‘Lantrani’ Summary And Ending Explained Of All Short Stories

Zee5’s entry into anthology filmmaking has garnered mixed reviews. The stories are weird and interesting at the same time. Lantrani is the name of the film, it tells three stories from three different years and places and talks about many issues at hand in the most satirical manner. Directed by three filmmakers, the stories in the film are quirky takes on health, moral, and social issues, and all of which are presented most realistically.

Spoilers Ahead


Hud Hud Dabbang

The title of the first short film directed by Kaushik Ganguly is a homage to the title song of the cult Salman Khan film Dabangg. The movie was set in 2017, and it was about a policeman at a secluded police station in rural India. He was a day away from retirement, and his last duty was to present the accused at the magistrate court. The journey was long, and there were many obstacles on the way. It was the first time the policeman had held a gun, one that was assigned to him for the road trip. The road trip involved a not-so-well-protected bike, which was a sad take on the monetary situation of the police force.

The accused remains quiet most of the time throughout the journey and speaks only when spoken to. On the way to court, the policeman’s gun was stolen by a wedding groom who wanted to take a picture of himself with it. This was an indication of how men and women in the country feel entitled to property that does not belong to them. The policeman and the accused chase the groom, and the officer accidentally lets go of the accused. Thankfully, the accused was only trying to help his companion retrieve the gun, and he turned out to be a man of good temperament. On reaching the court, the policeman learns of the crime committed by the accused. He was charged with having consensual intercourse with a man and was caught in the act by the police. 

The accused’s lawyer, the prosecution, and the presiding judge had already made their judgment regarding the crime they felt he’d committed. They throw around plenty of terms that dub him inhuman for having carnal relationships with a person of the same sex. The accused had no hope and was aware the court’s verdict would be highly prejudiced. The accused was sentenced to ten years of harsh imprisonment for indulging in consensual acts, which rattled the policeman who accompanied him.

The police officer could not believe the accused was treated like a second-class citizen, and that nobody at the court was tolerant of the life he wanted to live on his terms. The policeman stood up for the accused, while the lawyers and judges did not support a man’s right to have a physical relationship with anyone behind closed doors. The policeman, on the way back with the accused, requested that he run away. He does not believe the accused did anything wrong, and that he deserved to live a life on his terms. The policeman, whose powers were limited, was willing to look beyond who the accused was and wanted to help him start over.

The accused was heartbroken over losing a partner who abandoned him at the time of need. The policeman forced the accused to escape and was willing to take the blame because he wanted to do a good deed before his retirement. The short film ends with the accused shooting himself with the gun he secretly took from the policeman. The officer was shocked, for he did not expect the result to be very tragic. The accused was most likely already suicidal and helped the officer avoid a bad report by killing himself. Since the accused was already rejected by society, the court of law, and his partner, he did not find any need to remain alive, for he was humiliated. His death was a reminder of how many members of the LGBTQ+ community commit suicide only because society rejected them.


Sanitized Samachar

The second film in the anthology, directed by Bhaskar Hazarika, is about the television news channel ‘E-News’. Set during the peak of the COVID lockdown of 2020, the short film is about the survival of a news channel during the pandemic. The person who previously ran the channel was in dire need of funding to run the channel and pay his employees. The satire was deeply rooted in the narrative about the channel head and how the owner would do anything to bring in some money.

The star anchor, Mili Sinha, was infected with COVID-19 and she was struggling to pay the rent with her scant income. The head of the channel also had his homeowners go after him to get him to pay the dues. The movie showcased the grim reality of how many glamorized sectors lost their charm and were struggling to survive during the pandemic. Television news channels that banked on the high TRP ratings are now defunct. The showrunner, Pinaki, and the marketing head were allowed to produce an advertising segment to market ‘Covinaash’, a sanitizer brand. The man who ran the brand wanted to bank on the demand for the product, and they put forward many specifications to make sure the brand was a hit. One of the demands was to get Milli Sinha to be the brand ambassador, as she was the face of ‘E-News’. Pinaki had to run from one end to another of the town in PPE to convince Milli to become a brand ambassador as per the client’s request. The client company was not considerate because of its power and the channel’s desperation to stay relevant and up in the air.

As the team prepared a screenplay after many corrections from the client, Milli was brought to the set after taking the utmost care and consideration and following strict COVID protocols. The moneylender sent to harass Pinaki was also present at the channel premises. The facility was being used to package many food items, apparently their only way to receive some immediate cash flow. Mili was tense, but the ad shoot went as planned because Pinaki went out of her way to make sure the client remained happy. The client was aware of the power they had to make sure the channel bends as per their rules, and Pinaki was willing to do that. Everyone, including him, was in dire need of money, and they worked hard to make sure the final product was beyond the expectations set by the client. The short film ended with Milli Sinha being given a mask to wear, one that had the name of the brand on it. This was the highlight of the film. The owner of the product and its marketing team made sure to utilize every item or space for their benefit with their brand name. It also indicates the power of branding and how it was used during the peak COVID lockdown.


Dharna Mana Hai

The final film of the anthology, directed by Gurvinder Singh, was inspired by the actual title of an old Ram Gopal Varma film, Darna Mana Hai, which means you are not allowed to be afraid. The plot of the short also implies that people need not be afraid of the government and should never stop questioning it. ‘Dharna Mana Hai’ meant protesting was not allowed.

The movie begins with Gomti Devi and Debu Sahani, a married couple protesting against the former’s lack of power in her town, Laxmipur, after being elected as the head sarpanch. It was a silent protest conducted to demonstrate that, as a head sarpanch, she was expected to stay quiet, not make any noise about her lack of power, and not be given the power to make decisions.

Gomti believes there was a caste angle that no one was talking about, which is why many in her town were unwilling to help her access funds for its development. Other village heads and sarpanches were unwilling to give proper responses to the queries conducted by the local DDO. The local police and other administrative offices were unwilling to help Gomti Devi. They were willing to offer a solution that was not per what Gomti and her husband demanded. They continued their silent protest, and the DDO tried hard to move the couple away by many unorthodox means, but many did not work out as Gomti and Debu were resilient. Gomti, a head sarpanch, was not treated with respect when her demands were put forward.

The short film ended with the couple being arrested for carrying out a prolonged protest, and they were taken around town to make them believe it could be the last time they could witness freedom in broad daylight. The police were working on the orders of the DDO and his superiors, who were not keen on providing an apt solution to Gomti and her husband. Gomti, as a person holding an important seat, expected to be heard and given a solution that gives herself and Debu some dignity. They were given none over many weeks. The DDO and the magistrate refused to have a dignified dialogue with them, which indicates people in higher authorities refuse to treat others as equals. Four years went by since the protest began, and everything around them had changed. The protest began in 2015 and continued until 2019, and that year Gomti again filed for re-election, and she finally spoke while filing for candidacy. 


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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