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Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo: The Nose-ring Brand Of Feminism



Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo(Disney+Hotstar, 8 Episodes)

Rating: * ½

I am really scared of women who wear nose-rings on screen. They are invariably too sassy for their own  good and frighteningly and scarily mortifyingly aggressive.

 Dimple  Kapadia in Homi Adajania’s  capricious crime caper  which is a sort of all-female version of the recent Rana Naidu,is  definitely the nose-ting type . Her character(and  what a character!) Savitri runs  a drug cartel somewhere in the border area of Rajasthan(Dimple’s  accent is  more  Godmother than Rudaali)  with her chronically dissatisfied daughter(Radhika Madan) and two daughters-in-law Bijli and Kajal,played with a belligerent impunity that tries  hard to match Saasuma’s sassiness, by  Isha Talwar and Angira Dhar .

One of the daughters-in-law , we are shown, has a lesbian  love interest in the  big bad city(see what happens women in the rural heartland head to the city).

Savitri’s two sons are NRI wastrels heading home to what they presume  to be a sedate Mataji and  docile  wives and  hand cooked meals.

Little do they know!

 This  is the problem with Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo which originally called itself Saas Bahu Aur Cocaine and that was a devilish touch for  the drug-peddling women: from cooking to cocaine.(In fact  I have a  better title: What’s Cocaine, Ladies?).

Flamingo is a variant  of  cocaine. I had to  google for this information, not being as “cool” as these tangy  ladies and their  supercool director  who thinks it  is wackily entertaining to give  a subverted twist to the Saas-Bahu  sagas from Eka Kapoor’s  farmhouse that we  grew up watching.

I am sure there is an audience for  Adajania  Dimple-driven  drivel in some part  of the world. Call me oldfashioned. But watching women trying hard  to empower themselves by behaving like men, is not my cup of tea even if it is spiked. All the ladies in this saas-bahu eccentricity get to do a lot of  kung fu reducing their  male adversaries to  chowed  men.

The stunts with lots of chopped limbs and  smeared  ketchup, are not well choreographed. Or maybe  it is the light. On the  OTT  screen night scenes tend to look gassed  out.

 At one point in the storytelling Savitri even  cuts  off a sidey henchman’s  tongue.I thought this very symbolic. The  men  in the serial don’t have a voice.  Not that they don’t speak. They do. But they  babble in vain. The  series is  not interested in them. Not even the talented Deepak Dobriyal who came across as mirthfully menacing in Bholaa recently. Here he is just annoying in his snarling avatar.

The female  actors who anchor the rancour  are not much in their element.Dimple seems  inspired  by the spectacular  Shabana Azmi  in  Godmother  who could occupy the male space  without behaving like  a man. Here the women think playing human battering Rams makes them  ultra-cool Sitas.

All talented actresses, they know not what to do with a series that does maa-bahen with the saas-bahu trope.

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