The Fabulous Lives Of Bollywood Wives premiered on Netflix on Friday and is based on the lives of four star-wives – Seema Khan (married to Sohail Khan), Maheep Kapoor (Sanjay Kapoor’s wife), Bhavana Pandey (wife of Chunky Pandey) and Neelam Kothari (married to Samir Soni).
The show seems to be a rip off of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’. In fact the makers have admitted to wanting to create a reality series similar on the lines of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Basically, desi trashy TV.
In theory it is the perfect guilty pleasure binge for the quarantine. Endless money, privilege, feisty personalities. All the elements come through, especially the women.
Neelam Kothari has retired from acting and has switched to being a full time mom while also running a jewellery business. She is struggling with wanting to make a comeback into films.
Seema is a fashion designer and quite frankly is an attention hog. Her ability to throw tantrums at any given point is annoying but makes for great TV. Bhavana is the sorted one except for her crazy superstitions that she swears by.
Maheep Kapoor, wife of actor Sanjay Kapoor, is perhaps the most entertaining of the lot. She swears at her friends unapologetically. She calls her them tw*ts, stupid cows, a****les but none take offence. Maheep rarely seems to be faking it. Her husband, Sanjay Kapoor is easily the best part of the show. He plays the awkward Indian father and cracks silly one liners. He’s relatable and the only guy you’d want to hang out with out of this lot. (Even if he remains wrapped up in and blissfully unaware of his privilege).
The show claims to offer you trashy TV drama but most of the actual drama happens to be unintentional. Karan Johar shows up in two episodes to ruffle some feathers but barely manages to do so. There are quite a few incidents that feel staged. One of the most painfully obvious one is Neelam Kothari’s ‘stalker’. The two episode week long to Doha also seems at an attempt to promote tourism to the place.
Karan Johar and Madhur Bhandarkar have been exchanging open letters on twitter over the title. Bhandarkar claims he has already registered the title “Bollywood Wives” while Johar says that his name is not overstepping any boundaries. Nevertheless they seem to have reached a truce.
Another issue that has been raising her eyebrows is Seema Khan and Sohail’s relationship. Seema claims they have an “unconventional marriage”. They are seemingly living in different houses. In the fourth episode, her elder son Nirvaan comes back from college. He hints that he will be staying elsewhere. “You are talking as if I live across the ocean. I live across the street,” Nirvaan says in return. She later tells the camera that she doesn’t see him enough. She further adds that he lives with his dad and only comes over to sleep.
Talking about Sohail on the show, Seema said that she will ‘always love Sohail’. “We have the most amazing family. Sohail is the most amazing father. He has been amazing since my kids were born. I love him, I always will. We have a great relationship. It’s just that sometimes when you grow older, your relationships meanders and goes into different directions.”
Bollywood’s inability to let go of celebrity worship
Some of the best moments on the show are when the women are actually allowed to be vulnerable. Maheep gets real about hers being the least successful Kapoor family. She has embraced being a full time mother and has no regrets. In a scene where they are watching their old films the other women praise her and lament over the fact that she gave her career up. Maheep however is unshaken and stands by her decision. She is admirable in her own way.
Neelam Kothari’s insecurities about making a comeback also strike a chord with you. Her husband’s feelings of being the outsider in their group is also a relatable moment.
The show might’ve fared much better if they would’ve just let the women be. The ending with Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan’s party also feels anti climatic and takes away from the women’s stories. I guess Bollywood will continue to put its (male) stars on a pedestal even in a show about their wives.