Director: George K Antoney
What if an AC wants to tell you something? What if a car tries to save you? What if you weigh 75 kilos, but your scale keeps increasing 5 or 10 kilos to your weight every day? Story Of Things has all such bizarre situations and more.
Director George K Antoney's anthology of five stories are connected by two common elements: things (such as a weighing scale, cell phone, AC, car, and mirror) and human emotions. You will have been through a rollercoaster of emotions by the time you reach the last episode. While the first two episodes take you on a guilt trip, the third is more about karma. The fourth episode is a redemptive ride, and the fifth is a heartwarming tale that acts as a cherry on the cake, leaving you happy and giddy.
Bharath plays Ram, an amateur actor in Weighing Scale, the first episode in the anthology. It plays out like a horror film with blood, nightmares and jump scares, but the film has more to do with the mind. Every time Ram checks his weight on his grandmother's old weighing scale, his weight keeps increasing, even if the other weighing scales show his actual weight. This haunts him in his dreams. But what is it? A weighing scale of his sins. This opening episode sets the tone of the entire series — spooky, but it has nothing to do with ghosts as much as ghosts of the past.
Two of the anthology's best episodes are Cellular, starring Gautami and Aditi Balan, and Mirror, featuring a wonderful Vinoth Kishan. In Cellular, you get a mother (Gautami) who has sacrificed every little joy in her life for her daughter Vannamayil (Aditi Balan). But this relationship creates an interdependency. While the mother enjoys this, all Vannamayil wants is her independence.
For instance, the mother rings her sharp at 10: 30 every night. Vannamayil keeps an alarm so that she doesn't miss her mother's call. But she also wants to attend parties and dine outside, so she lies to her mother. However, at one of these times, something unpleasant happens. This leads to Aditi blaming herself for everything, making her feel guilty. The cell acts as a medium to help her connect with the other world, or that's how she imagines it. But will it rescue or punish her?
Things become symbolic of an emotion in Story of Things, a quality that elevates even an ordinary story. Take the scene in Vannamayil's house, which depicts everything that reminds her of the guilt. Here, the symbolism of things goes beyond the central cell phone, to things such as the leftover payasam — that was once part of her happiest moments — which is now spoiled with flies swarming around it (Aditi is brilliant here).
The third episode, Compressor, is the odd one out in the series, but not in a bad way. When an aspiring director, Raghu (Roju), loots money from the production house that fails to pay his salary, he decides to buy an AC with his girlfriend, Shruti (Ritika Singh). But this brings trouble. The AC switches on on its own and makes growling sounds. Raghu believes that the AC is trying to communicate something. But when Shruti discovers the owner of the AC, she is in for some shock.
The fourth episode, which stars Shanthnu as Britto, is Car. It shows how an abusive parenting style can lower a child's confidence and instill fear in him. As a child, Britto was always locked inside a car whenever his father decided to punish him. Years later, Britto, now a fashion designer, repurchases the same car and drives it over to his father's house. You can call it a ride of redemption. But when his car gets trapped in a forest, things go haywire. Shanthnu owns this space and impeccably portrays the wavering stages of fear and newly gained courage.
In Mirror, Sethu (Vinoth Kishan) moves to an apartment after getting kicked out of his college hostel. Having been through a breakup and experiencing suicidal tendencies, he struggles to navigate life. But in the house, he makes a new friend in Nazia, a young girl who resides inside the old mirror in the attic. When someone appears randomly out of an old mirror, it usually creates an element of horror. But at the hands of George K Antony, this premise turns into a warm friendship. The background music of Prashanth Techno and Harish Venkat makes the episode all the more pleasing.
At its core, Story of Things is about the things we use routinely, which slowly become a part of our lives, often reflective of some of the emotions we feel towards others. But the biggest draw of Story of Things is the unique way with which these emotions translate on screen.