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‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ review: Netflix’s latest guilty pleasure is a dud

A still from ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’   | Photo Credit: Rachel Santos

If you have watched the trailer of the new Netflix reality series Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, you know exactly what you are in for: the many splash of Gucci and glamour, B-town celebrity cameos including Shah Rukh Khan himself, carefully-designed dramatic overkill for the camera, and outrageous comments to raise your eyebrows.

It’s loud, at times bitchy and over-the-top, but despite the setup, the show reveals almost no interesting insight into the lives of these Bollywood wives. Half-way through the first episode, which sets the tone for the half-baked affair, one wonders, “So where is the entertainment?”

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The show gives a peek into the ‘mundane’ lives of four friends: Maheep Kapoor, wife of actor Sanjay Kapoor; Neelam Kothari, once a well-known actor and wife of actor Samir Soni; Seema Khan, wife of actor Sohail Khan; and Bhavana Pandey, wife of actor Chunky Pandey and mother of Ananya Pandey.

The camera follows them around as they pick and choose topics to talk about, wearing designer clothes with perfect blow-dried hair, often repeating themselves over and over again. For instance, we are reminded constantly of their 25-year-long friendship, and Neelam’s internal debate on whether to make a comeback to movies or not.

There are lavish dinners, fancy locales, and of course, a girls’ trip; their Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara moment. The show attempts to emulate a Keeping Up With The Kardashians-tone, but fails to hold attention.

 

The setting also travels to Paris where the Kapoors attend Le Bal, the ‘coming out into the society’ event for their daughter Shanaya Kapoor. The event was well-covered on social media in 2019, thanks to many Instagram posts from the family, so we don’t really learn anything new. What follows next is the concerned parents addressing Twitter trolls, a monologue on nepotism, and how the concept never worked for Sanjay, who, “knows every other person in the industry,” but is not a successful actor himself.

In one rare and funny episode, the ladies decide to take up beach cleaning... in heels and Prada. But there are also too many exaggerated moments that fall flat. Even the usually entertaining Karan Johar cannot infuse laughter with his over-the-top appearances.

So, what do we learn?

Maheep, who was born in London, enjoys spying on her neighbours.

Bhavana Pandey is into astrology. The much-talked about Filmfare award received by Ananya Pandey was everything that her father Chunky Pandey ever wanted in his film career.

Neelam, now a jewellery designer, has a funny accent, but in her own words, “It is what it is.”

Seema speaks with candour, but can be loud at times.

We also learn why Gauri Khan, touted as the fulcrum holding the B-town group together, is not part of the show.

A special shout out to the ever-witty Shah Rukh Khan, who saves us from an otherwise humourless journey, during his memorable cameo.

Ultimately though, as Karan himself asks during an episode, “Why the %^&! should I watch a show about four women who don’t have jobs?” The fabulous Bollywood wives are rich and seem to have fun, but unfortunately watching them ain’t much fun.

Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives is currently streaming on Netflix

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 5:15:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/fabulous-lives-of-bollywood-wives-review-netflixs-latest-guilty-pleasure-is-a-dud/article33211597.ece

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