She says she’s glad she’s free now and informs him that their relationship is over.
In the final scene we see Avinash sitting on his bed, upset. We see Dev beside the young girl who is singing, Gayatri has kicked him out. And we see Gayatri putting on make up. The film ends on an ironical note. The young girl asks Dev for money and he says that he doesn’t have any. She says that he’s lying. He replies that he isn’t, and lying is bad, mirroring her words from earlier. The irony being, that his whole marriage and life was a lie.
Directed by Dibakar Banerjee
The story is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s short story “Patol Babu, Film Star”. Purandar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a failed stage actor, is struggling to make a living after his father’s death. His family consists of his wife and his sick daughter, who always wants to hear stories from her father, but is disappointed. Purandar is chided by his wife to find a job, but he expects others to come to him and offer him work. By chance, he gets selected from a crowd to play the role of a common pedestrian who collides with the hero in a scene being shot. When he asks for his dialogue, he is given only one word- “Eh!”.
Shocked and heartbroken, Purandar contemplates leaving, but meets the spirit of his stage mentor (Sadashiv Amrapurkar) who reminds him that every role, no matter how small or insignificant it may be, is important if the actor takes it seriously. Purandar goes back to the set and gives his best effort, even incorporating his own ideas, which receives praise. He leaves without taking his payment, feeling a sense of artistic satisfaction. He runs home to his daughter and narrates his experiences, which the little girl enjoys listening to.
Sheila Ki Jawaani:
Directed by Zoya Akhtar
A 12-year-old child (played by Naman Jain) named Vicky aspires to be a Bollywood dancer. Vicky’s father (Ranvir Shorey) however wants his kid to follow typically masculine sports, be “tough” and be a football player. Vicky is a Katrina Kaif fan and loves dancing to “Sheila Ki Jawani.” When the parents leave the house, Vicky dresses up like ‘Sheila’ and starts dancing. Vicky is caught when the parents return, and is rebuked for dressing in women’s clothes. During a TV interview, Vicky hears Katrina Kaif talk about breaking conventions of society and following dreams regardless of the obstacles that come in one’s way, and that sometimes, one must keep their dreams a secret at the start. Vicky is encouraged by Katrina’s words. Meanwhile, Vicky’s sister wants to go on a school trip but is refused Rs. 2000 by their father because he had already spent funds on the Vicky’s football training. She is rather disappointed that the parents are so focused on her sibling’s football training when it’s clear Vicky doesn’t even enjoy football. Vicky realizes how unfair this is, and offers to perform to collect money for her trip. They then decide to organize a small ticketed event for the neighbourhood at an old garage, where Vicky dances to his favourite tunes.
Murabba (Fruit Preserve):
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Vijay (Vineet Kumar Singh) is from Allahabad city in UP. The story begins with Vijay traveling to Mumbai to fulfill his ailing father’s desire. His father (Sudhir Pandey) desires that Vijay meet Bollywood superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, offer and feed him homemade ‘murabba’ and bring the remaining half for his father. Vijay’s father believes that doing so will bring comfort to him and in turn lengthen his life. Vijay is shown struggling to get personal audience with Mr. Bachchan. Hungry, frustrated and penniless, Vijay even takes up an odd job in Mumbai. Eventually, after much struggling and convincing Mr. Bachchan’s security guards, he gets to meet Mr. Bachchan personally. Amazed at Vijay’s determination and dedication towards his father Mr. Bachchan happily obliges Vijay. He eats half of Vijay’s homemade murabba. Satisfied and victorious Vijay now sets on his return journey by train. On his way back he is shown narrating his experiences to fellow passengers. Meanwhile, a co- passenger maliciously breaks the glass jar containing the murabba eaten by Mr. Bachchan while another co-passenger inadvertently squishes it. Disappointed and heartbroken, Vijay has no option but to replace the piece of murabba somehow. He decides to buy a new glass jar and some murabba. He reaches home with the murabba and offer it to his father. The father however is able to detect that something went wrong; he asks his son, “where he broke the glass jar?” In response, Vijay narrates the truth to him. It is then that the father narrates his own story to Vijay. Just as he had asked Vijay to meet Mr. Bachchan, his grandfather had asked his father to meet Mr. Dilip Kumar, a Bollywood superstar of his times. His grandfather had handed over a jar of honey to his father and had asked that Mr. Dilip Kumar dip his finger into the jar. However, the jar of honey caught ants by the time it reached Mr. Dilip Kumar and the actor refused to dip his finger into it. Vijay’s father had then replaced the jar of honey, dipped his own finger into it and taken it back to his father. Unsuspectingly, Vijay’s grandfather ate honey from the jar for years to come and lived a long life. The movie ends with Vijay’s father contemplating how life takes a full circle.