I’m going to cut to the chase. Karan Johar released his Netflix special ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ yesterday and you bet I finished it all in one sitting. My Netflix homepage finally showed me the highlighted show I wanted to see. I put on my comfiest PJs, got back to bed, and binged as I have never binged before.
I was introduced to four fabulous women with whom I was about to spend the night; Maheep Kapoor (bhabhi to Anil Kapoor), Seema Khan (bhabhi to Salman Khan), Neelam Kothari, and Bhavna Pandey (wife of Chunky Pandey, mother of Ananya Pandey).
Now let’s get one thing out of the way, these aren’t A-list Bollywood stars’ wives, but they’re in the industry, in the right families, and their friends with the who’s who of the industry. They’re glamorous, but the show also runs heavily on second-hand glamor brought to us by fabulous friends like Malaika Arora, Arjun Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ekta Kapoor, Karan Johar, Gauri, and Shah Rukh Khan.
Such is the premise of ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives.’ Enticing enough, I suppose?
Before I dive into my sassy thoughts during the eight-episode saga, I do want to give my few thoughts as a ‘reviewer’.
Reality TV is meant to be two things; glamorous and dramatic. Think about the Kardashians. You don’t remember Kim’s red carpet looks, you remember her crying over her diamond ring falling into the pool, and her crying about it.
‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ did give us glamour, but it gave us very little drama. Matlab, Karan Johar had to come in to jolt the ladies into spilling the tea.
The show rides on the shoulders of Maheep Kapoor, who is very obviously the HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge) of the group, and her potty mouth. But after a few episodes, you find yourself fast-forwarding. That being said, these ladies are hilarious, whether they’re doing it intentionally or not, and their banter is one for the ages.
Now that my brief AF review of this show is over, I want to talk about some moments in the show, that I couldn’t just get over. They will live in my head, rent-free:
Neelam Kothari’s entire storyline in ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ is ‘I wanna go back to acting’.
This is brought up every 10 minutes. Neelam calls the entire freaking industry to ask for advice. They all tell her to go for it, and her response is ‘I don’t knowwwww. Things aren’t the same anymore. I’ll have to audition!’
Neelam, get a grip! You haven’t acted in over 20 years. I don’t see the big issue in giving an audition, but heck, what do I know? I’m not an 80’s ka Bollywood star craving the limelight in the new millennium.
Maheep is a legit STALKER, and I do not understand how everyone is alright with this?
Maheep goes to Paris (which is a whole article in itself) and upon arrival back home, she whips out her binoculars to spy. on. her. Neighbors. YEAH. She laughs it off. Arjun Kapoor later shows up with her second pair of binoculars which she left at his house.
From this day forward, I will not say that I stalk people, because when I say that I’m talking about searching for their Instagram accounts. Maheep is an actual stalker and we all need to be worried about her.
The ladies all go for a beach cleanup, and everyone else there would have much preferred they didn’t go.
So all the ladies go to clean the beach. Yay, we love environmentally friendly queens, we stan. But the thing is, they all cry for a good 10 minutes because they have to go there at 6:30 AM. Chalo, fine, I let it slide because that is relatable. But then, they constantly cry, crib, and run around during the cleanup. The organizers are pretty much done with their bullshit, but they really can’t actually tell them off, so all we get are some awkward side eyes and eye rolls.
The ‘wives’ are all terrified and/or hate Karan Johar.
Whenever they get a call from the guy, they freak out! There’s an entire sequence of them going over their bodily reactions to meeting Karan, from fast heartbeats to sweaty palms, they feel it all! If nothing else, this show just goes to show how truly Karan Johar is disliked among his own ‘friends’. I must say, Karan, you definitely tried to use this show to get some good PR, but hunn, it didn’t work.
#FabulousLivesofBollywoodWives just showed us that Karan Johar's friends also hate him.
— HelloItMeArSlAn🏳️🌈🌈🌈 (@ArslanArsuArsi) November 27, 2020
Lastly, the cray rich of Lahore could have made for better content. There, I said it!
Like I said before, this show lacks drama. Honestly, a dinner at Lahore’s Mall 1 is enough to get your drama fill for the year. Just eavesdropping on some of these conversations, you get the lowdown on some of the city’s fabulous and glamorous families. I mean, lest we forget the plate flinging fight that happened in Mall 1 not too long ago!
Also, while the Bollywood wives had glamorous looks and jewelry, their homes were really not so glam! I don’t know how expensive real estate is in Mumbai, but their apartments weren’t that nice. They were kind of basic, especially for a show that was so heavily advertised as a fabulous show!
Listen. Lahori upper class will make better content that this. I'm just putting it out there.
But I will still watch all 8 episodes of this show.
— HelloItMeArSlAn🏳️🌈🌈🌈 (@ArslanArsuArsi) November 27, 2020
The last episode with Gauri Khan, SRK, and the kids, initially felt really wholesome but given how staged some scenes in the show were, I just don’t know what to believe anymore. At the end of the series, there was a lot that could be said about the stars.
Maheep remained constant as the ringleader, Seema had her ups and downs, but at the end of the day, she was still a memorable cast member. Neelum really blossomed during the group’s Doha vacation, and that made her totally lovable. Bhavana, however, remained one-note and absolutely normal. Now, outside of a reality show setting, that’s fine. However in a reality show, the expectation is to be a little stir cray and Bhavana was just not that, at all! Sadly, she was my least favorite person because she was the sanest.
The show didn’t live up to my expectations but I still watched all of it. I don’t know if that’s a compliment to the show or a testament to just how much of my mind I have lost in 2020. I’ll let you decide.
Cover image via Dharmatic Entertainment/Netflix