Karan Johar’s Present is an Unavoidable Responsible Pleasure

Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives

Cast: Neelam Kothari, Maheep Kapoor, Bhavana Pandey and Seema Khan

Showrunner: Uttam Domale

Growing up as a starry eyed kid glued to the television at all times, film magazines used to be my window into the lives of the people who I would obsess over on screen. Actors ceased to be all about their work on screen long time ago, and tabloids exploited the viewer’s curiosity to get closer to the real person beyond the scripted character.

‘The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ wants to cash in on that curiosity. It has got nothing to do with Hindi cinema, and everything to do with Bollywood, this imaginary shiny town which stars supposedly inhabit.

It is everything you hoped for and more. Intimate details of celebrity lives served with Karan Johar’s sense of humour where he is not afraid to take a dig at his friends, and sometimes, at himself.

He has shown his knack for getting the most controversial details out in the open on Koffee with Karan, he brings the same sass to ‘Bollywood Wives’. The showmakers know exactly what the Instagram addicted audience wants, and are ready to deliver it.

Everything is over the top in this world – right from fashion to lifestyle, affection and parenthood. They have adapted very well the Kardashian way of criticizing your own family members in public, so you get to know the wives’ opinion of their husbands.

There are ample guest appearances from legit Bollywood stars, enough to give the audience something more than just the lives of these Bollywood wives. The series follows Bhavana Pandey, Maheep Kapoor, Seema Khan and Neelam Kothari Soni, wives of Chunky Pandey, Sanjay Kapoor, Sohail Khan and Samir Soni. Maheep is mother to Bollywood aspirant Shanaya Kapoor, and aunt of Arjun and Janhvi Kapoor, while Bhavana actress Ananya Panday’s mother.

None of them have superstar husbands, but they move in the right circles for enough cameos to come in. From Ekta Kapoor to Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar himself, there are enough big faces to keep the audience hooked. The show is one big parade of celebrities going in and out of frames.

It’s not all about flashbulbs and fancy gowns though. Nepotism, online trolling, fake accents, fitness obsessions, cosmetic surgery – no topic is off the table. The show does give us a peek into the insecurities of each woman, even though momentary.

The quartet is also very frank about their opinion of each other, sometimes too honest to sound real. The wives are shown as anxious, abusive, obsessive, paranoid, extravagant, and downright nasty at times – everything a gang of celebrity mothers is expected to be.

But it’s mostly candyfloss. There is no deep dive into anyone’s psyche, or any shocking revelation. The show feels like one big party, and you are just along for the ride.

Netflix could have paid a bit more attention to the subtitling – Gujarati was termed as Bengali at one point in Episode 2.

This show is that guilty pleasure many will indulge in but few have the ‘guts’ – to borrow from Kareena Kapoor Khan – to admit to. It does begin with a bang, but the pace drops after a couple of episodes when you start wondering if you really want to know more about these wives and their lives. I mean, how much of crabs, claws and catfights can you really sit through.

Watch it if you are missing Sima aunty from Indian Matchmaking and need a fresh dose of reality TV ‘bi**hiness’ in your lives. Bigg Boss just doesn’t cut it anymore. I stopped watching after Season 7.

Rating: 3/5

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