Cast: Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur, Aadhya Anand
Creator: Alankrita Shrivastava
Bombay Begums is a classic example of letting go of good opportunities in the name of sticking to the theme. Just when the audiences begin to feel a connection with the show, it changes track. The six-episode show loses steam within first two episodes and then keeps beating around the bush for the rest of it.
Rani (Pooja Bhatt) is a small-town girl who has made it in the big bad world of Mumbai corporates, but she has lately started to sense a change in her moral stances. While Fatima (Shahana Goswami) and Ayesha (Plabita Borthakur) work under Rani in the same organisation, Shai (Aadhya Anand) is her step daughter. Lily (Amruta Subhash), a sex worker, is the fifth vertex of this pentagon. Together they set out to create a story about the struggles faced by the women of different social strata and how they tactfully handle the hostile situations.
It was a good role for Bhatt to make a return to acting but her character couldn’t combat the monotony surrounding her existence in the show and how it was a unidirectional role without any frills. The creator—Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burqa, Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare)—has tried to give her a solid ally in Goswami, but the repetition of sentiments and dialogues disguised as punchlines, have hampered their chances.
Bombay Begums never had any prolonged moments of realisation or even excitement. The crude antagonists are there for everyone to see and the non-judgmental vibes towards the female characters don’t always work in favour of the lead characters.
The show seems to be in a rush to give a clean-chit to the women, who were themselves doing a lot of wrongs. A balanced approach might have found the viewers rooting a little more for them.
However, superbly written characters of Ayesha and Shai provide some solace. They look genuine and have a great identification value. The side tracks don’t work at all as their sole purpose is to fulfil the need of bad guys in the lives of ‘begums’.
Bombay Begums, despite being a mini-series, is stretched and lacks coherence. The set-up never entices the viewers beyond the threshold.