By Neha Kirpal
A debutante ball in Paris, a beach cleanup, an all-girls holiday to Doha and a celebrity-studded bash… Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, a new entertaining reality show on Netflix, shadows the lives of four spouses of Bollywood actors—1990s actress Neelam Kothari (wife of Samir Soni), Maheep Kapoor (wife of Sanjay Kapoor), Bhavna Pandey (wife of Chunky Pandey) and Seema Khan (wife of Sohail Khan).
Not much is known about these women behind some of their well-known celebrity husbands, most of whom have been away from the limelight for years—and the show highlights precisely that. Apart from being jet-setting, socialite moms, Neelam and Maheep are jewellery designers (Neelam is also considering a Bollywood comeback), Seema is a stylist and Bhavna runs a fashion label.
Much like its Hollywood counterpart—and possible inspiration—Keeping Up with The Kardashians, the eight-episode series produced by Karan Johar and directed by Uttam Domale gets up close and personal with its four women protagonists, and reveals intimate details of their (rather shallow) lives.
The show follows the ladies in their homes with their families, interacting with their famous husbands, children and domestic helpers. One also accompanies them to public spaces such as yoga studios, beauty salons and restaurants where they hobnob with friends, relatives and acquaintances. (Stars like Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Ekta Kapoor, Jahnvi Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shahrukh Khan and Gauri Khan make cameo appearances).
The episodes are interspersed with interviews (all four sport accents!), sharing airheaded views on everything from their joys to their sorrows and fears. A tour of the bling and power associated with the luxurious lives of these glamorous women, the series also gives you a peek of their superfluous anxieties (read: #FirstWorldProblems), such as the pressure to always look good, parenting worries and social-media trolls.
Watching the show makes one realise that though their lives may seem enviable on the outside to all those who can’t seem to get enough of them, there is a dark shadow of insecurity looming over their reality.
And this is possibly the reason they stress on the importance of strong female bonds (often referred to as “lobbies” in Bollywood) in their lives. They stand by one another during difficult times and support each other’s business ventures. They have known each other for 25 years, according to the series, and where the narrative lacks in depth, it makes up in its presentation of solid friendships.
For a nation that loves to lose itself in the universe of Bigg Boss controversies and Karan Johar’s larger-than-life entertainers about rich people and their pretty problems (yes, KJo makes a couple of appearances in the series too), consuming this new show is undoubtedly another guilty, voyeuristic pleasure.