Bombay Begums keeps you hooked. It’s a very well-knitted, well-written, and well-directed series, but yes, there is no element in the story that would shock or surprise your mind. Having said that, the story’s been so wonderfully told that you will sit back for 5 hours straight until you finish the web series.
As you know that Bombay Begums revolves around women, hence the story speaks about women’s issues in the backdrop of the corporate world. You will find women of every age here – from a girl who is in the early stages of puberty to a woman who is going through her menopause; from a woman who is unable to conceive to a young girl who is exploring her sexuality. The women you meet in Bombay Begums are the women you meet in your daily life.
Bombay Begums is a story of love, lust, desires, ambitions, and betrayal. Though it revolves around women, this story is for everyone. It’s just that the protagonists are female.
Keeping the story aside, what I loved the most about Bombay Begums is Alankrita Srivastava’s approach towards story-telling and presenting the women in lead. They were no victims – sometimes yes, most of the time, they were not. They were powerful women who made choices. They were flawed, they were cunning, they played a crucial part in the politics unraveling around – sometimes it all began from them. They also victimized, threatened, and bullied, but then they realized their mistakes. As I mentioned above, they were everything but victims of fate. They did fall prey to men and society’s expectations of them, but then they planned their revenge wisely, without making much noise about it.
Now coming to the characters. In the beginning, though I loved the show from the very start, I thought that since it’s an all-women story, it revolves only around how women are ill-treated or tormented by society. The same storyline disappointed me for a while. But as the story progressed and the characters shed the top layers, understanding their psyche became an interesting and integral part of the story. What women think and how they think and then how they suffer because of the internal battles they fight became the plot that took the lead. It was almost like the plot is revolving like a wheel and we get to see different shades of the story as well as the characters every now and then. It was fun to watch Alankrita along with her strong women actors unfold the layers of these women characters’ personalities. I loved that side of the story so much that I can actually sit back and do an in-depth analysis of each character. But let’s leave that for some other time.
One character that I adored the most was undoubtedly, Rani. She was strong and fierce, at the same time warm, affectionate, and caring. She was mentally strong enough to make people bow down to her yet she, time and again, fell prey to people’s politics and tactics that made her bow down to them. The beauty of her character was her struggle to become a Mother to the kids that were not hers. And the last scene where she finally feels happy when her husband’s teenage daughter accepts her as mother talks about the beauty of woman and her complex emotions. After all that she fought for in life, after the battles that she had lost and won, she finds solace in the acceptance by her daughter.
Fatima was another strong lady who was not just well-written but also well-portrayed. Shahana Goswami has done an excellent job in bringing forth the emotions of a woman who loves her career and her family equally. But then what happens when she can’t balance it all well? What happens when instead of confronting the issues in her life, she finds an escape? It takes a toll on her and then everything falls apart. While others gather their imperfect lives towards the end, she is the only one whose perfect life goes through the irreparable damage.
And then there are Ayesha and Lily. Where one is just starting her life, the other has seen it all. How their lives intersect and how a bond of friendship that they develop changes their lives forever is heartwarming to watch.
Each and every actor has performed so well that the impact they leave on you even after the series end is commendable. Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur, and also, Aadhya Anand – everyone has been successful in unpeeling the charcters emotionally and psychologically so well in front of the audience that it simply makes the show remarkable.
And last but not the least, Bombay Begums leaves you asking just one question (all the time), what do men, or in this case, shall I say, ‘what do women want?’
I will leave you with my favourite dialogue from the show, ‘Insaaf ki ladai ladhne ki luxury nahi hai hamare paas.’
If that touched your heart, go watch Bombay Begums now.
Streaming On: Netflix