The Bell Jar
Episode 4 of Bombay Begums begins with Ayesha shaken up after her encounter with Deepak. She’s distant, struggling to concentrate, as she shows up at the factory where Lily and Ron both shout at a couple of police officers.
Rani is not happy about the group phoning the police, claiming they should have contacted the PR team first to try and contain this story.
Ayesha comes under fire for this and eventually leaves. As she does, Lily speaks up about the abuse she saw Deepak commit, encouraging her to speak to Ayesha again.
Rani eventually gathers the girls together as she tries to work out what happened. Ayesha lies and claims it was a consensual kiss. Because of this, Fatima is not happy and confronts Ayesha, telling her that Deepak has a family. She eventually walks away.
Ayesha heads back to celebrate Anand and Gurpreed’s party but unfortunately she’s thrown out after sucking on Anand’s fingers in a seductive way. This immediately sees her head off to see Ron, who comforts her while she throws up in the toilet and passes out.
In the morning the scandal surrounding Rani and Mahesh being filmed together breaks. It goes viral, spreading across various different news sources and social media channels. Naushad comforts his devastated wife, telling her to focus on fixing the problems. When Mahesh rings, Rani apologizes to her husband who’s surprisingly okay with her cheating on him. She promises there won’t be a next time.
On the back of this, the board demand Rani hand in her notice. With stock prices plummeting, Rani promises to take the bank with her if she’s fired for this. Of course, with this big scandal Azfal exhibits concerns over the upcoming takeover too. Instead, Rani resorts to threatening him to continue this deal.
Ayesha keeping quiet about her abuse manifests itself in the worst possible way. She finds out from Rani that Deepak has requested she move departments. Rani congratulates her but Ayesha doesn’t see this as a win, especially given how it has come about.
That evening, Ayesha and Ron talk, with Ron claiming that sleeping with Deepak would be a big win for her. He tells her he’s happy but Ayesha hits out, telling Ron that he’s self-centered and only doing all this because he wants to screw her.
Fatima meanwhile starts to get cold feet about being a surrogate Mother. Given her connections at work (and growing affection for a work colleague) she’s given some words of wisdom nonetheless. However, that evening she decides to sleep with this man and cheat on her partner.
Lily and Ayesha continue to run into problems regarding the municipal corporation too, with Lily telling imploring Ayesha to fight back. This idea weighs heavily on her, especially when Lily calls her a slave. Ayesha regretfully shows up at Deepak’s office next, who admits he’s keen to speed up this transfer. Ayesha however, continues to experience flashes of her time in the car with him.
Eventually Ayesha loses control and writes an anonymous message on a forum about her abuse. She admits to feeling helpless and eventually packs her things up, leaving Ron’s to go and stay with Chitra. As they make love, Ayesha starts to cry as the painful memories of the past begin to flash in her mind.
The Episode Review
With Rani getting away with minimal ramifications in her personal life for having an affair, we’ve now got Fatima doing the exact same thing to Arijay. This one is perhaps the most damning, especially given Fatima barely knows this man and she’s in the process of having a baby with Arijay.
Again, this is another example of a show scoring an own goal. Yes, you can showcase strong females but there’s nothing to be celebrated about cheating on your partner and lying.
However, where the show does excel is in its other two characters – Ayesha and Lily. These two are fascinating and really help ignite this series. Their stories are both courageous and inspiring, with Ayesha in particular given a really compelling arc.
The shocking abuse she suffered is now starting to take its toll, and hopefully slimy Deepak gets his comeuppance for this by the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Lily’s story and her struggles to break free from the shackles of being a sex worker see her forced to fight back. She comes under fire from Vijay and his men, giving yet another example of this patriarchal system working against her.
So far though, Bombay Begums has been a bit of a mixed bag. There’s been some real dramatic highs and great character moments but also some disappointing and questionable character choices. With two episodes left, let’s hope this show turns a corner and delivers a triumphant roar to close out this first season with.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up Later This Week!