‘Bombay Begums’ review: A gripping drama about the plight of women in India’s urban realm

Director Alankrita Shrivastava’s skill to navigate by means of numerous layers of suppressed anger and the emotional volatility of her characters make for a most partaking watch

From the maker of Lipstick Below My Burkha and Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, comes the six-part Netflix India present Bombay Begums which follows the lives of 5 ladies from numerous walks of life in Mumbai, as they attempt to hustle their means across the doubtful workings of a chauvinistic social order.

Separated by India’s socio-economic divide and the disparity in privileges that stem from it, these ladies are united of their battle to remain afloat in India’s metropolis of goals. And but, the Alankrita Shrivastava-directed sequence shouldn’t be merely a story of their survival towards all odds.

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“Some ladies are born to rule. They bleed for his or her goals and anticipate others to bleed for them. I’m not positive if I wish to be that sort of queen. I believe I fairly lead the rebel,” quips the youngest character of the present, the 14-year outdated Shai Irani (Aadhya Anand), in a gap voice-over sequence. Her contemplative narrative voice is the inventive soul of the manufacturing, the glue that binds all of the totally different tales right into a singular entire.

Regardless of that, its makes an attempt at depicting the plight of its characters are marred by a formulaic method.


Set in Mumbai, the story kicks off with the viewers being launched to the matriarchal determine of Rani Irani (Pooja Bhatt), CEO of The Royal Financial institution of Bombay. A former financial institution teller from Kanpur, she is a self-made girl who’s ever-wary of the large boys of the company world. And her private life shouldn’t be all easy crusing both. As her husband desperately clings to the recollections of a lifeless spouse, his kids refuse to acknowledge Rani as a main care-giver.

The drama intensifies additional as we meet her steadfast and but susceptible deputy, Fatima (Shahana Goswami), who like her boss, finds it tough to take care of a work-life steadiness. Primarily, owing to a disgruntled husband (Vivek Gomber) and her personal sexual {and professional} ambitions.

Vivek Gomber and Shahana Goswami in a nonetheless from the present
| Picture Credit score:
Courtesy Of Netflix

Then there may be the younger narrator Shai Irani, the youngest stepchild of Rani’s, who like her father remains to be haunted by her late mom’s recollections. With no mother-figure to information her, she is overcome by pre-pubescent angst that fuels a lot of her creative creations.

Plabita Borthakur shines as Ayesha Agarwal, the younger blood, determined to make a reputation for herself in Irani’s financial institution regardless of being fired as soon as. She struggles along with her job, her sexual orientation and a spot to remain in Mumbai. Rani lends a serving to hand and asks her to work with the feisty Laxmi “Lily” Gondhali (Amruta Subhash), a sex-worker grappling with the stigma surrounding her occupation.

Ayesha begins serving to Lily in organising a manufacturing facility as part of the financial institution’s company social duty program. Her relentless pursuit of climbing up the company ladder units in movement, a lurid flip of occasions that ends along with her getting sexually accosted by a senior worker she beforehand idolised.

The corporate investigation into the matter thereof lays naked the darker aspect of the central figures, because the prime battle engulfing the present’s plotline involves the fore.

Plabita Borthakur shines as Ayesha Agarwal in the series

Plabita Borthakur shines as Ayesha Agarwal within the sequence
| Picture Credit score:
Courtesy Of Netflix

Problems with company high-handedness and boardroom politics are intertwined with questions of gender id, sexuality, office sexual harassment and even motherhood. The cocktail of which is then served on the display screen, accompanied by highly effective appearing performances by its central solid. What makes it extra fascinating is the truth that the characters — regardless of being robust and vivacious — are flawed beings, and infrequently make questionable choices motivated by self-interest.

The cinematography and background rating manages to create the right atmosphere for a severe drama. The quite a few love-making scenes are quick artfully, including to the story and the facility dynamics between its characters.

Nonetheless, the sequence is, at instances, let down by the dialogue writing and considerably pretentious tone, which tries largely to pander to an English-speaking higher middle-class demographic. Equally, the tendency of the creators to sort out too many points on the similar time lends the complete manufacturing with a jarring high quality.

That being mentioned, Bombay Begums is a step in the precise path. Regardless of the flawed nature by which its story is offered, the sequence has its coronary heart in the precise place and its illustration of ladies is one thing new, even radical by Indian requirements. Director Alankrita Shrivastava’s skill to navigate by means of numerous layers of suppressed anger and the emotional volatility of her characters make for a most partaking watch.

A heady mixture of unbridled ambition, juxtaposed with the necessity to do what is true, yields distinctive cinematic outcomes. If solely its inherent discrepancies weren’t plastered over fairly swiftly, Bombay Begums would have fulfilled its unrealised potential utterly.

Bombay Begums is at the moment streaming on Netflix


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