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Decoding Indian women

BUDHADITYA BHATTACHARYA
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TV Fox Traveller’s “What’s with Indian Women?” looks to discover cities through the eyes of its female participants. BUDHADITYA BHATTACHARYA

Full of surprisesThe hosts VJ Andy and Sanjay Rajoura in Vadodara.
Full of surprisesThe hosts VJ Andy and Sanjay Rajoura in Vadodara.

The title of the series “What’s With Indian Women?” evokes the sort of thing an exasperated gathering of single men would talk about over drinks, or an angsty boy band would sing about. Common to both these images is the absence of women.

But the approach of the latest offering from Fox Traveller is different. Hosted by VJ Andy and comedian Sanjay Rajoura, women participate in the enterprise to find out what’s with Indian women. “It is about finding out what is going on in a woman’s mind in a light-hearted, not preachy, way,” Andy says over the phone. The show comes from a genuine curiosity, rather than a debate mindset, he adds.

As with other programmes on the channel, travel is a significant component of the content. So it is equally about discovering a city through the eyes of women. The cities covered range from the metros to tier 2 cities like Dehradun, Vadodra and Shillong among others. In each city, the hosts discover its character as reflected in its women. In Delhi they meet a “hardnosed” socialite known for her purchasing power who shows them what it is like to be her. In Mumbai, they meet a struggling actress, a successful saas-bahu series star and a corporate tsarina. In Shillong, they are taken by surprise. Here, Andy meets women “who are almost from another country. Their concerns and worries are so different from the women in other cities.”

But often the hosts did not find a definitive trait. They encountered contradictions instead. In Jaipur they meet a princess and a tribal woman sarpanch, whose views of the world are very different. In Lucknow, a Begum and an entrepreneur show them the different worlds they inhabit.

Considering the hosts were always at one remove from their subjects (in biological terms), and often at a few more, were there ever any misunderstandings? Andy says, “There were minor misunderstandings, but they were all very open to talking about themselves, even in the smaller cities.”

Talking about the format of the show, Andy says, “It’s very walk and talk, very out and about” like its precursor, “What’s With Indian Men?” which aired last year on the same channel. The hosts will also get a chance to display their personalities — the footage of their travels through cities is spliced with standup comedy performed by Sanjay Rajoura; Andy, in keeping with his persona, will be quite liberal in his comments to women.

Although the show is patently about women, the chemistry between the two hosts will be one of its highlights. “Sanjay and I keep having competitions, and I keep beating him, so that’s quite funny.”

(“What’s With Indian Women?” Starts December 9 and will air every Sunday night at 10 p.m. on FOX Traveller.)


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