The Fabulous Lives Of Bollywood Wives(Netflix, 8 Episodes)
Rating: * ½
I sat numbed and wide-eyed through this vulgar display of wealth and luxury wondering two things: are these people for real? And have we imagined the Covid crisis? Looking at the gleaming surfaces and glossy faces in this series on how the rich and the bored find pretexts to spend their time and money, I came to the conclusion that somehow all the real hardships of everyday existence have bypassed them .
Or maybe these wives bypassed the hardships as they whizzed by in their Rolls Royce?Straight out of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3, the lives of the four Bollywood wives in this series comes across as selfindulgent and insulated. And more than a little frivolous. I have nothing against the rich and the privileged as long as they don’t flaunt their wealth.But this is all about showing off .For all we know Neelam Kothari, Seema Khan, Bhavna Pandey and Maheep Kapoor are really nice people. Here they are on the backfoot from the start, acting out a weird variety of “reality” posing as a variation of Bollywood wives far removed from what they actually are.
It’s as though Karan Johar has just fraternized Jackie Collins’ ghost.All the supposedly private interactions, heavily scripted , with their husbands and children come across as stilted and vain. The four heroines come across as sad sorry players in their own story scripted by someone who has no idea of what they think and how they talk.
The brief here seems to be to just mimic the Kardashians. So there is a lot shop talk, lots of designer shoes and clothes, lots of champagne and lots of bad language. Mrs Kapoor thinks calling her pals ‘assholes’ is cool. I also noticed that whenever her husband Sanjay Kapoorshows up on screen she is impatient with his part of the conversation, as if to say, ‘This is my show, don’t you forget that’
The husbands make brief thankless appearances and then leave the four ladies to their own fun and frolic which includes lunch with Karan Johar(where the conversation is a little less rehearsed and little more spontaneous than elsewhere) , partying with Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan and a trip to Doha where the ladies sigh and moan over the infinite levels of luxury they are thrown into.
It’s all very showy and flashy and a little vulgar. Just makes no sense to have these women on camera looking like robotic versions of their real lives. At one point Neelam’s cosmetic surgery is discussed.And it feels like an out-of-body experience . Maybe if Malaika Arora and GauriKhan starred in this rehearsed reality drama instead of making guest appearances things would have been a lot different.
As things are, the show reveals nothing fabulous about the four Bollywood wives except that they are all bad actresses, even the one (Neelam)who has acted in movies in the past. Nothing Neelam did with Govinda is as outlandish and cut off from reality as this.This is neither reality television nor a tribute to the Kardashian sisters. It is just gross.