‘Thousand And One Lies (1001 Nunakal)’ Ending, Explained & Summary: Did Indu Steal The Watch?

Thousand and One Lies (also titled 1001 Nunakal) really engages you right from the beginning. It’s one of those films where the drama happens mostly in one location, and layers come off the characters as if the director, Thamar K.V., is peeling the layers of an onion. Thousand and One Lies draws us in because of the anticipation it creates.

Advertisement

Thousand and One Lies‘ story is about a bunch of couples who have gathered at a friend’s house. Many of them lived in a building that caught fire, and they had to rush out so they could find an abode at a friend’s place nearby. The rest arrived because the house owners were also celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary the very next day. The plot seems extremely simple, and yet films like The Invitation and Festen have shown us what kind of explosions can occur if you put eclectic characters, especially ones who know each other and share a bond, in one place. The drama here is, of course, not that dramatic, but the narrative reveals the well-known feeling that truth is like a ticking time bomb that will eventually go off.

Spoilers Ahead

Advertisement

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Vinay and Divya were not prepared to have so many friends over, but what else could they have done? Vinay had married her, and they had eloped from India, and many friends had helped them come to Dubai. Presently, two couples they knew were living in a nearby apartment building, and when it caught fire, they had to escape and find a place to stay until everything went back to normal. Firstly, there was the couple, Salma and Mujeeb. Salma was pregnant, and it was a miracle she didn’t get hurt. Then there were Saumya and Rajesh. Saumya was busy with her work in her clinic, and Rajesh was supposed to be with the kids. Rajesh had been jobless for a while, and although he had found a job, he hadn’t exactly joined in yet. He was out when the fire broke out, and Saumya was fuming with anger because he wasn’t there with them.

Everyone left with whatever they could get their hands on. Mujeeb picked up a bag and left with Salma, while Rajesh just got the kids out and averted the tragedy. He didn’t have the time, perhaps, to save anything else. So he called Elwyn, another close friend, to get their passports made. Elwyn was married to Benzy, and soon she would join too.

Advertisement

The following day was special as the topic of Vinay and Divya’s 10-year anniversary was brought up during dinner. So, on the one hand, there was this issue where a building caught fire, and then there was the celebration the very next day. Aleena and Joffy were the youngest couple to join on the day of the celebration. There was also ‘Vakeel’ (Hindi for a lawyer), who joined. He was a divorce lawyer and took great pleasure in separating couples. The friends fondly nicknamed him Vakeel for his argumentative prowess. Apart from all these couples, there was one other couple who was also going through a tough time, but they were not exactly part of the celebration. Indu, the housekeeper in Divya and Vinay’s house, was married to Anil, a small-time worker who had taken a loan from his company and invested it in a fraud scheme. The house became a melting pot of various personalities and intricate family dynamics for a day, and when the ‘moment of truth’ came, everyone had to deal with the heat.


Why Was There Tension In The Air?

Everybody made themselves comfortable on Vinay and Divya’s anniversary. Rajesh had pricked Vinay about the gift he would give to Divya, considering it was going to be ten full years of what was a runaway marriage. Vakeel and Rajesh had helped Vinay elope with Divya, and look where he is now. He was running a successful business in Dubai. Rajesh wasn’t exactly jealous of him, but as he had had no real job for such a long time and was drowning in debt, he marveled at what Vinay had managed to do, even though Rajesh was more studious of the two. Saumya was furious at him, and it looked like the relationship had not been going smoothly for a long time.

Advertisement

When Elwyn had come for the documentation for the passports the previous day, Salma had found a photo of a girl in Mujeeb’s bag. He denied ever having seen the photo before, but Salma couldn’t get it out of her mind. Divya was unsure what to make of the fact that Vinay had announced that he had a gift ready for her on this joyous occasion. Did he actually have a gift? Or was he going to order it now that he had declared that there was indeed a gift to be given? Did he even remember the anniversary? As far as Elwyn and Benzy were concerned, their concern preceded this event. They couldn’t become parents, but there was very little tension between them. Indu was afraid that his husband, Anil, would be put in jail for defaulting on the loan.


How Did The ‘Game’ Start?

Everybody was going through some stressful situations in their lives. Perhaps not Aleena and Joffy, as they were newly married and didn’t really understand the unpleasant intricacies of the spousal dynamic as much as the others did. Vakeel was the most carefree of them all. One can pin that on the fact that he had sent his wife back home and was free to roam around Dubai. He couldn’t just let the celebration end with a barbecue and a few puffs of cigarettes. Soon the opportunity came when he, too, could enjoy the couple’s function.

While playing dumb charades, Vinay gave the title ‘Thief is within the Crew’ for Elwyn to enact. When they guessed it, Divya was upset. As Aleena was the newest member, she didn’t understand what was going on. Actually, there was another couple that was not there with them because something had happened the previous year. A woman named Lakhsmi hid the fact that she had given her necklace to her husband’s younger brother to help him out with his loan. She instead made a scene at Divya and Vinay’s place, implying that somebody stole it during the party, but the husband somehow found out that she was lying and had herself lent the necklace.

Vakeel wasn’t ready to back down and calm Divya down just because she had a soft spot for Lakshmi. According to him, whatever may have been the reason behind her lending the necklace, Lakshmi was a liar, which is why her marriage ended in divorce. He then came up with a game where the couples had to drop their sentimental attitude and muster the courage to tell their spouse one truth they’ve kept hidden from them or risk ending up like Lakshmi, who continued with her lie, and when her husband got to know the truth from someplace else, she essentially lost his trust, and the marriage ended. Although it was a playful game, and nobody expected the couples to say heartbreaking and scandalous things to each other, the situation got explosive.

Advertisement

Who Lied To Whom And Why? Did Indu Steal The Watch?

Before the game, Vinay gave a watch to Divya as an anniversary gift. Aleena checked its price online, and it turned out to be an expensive Rolex. Doubts that Vinay hadn’t really bought Divya a gift had been put to rest. The tension between Divya and Vinay had finally resolved, but the game was causing all the couples some anxiety as they couldn’t predict what the other person would say in public. Could they trust each other’s social awareness so that whatever they reveal will not be embarrassing?

Aleena was quick to jump in, as she was the youngest and really didn’t have any secret lies that she had to hide. As a flagbearer of total honesty in a committed relationship, she told the lie she once told Joffy. It was something silly, like she did know how to iron, yet she burned one of Joffy’s shorts to avoid the responsibility. Joffy revealed how he fabricated a story about his Bangalore girlfriend, who died in a train accident, so that he could make Aleena sympathetic towards him and feel as if she was competing with his true love. This revelation didn’t bother Aleena too much. The first couple participated in the game with a playful spirit. This couldn’t be said about the more experienced couple in the gathering.

Advertisement

When nobody wanted to play, Benzy, Elwyn’s wife, revealed that she had lied to Elwyn about the infertility. She had asked her doctor friend to forge the report and make it seem like Elwyn was the one with the problem, whereas the truth was that Benzy could never be a mother. This confession came out of the blue. Nobody could make heads or tails of it. But Benzy couldn’t keep receiving Elwyn’s love anymore without telling him the truth, and this was just as good an opportunity as any other. Elwyn was distraught at first, but later realized that she had done so because she feared losing him. He chose to forgive her. Everybody went out into the garden to get some fresh air, and the game continued even after this disturbing revelation. Everybody now had something they wanted to get off their chests, and they grabbed the chance. Rajesh told everybody that he had hidden the fact that he had actually financially helped Saumya’s maternal uncle, although she didn’t want him to. Her uncle committed suicide later, and Saumya was under the impression that it was because she didn’t let Rajesh help him that he died. Maybe he was under too much stress, but how could Saumya know? It wasn’t as if Rajesh had a business like Vinay’s. Saumya was affected by this revelation. Rajesh could have put her at ease by telling her that before her uncle committed suicide, Rajesh had helped him, but he ended his life nonetheless. But he chose not to. So Saumya revealed that his new job was a result of Vinay’s recommendation; otherwise, he would still be jobless. Rajesh left the gathering on the pretext of going to the loo.

Seeing the game escalating, Salma, who was waiting for Mujeeb to arrive at the party from work, concocted a plan. She didn’t want their dirty laundry to be washed in public, so when Mujeeb arrived, she feigned being sick and asked Mujeeb to take her inside. There, she told him about the game they were all playing, and she requested that Mujeeb not play by the rules. She wanted him to fabricate a lie and then later reveal if there was anything he wanted to get off his chest in private. They joined the others, and Salma told everybody a made-up story about how she was labeled a thief once by Mujeeb himself when his mother was the actual culprit. Mujeeb, on the other hand, told a shocking story about how his first marriage had ended, and Salma was actually his second wife.

Advertisement

Salma was visibly disturbed when Mujeeb started to give intricate details about his first wife and how, when she died, he was lost. He continued his revelation that it was only later that he met Salma’s father, who asked him to marry Salma. Salma had told him to fabricate a simple story, but this was too much for her. This was actually worse than if he had just told a horrible truth. That’s why she interrupted Mujeeb’s story and confessed to everyone that she had told Mujeeb to lie. She confessed in order to prevent anyone from actually believing what Mujeeb was saying. But the shock of a lifetime came when Mujeeb told Salma he wasn’t lying and that this was indeed his second marriage. Rajesh was a witness to this fact. The photo Salma had found in his bag earlier was of his first wife.

This game would have never ended, but it got upstaged by the case of the missing watch. It was the housekeeper, Indu, who had stolen the watch, for Anil’s sake. She couldn’t just give it back, as Divya trusted her so much, and she didn’t have the courage to break her trust. Anil would go to jail if she returned home without it. Everybody had gone through turbulent emotions except Vakeel. He was ready to call the police, as he had tried to persuade everyone, but nobody returned the watch. Vinay had to step in and tell the truth. He told Vakeel to calm down, as it didn’t matter who stole it. Perhaps it just went missing, and there was no need to worry as it was not an original Rolex. He told everybody that his business wasn’t going all that well. The watch was just a cheap replica that he had ordered the day before without anybody noticing. Divya was livid, but it was Indu who was shell-shocked—the hell she had been through, and now it was all in vain. She had lost her self-respect all for a fake watch, which wouldn’t even help Anil recover the amount he was supposed to repay.

Advertisement

Indu left and was slapped by Anil, who thought that she was lying about ever having the watch in her possession. When everybody left, Vinay tried to calm down Divya, who was feeling embarrassed, especially after having felt such joy a few hours ago. Vinay revealed that what he said in front of the others was a lie. He didn’t want Vakeel to call the police, as he would then have to see one of his childhood buddies taken to jail. Was a Rolex watch worth seeing all that? The business was actually going well, and probably the one who stole the watch really needed it, which is why they didn’t give it back, even at the risk of going to jail. Divya realized he was telling the truth. The Rolex was hidden under the kitchen sink. Indu had left it there, thinking it was a replica.


Final Words

Thousand and One Lies thus deals with the fact that it is our responses that make or break a relationship. But are our responses really only dependent on us? No, they certainly aren’t. Circumstances shape our psyche, and we cannot escape our reality, no matter how hard we try. The young couples are easy on each other, but perhaps ten years down the line, they too might face their challenges. Anil reacted violently and slapped Indu because he was probably going to rot in jail, and Indu had not kept her promise, and this was the only way he could vent. Elwyn understood Benzy, perhaps because she was the one to blame for the infertility. Vinay could iron out the messy situation because he had the money in the bank. Our ability to handle the truth is certainly based on our character, but the monster of chaos raises its head high when one gets mixed up in status games and financial stress, and the film compels us to fantasize about our own ‘what-ifs’ and how many truths we probably don’t know. Maybe it is better to just let the sleeping dogs lie, eh?

Advertisement

Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

Latest articles