Women Who Run With The Wolves
Episode 1 of Bombay Begums begins with an introduction to the newly appointed bank CEO, Rani. Alongside her husband and son Zuvi, their perfectly family make-up looks like it’s on the rise. Well, rebellious daughter Shai may put a spanner in the works, as she tells us that her birth Mother died in the past.
At work, Rani is in charge of changing the image of the bank. They need a makeover and the stuffy board members decide they want to put her up as the poster child for housewives everywhere. Rani is not exactly enthused by this idea but midway through talking, she experiences hot flushes and takes herself off to the bathroom in order to calm down.
Meanwhile, 10 month pregnant Fatima feels torn between her job and duties as a Mother to her child when he/she is born. Her partner Arijay isn’t much help, telling her she can be a good housewife when she gives birth. The stress of work starts to get to Fatima, firing 23 year old Ayesha for messing up the Lee Choi deal she’s currently dealing with.
During dinner, Fatima sits with Rani who offers her a job working to turn the bank around. Given her pregnancy, she’s not sure this would work. Rani chuckles, telling her she can have a career and baby; the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Rani warns that she’s going to regret this if she rejects the offer.
That evening Fatima heads out for dinner where Arijay speaks for her, admitting how his wife is going to stay at home once the baby arrives. Fatima chimes in with her job offer though, which certainly annoys him but has the entire table interested by this development.
Elsewhere, there’s trouble brewing for Rani as Zuvi accidentally runs over someone’s foot on the way home. He’s been with a sex worker called Lily, who arrives on scene and notices that this someone is her son. In order to keep this under wraps, she demands Rani cough up an extravagant amount of cash to keep this quiet.
Rani is exasperated but agrees to do just that. At work, things are made even worse when Rani feels the squeeze for her job. The wolves are circling, and the leader of that pack happens to be Deepak, whom Rani worries is not on her side.
In the bathroom, Rani runs into Ayesha, who’s in a bad way. She’s not only been fired from her job but also kicked out of her apartment. Rani thankfully gives her a lifeline, allowing her to enjoy a plate of poha.
This leads to Ayesha talking about her career aspirations and being hired to front a welfare project. On top of that, she also manages to bag a place to stay… although that includes seeing (presumably anyway) her ex, Anand. Despite being romantically involved with his partner Gurpreet, Anand still sneaks into the living room to sleep with her. Ugh, what a creep.
That evening, Rani holds a big meeting which all of our main characters attend. Rani takes to the stage and announces that Devyani Oniyal has moved on and in her place will be Fatima. Rapturous applause entices her onto the stage as she’s introduced. Unfortunately Arijay doesn’t actually know and this causes problems between them.
With things dying down, Lily shows up before Rani and spins her money pay-up as a bribe. She wants her son to go to a good school and have everything that Zuvi has. She demands Rani follow through with this, promising to make her life hell if not. When Lily leaves, Rani and her husband come to blows over the best way of dealing with this situation.
The Episode Review
With International Women’s Day upon us, Bombay Begums is the perfect empowering slice of femininity to accompany that. So far, the show is a soapy, melodramatic affair with lots of simmering tension and some interesting stories to boot.
The idea of overlapping these various different subplots is a good one and it really helps to show the cutthroat world of business from a female perspective. Now, given I’ve never been to India I can’t comment on the accuracy of this but it’s still a decent little love letter toward “breaking the patriarchy” which is very much in-trend at the moment – not to mention an important message on equality.
Whether the show can translate that across into a compelling series with a decent storyline to drive it through 6 episodes however, remains to be seen. For now though, this one gets off to a pretty decent start.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up Later This Week!