TV show ‘Sex and the City’ is a format that can easily be replicated in Bollywood or in Indian entertainment. When the initial trailer of last year’s ‘Veere Di Wedding’ released, I was excited but my heart had sunk a little. I had the privilege of attending a preview show of the film a few days prior to its release and I was probably the only one in the entire room who just wasn’t able to understand how much of a leap this was in terms of being a depiction of the real Indian woman today. I explained in a blog, on the radio and via my social media how much I disliked the film and found it a mere bearable watch.
For me personally, ‘Veere Di Wedding’ was everything ‘Sex and the City’ was and the main four female characters were almost interchangeable. This is a format and method that should’ve worked for the film but, on a personal level, why did it annoy me more than I wanted to hail it? I really had to ask myself why I felt this way about a film that so many people quite openly appreciated for its boldness. There weren’t too many answers that came my way apart from that I found parts cringeworthy, the product placements were insane and also I felt that there was a clear attempt to do something great which failed for me as an Indian woman (who is not living in the sub-continent). I’ve been told by so many people in the know that the characters in ‘Veere Di Wedding’ do exist in India and I guess there is a point at which I simply don’t identify.
This is where Amazon Prime’s original series ‘Four More Shots Please’ comes in. On paper, the two are very similar to ‘Sex and the City’ and realistically, I started watching the series fully expecting to feel exactly the same about it as I did about ‘Veere Di Wedding’. Shockingly, it was “same same but different”. This was about four women, their jobs, their relationships, them fighting their own demons. However, what ‘Four More Shots Please’ does ten times (if not more) better than ‘Veere Di Wedding’ is the realism. As an NRI, I could fully identify with all the women even though my personal situation is nowhere near any of them. I felt the emotions they all felt, I understood their personalities and – perhaps most importantly – I loved the treatment of the story. It felt good watching the earthy, often raw, often perfect world that the series portrayed. This was a world that ‘Veere Di Wedding’ seemed to create in all the wrong ways for me. Now, whether this difference was because of the actresses or the ensemble cast or whether it was a censorship thing and the leeway the online world gives is a different story. However, what I got from ‘Four More Shots Please’ is a 10-part series which, quite frankly, I wanted more of. What I got from ‘Veere Di Wedding’ was a sense that I wouldn’t want there to be a sequel.
What ‘Four More Shots Please’ also gave me was a full-fledged American series feel and this was perhaps the deal-breaker for me and almost sums up why I appreciated that depiction of the modern Indian woman that the one ‘Veere Di Wedding’ gave. The former gave me a sense of belonging in an odd way – the crushes, the situational parts, the girly chats, the fun conversations, the raw friendship which has its ups and downs but never fails you. This feeling is simply not what I got from ‘Veere Di Wedding’ – what I got from that was the feeling that I don’t belong in the “Indianness” and traditions around me because it’s all so cringeworthy. It portrayed a character looking for a life partner ashamed about liking and accepting someone because he didn’t fit “society’s” tick box list. It made me feel that a bigger woman who has a young child wasn’t beautiful. It also gave a feel that feeling “sexy” was all about showing flesh and being bold about “sex”. Having said that, the positive message about marriage not being a necessity is something major that was probably needed in an Indian, traditional-thinking society.
If there is a comparison to be had, ‘Four More Shots Please’ deserves a place up there with ‘Sex and the City’. It gives you a sense of being yourself no matter where you are in your life and it also lets you love your imperfections. It shows you marriages can fail but that’s ok, it shows you that being attracted to someone half your age is ok, it shows being bigger can still be beautiful, it shows you that being passionate about your career shouldn’t mean fitting into a box created by others and it also shows that someone’s sexual orientation shouldn’t determine the kind of feelings they have or don’t have. What ‘Four More Shots Please’ conveys is that self-confidence, self-belief and a strong sense of self is a big deal. That doesn’t mean you’ll make no mistakes and be the perfect person. It means you have enough respect to hold yourself to account, be true to those around you as well as yourself and – most of all – to love your imperfections because all of these things make you you. That is what is the true depiction of the Indian woman today.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of this website.