OPINION

“The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives”

Why I Couldn’t Get Past the First Six Minutes

The Maheep Kapoor You Get When You are On a Budget (Image by Amandeep Ahuja)

As if ‘Indian Matchmaking’ wasn’t embarrassing enough, Netflix created another “real life” story of some prominent Bollywood wives in “The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives” . I say prominent, but this was literally the first I had ever heard of Maheep Kapoor, Sohail Khan’s wife and Chunky Pandey’s wife — see, I don’t even remember their real names. Neelam, I had heard of because much of my childhood had involved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai amd Hum Saath Saath Hain and now I wish I could go back to 2001 Amandeep and give her a book or something, just anything to get out of watching those movies. Luckily, my Harry Potter phase was just around the corner, so I would soon become a different kind of saddo. But I digress.

As we have often done in the past year, scrolling through Netflix brought to my attention this show and as I could see the preview, I knew pressing play would be a mistake. But there is something to be said of the human mind when it makes mistakes despite knowing it is a mistake. I pressed play and within the next six minutes, my brain was clouded with the most amount of questions and thoughts it has ever had in such a short span of time.

  1. Why these wives?

Of all the possible fabulous wives, why was it these wives? Are they truly the most fabulous wives in Bollywood? I think not. I get it, you couldn’t get Anil Kapoor’s wife, you got the next best thing, his brother. No Salman Khan? Next best thing- his brother. But what prompted Chunky Pandey’s wife to be shortlisted as one of the most fabulous wives Bollywood has to offer? Also, why is Neelam listed as a Bollywood wife and not a Bollywood celebrity on her own merit? Surely, she’s more popular than her husband and has probably had a more prominent Bollywood career than him?

2. Where does Maheep Kapoor’s accent come from?

I am probably the last person who gets the freedom to judge anybody on their accent. My brother often likes to joke that upon landing in the UK for the first time, my English accent had set in before even getting through customs. But where does Maheep Kapoor’s accent come from? After some Maheep Kapoor stalking (you have to if you’re going to be writing a public blog and pretending to be better than others- if you don’t and if you get facts wrong, you’re just an idiot), I found out she lived in Perth for a while, but her accent doesn’t sound Australian at all. It sounds like every snooty South Bombay person’s accent.

(Side note: I’m not sure where my Bombay animosity comes from but it’s there)

3. Sohail Khan’s wife is the Aunty I am afraid to have in my life

I’m sure she’s a lovely person and I’m sure she’s ‘a cool mom, not a regular mom’ (little Mean Girls joke). But the way she hugs Maheep Kapoor’s daughter, basically invading her personal space and using the word ‘yo’ to greet the maid and Sanjay Kapoor made me cringe so hard. If I were the daughter and if I had my mother’s friend coming into the house to say ‘yo’ to my Dad and my maid, giving me hugs willy nilly, I would be mortified, asking my Mother to break it off with her because she likes to invade personal space. Am I a prude? I don’t know. Unnecessary hugs make me uncomfortable, and my six-minute rendezvous into the world of the fabulous wives left me feeling as cringed out as a constipated meerkat (Hart, 2012).

4. What is the criteria for someone to be invited to Le Bal?

One of the wives mentiones who has previously been invited to the ball from India and names like Shloka Birla and an Indian Princess came up. Upon further research I found out that those who are invited tend to have ‘an attractive appearance, intelligence and famous parents’. Chunky Pandey’s daughter was invited to this thing based on her attractive appearance (understandable), intelligence (questionable) and famous parents (is Chunky Pandey seriously the most famous parent they could find in India?).

5. The Ananya and Shaya Love Story

First of all, I just want to say that these names are the most bourgeois names I have ever heard. But I come from a family of Amandeeps, Tarandeeps and Ravideeps so perhaps my opinion on names isn’t justified.

Before flying out to Paris to attend Le Bal, Sanjay Kapoor’s daughter Shanaya is shown to be on the phone with Ananya Pandey because the latter wanted to wish the debutante well for her trip- sweet. But did they have to cry on the phone? Were they crying for the benefit of the cameras? Is the real life of a Bollywood person that pretentious? When was the last time you cried when a friend was going to a debutante’s ball and would be away from you for a few days?

6. The only tolerable character was Sanjay Kapoor

Maheep Kapoor had a massive issue with Sanjay Kapoor dancing to his ‘filmi numbers’ but I feel like someone needs to remind her that his ‘filmi numbers’ are probably the reason her daughter was invited to the ball in the first place. In the first six minutes of the show anyway, Sanjay Kapoor was the only person who didn’t make me cringe and I had to wonder if he was doing this voluntarily or if somewhere deep inside he too was nothing short of a constipated meerkat.

After this mental carnage that went on in my brain I decided I didn’t want this abomination of my mind and turned it off. But months later my brother made me watch bits of the finale of the show because Shahrukh Khan was in it and it got even worse than the first six minutes (I suppose the graph was always going to be y=x as the show progressed, with y being the time spent watching it and x being the level of cringe).

Musings of a 20-something old in this big scary world. I use humour as a coping mechanism and it shows.