Season 2 of the women-led ‘Four More Shots Please!’ was dropped on Amazon Prime at the midnight of April 17. The pact of four friends is again here with the inducement of smashing 1,000 years old patriarchal dogmas. But the narration, screenplay, and cinematography appear more as the concoction of ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’.
Directed by – Anu Menon, Nupur Asthana
Written by – Devika Bhagat, Ishita Moitra
Cast – Kirti Kulhari, Sayani Gupta, Bani J, Manvi Gagroo, Prateik Babbar, Lisa Ray, Milind Soman
The show starts with a small recap of what has happened in the past and reminds us of characters we already know: Umang (Bani J), Anjana (Kirti Kulhari), Siddhi (Maanvi Gagroo) and Damini (Sayani Gupta) who are not on talking terms with each other and have moved on with their respective lives. This recap is particularly of benefit for audiences who haven’t watched the first season. Hence it is easy to pick up. And for the viewers of the franchisee, it is a quick last minute revision before jumping right into the next season.
Season 2 starts in Istanbul when the “baby of the group” urf Siddhi makes a hysterical call to Umang in a drunk state and threatens to jump off the bridge. The one-piece of mischief clears the sour air and brings the group together like nothing has ever happened.
Anyway, the rebound was a stepping stone to jump on the story of season 2 which narrates unapologetically the story of flawed women in their mid-20s and 30s making their own mistakes and embracing themselves be it deciding on a sexual partner, coming out of the closet, reconciling with ex and lots of closures.
Pretty much what was there in the first season, except it has little more shades and depth.
This is definitely not the first attempt to showcase the nuances and darkness of India’s elites. The Indian audience has already seen such complexities and darkness, wrapped in the enchantment of high life. ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and the recent prime example would be Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Made in Heaven’. And these films and series have beautifully portrayed the life of the riches, but as you peek in their lives, the intricacies dive deep into your skin.
However, both the seasons of ‘Four More Shots Please’, somewhere try to touch upon such intriguing subjects but get lost in their own magnetism of elite-ness. They live in their own ideal world which is bereaved of not only the reality of even upper-class bourgeois but the substantiality of their own.
The emphasis on the idolisation is so paramount here that even Mumbai is shown only from the top angle of Bandra-Worli sea link, some really glitzy bars and that fancy view of the sea from those upscale balconies. The images are so consolidated that it would be difficult to demarcate America and India.
Damini (Sayani Gupta), a writer in the series is shown to be working on a controversial book which talks about Judge Damodar’s suicide case. He was allegedly murdered for standing up for truth. The book is so controversial that no bookstore is ready to put it on their shelves. Such convoluted subject, but in the 10-episode-long saga, the writer is hardly shown writing. And the book gets completed without any research, interrogation or investigation. As an audience, we are hanged to wonder who killed Judge Damodar?
There are many such build-ups in the story, which play as decorated pieces accessorising ‘women of courage’ in the season for it to appear cerebral and establish the characters to be beauty with brains!
There are professional challenges also. Anj (Kirti Kulhari) who is a well-established lawyer, faces day-to-day sexism in the office which she calls “boys club” and is bullied by a senior just because of the power structure in the corporates. Where this is very much an existing crisis even in today’s time, the entire situation is portrayed in one board meeting; one shove it up to your a$# dialogue and a resignation.
However, women here are indeed liberated in terms of choices and taking some bold steps of getting married to a same-sex partner, raising a child unmarried and without involving the father and defying the beauty standards by accepting their bodies. It is almost as if the female-led makers are checking feminism boxes. But somewhere the glitz and glam takes it all away and oversimplifies it all.
But even in the smashing of patriarchal stereotypes, ‘Four More Shots Please!’ can be a little respite in the current lockdown situation. It can be an escape from the depression already going on in the world. It demands no reasoning but provides endless opportunity to dive into everything as pretty as a picture. A weekend getaway in Istanbul, fancy dream-like wedding in the palace of Udaipur, partying it all out every night in some of the most happening bars in Mumbai and some warm hugs from your best friends.
Everything that is a mere dream today.
Here is the trailer of Four More Shots Please S2!