Starring: Neelam Kothari, Maheep Kapoor, Seema Khan and Bhavana Pandey
Producer: Karan Johar
‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ combined with all the flashy cars, outfits and high-flying travel thrown in Indian style, this reality series comes packaged perfectly as the all-new guilty pleasure for die-hard Bollywood fans. However, unlike the popular Hollywood shows based on the fictional lives of four quibbling best friends, this one ostensibly follows the real lives of four glamorous women – each married to a Bollywood actor.
Neelam Kothari is married to actor Samir Soni, a talented television, stage and film actor, and she herself has some solid acting credentials of her own as a Bollywood starlet from the 1980s. Now a successful jewellery designer to the stars, her catchphrase throughout the show is all about her “comeback” to acting, as someone who was once quite popular for her on-screen pairings with actors Govinda and Chunky Pandey. And, her pal, Bhavana Pandey, is married to the latter and their daughter, Ananya Pandey, is now making waves with films like ‘Student of the Year 2’. This theme of it being all in the family very much resonates throughout the series.
Friend No. 3 is Maheep Kapoor, who is married to Sanjay Kapoor – the actor in the shadow of his more successful brothers Anil and Boney Kapoor, something his former model-actress wife acknowledges during fleeting moments of humility on the show. With not just one but two binoculars at her disposal, she adds some comic value with her pastime of snooping on her high-end Mumbai neighbourhood.
Completing the friendship foursome is Seema Khan, married but not quite together with Sohail Khan, the actor-producer brother of Salman Khan. This celebrity designer’s outspokenness makes for some entertaining as well as annoying moments.
Together these four women have been friends for decades, quite a feat in itself in an industry that rests on the ephemeral nature of box-office success and failure. They laugh together, drink together, joke together and are mostly there for one another but like any friendship, they have their clashes and ups and downs.
‘The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ has had social media abuzz since its Netflix premiere and the reactions have varied from it being a cringe-fest to warm and fuzzy. But love it or hate it, it has certainly managed to grab the attention.
There is a binge-watch quality to a show that can jump from celebrities clearing rubbish on a beach in Mumbai to getting botox injections on camera. You could unconsciously find yourself taking sides in favour of the more likeable ones and against the nastier ones. There are a few other aspects that add to the watchability factor of the show – for a certain generation who grew up watching Neelam films, it is a trip down memory lane, and for others it is a voyeuristic peep into behind-the-scenes Bollywood that most commoners rarely get to see.
Of course, what we do get to see here is still only what Karan Johar wants us to see, raking in the big bucks while he pulls the strings. The show has a distinctive ‘Koffee with Karan’ chat show flavour to it, with the fake and nepotistic side to Hindi cinema very much on show.
Overall, whether you find these lives fabulous or just vacuous, for some mindless fun, this series is just the ticket.
*‘iGlobal’ Review Series