Huh, this series is surprising me with how good it is. I thought it was just gonna be a fluffy thriller with Madhuri at the middle, but it’s really digging deep on some interesting things. Also, seriously, even if you don’t watch the whole series, go 33 minutes into episode 4 and watch that scene. It’s no spoilers, it’s fine out of context, and it is just beautiful.
The plot chugs along, Amara and Nutty Fan get closer, Avi is still distressed, but the real juice of it is money and women. Avi goes to the red light district to hire a prostitute, Madhuri finds out, and she is most angry with him because if he is going to give money to a woman to sleep with him HE HAD BETTER KNOW HER NAME. It ties into another scene where the gangster backer of the film has his first meeting with Madhuri in the past and casually mentions that he has a friend who is a big fan, he can get him to give a lot of amount if Madhuri will spend one night with him. And then the final conflict, when Madhuri learns they are almost out of money and immediately understands it is her mother’s fault because her mother has always controlled her money. And it ends with Madhuri leaving the whole house to go be with Manav, the one person who DOESN’T want her for her money, or would pay money for her.
A worse show would have Madhuri say “I am like the woman Avi paid to have sex with him, you only see me as a machine, what I can give you and earn for her”. But this show, a better show, let’s us draw that connection ourself. And allows Madhuri to bring it to us in her acting, the way she responds to each of these situations.
We also get vital backstory in this episode which questions the whole idea of “legitimate” and “illegitimate” relationships. Madhuri meets Manav’s daughter and ex-wife and they are both friendly and kind to her. And Manav’s wife talks about their affair without talking about it, by saying that Manav is bipolar. When he was with Madhuri, she calmed him, and the wife was jealous of that. Now that they are separated, she can see it was all for the best and it might have been good if they stayed together. Again, a worse show would have had the wife say something stupid like “I couldn’t make him happy”. This show rejects the trite answer and instead goes for something real, Manav had his own issues which were affecting his marriage, and the affair played into that. Allowing for them to be broken people, for Madhuri to be an actress forced to earn for her mother since age 16 and Manav a person struggling with mental illness, means that their relationship could have actually been healthy for them then, and might still be healthy for them now.
Oh, and we learn what is up with Madhuri and Sanjay and that whole weird household! Anil is her cousin, her mother rushed them into marriage to get her away from Manav. So that explains why her mother still seems to be running the household, and Anil and the mother are allied against Madhuri. And why Madhuri and Sanjay have this odd feeling of closeness without love between them. Just a lot of great stuff coming out this ep and I am excited to see where it goes!
Also, Avi is totally gay, right? My only question is if Madhuri already knows even if Avi hasn’t admitted it to himself because of how she and her make-up artist Billy (also clearly gay) consider whether it might be helpful for them to talk.
Woot! Halfway! And this season is just zipping by, I may finish by the end of the weekend. And this episode is soooooooooooooooooooo good. Especially the scene at the end between Madhuri and Avi. It’s also another thematic one, this time about what we give to others and why.
Counting down from least big to biggest reveal, Sanjay continues to be horrible. He almost strangles Madhuri when she returns home from spending the night with Manav. At the end, he tries to plead for her to stay with him because all he wants out of life is for her to love him. It’s well done, both actor and character, because I understand his feelings while at the same time not forgiving his behavior. He isn’t a cardboard villain.
In other news, Manav is unstabley all in on this affair. Pushes for Madhuri to come to dinner to his house, then practices cooking a whole gourmet meal for her, doesn’t seem to understand that she has more responsibilities and less freedom than he does. It’s not just abusive Anil, spending the night away from home one time worried her kids and upset the whole family. So now Manav is another concern.
Avi is gay, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! And the best part of the episode, most likely the best part of the whole series, is the scene where Madhuri gently gets him to come out to her. She is so concerned about him and struggling so hard to get him to accept himself without pushing and it is a scene just so incredibly filled with love. Avi is gay, and clearly in love with his best friend, and all torn up about all of it.
Next big revelation, Nutty Fan might actually be Madhuri’s love child! Make-up artist best friend Billy is going around to orphanages trying to track him down, he knows when he was born and his name but not which orphanage he is at. I suspect Madhuri’s evil Mom whisked the baby away without telling her where. Or, alternatively, he’s not her child but thinks he is and Billy knows that somehow, in which case this isn’t a very big reveal after all.
Biggest reveal, WE MEET MADHURI’S KIDNAPPER!!! Or helper? It’s still possible he is a helper. Anyway, it’s Makarand Deshpande, which is very exciting because he is AMAZING even in tiny roles. He is a small town poster painter who seems to be keeping her in a shed on his property. The obvious answer is that he is just a nutty kidnapper, a darker version of MF Hussain. But there is also a conversation earlier about Madhuri giving happiness and fantasy to people and them giving her love in return. So maybe he is a humble decent person she somehow knows from the past who is helping her? I don’t know! I may have to stay up until 1am and find out!
Also, seriously, even if you don’t watch the whole series, go 33 minutes into episode 4 and watch that scene.
Pingback: Fame Recreation Episodes 3 and 4: Themes! Prostitution and Giving to Others » Filmybilla
Pingback: फेम गेम एपिसोड 3 और 4: थीम्स! वेश्यावृत्ति और दूसरों को देना - Dailyhant
This series is far better than the name implies.
I love that scene with Madhuri and her son. Clearly, she is supportive of the LGBTQ community (hello Dedh Ishqiya!) and also ties into the fact that she is a Gay Icon as well. It is just such a nice thing to see these big stars (EKDTAL) come in support of it in such lovely ways. Yeah, the scene is just beautiful!
And I love the respect given to the Sex Workers in this, humanising them and tying it back to films. Just, this show is so good!
Yes! There is respect for everyone in this show, rich teenagers, sex workers, police officers, everyone. No one is written off as a stereotype or less valuable than someone else. that’s one of the things that reminds me of Made in Heaven, it shows the whole flow of society in Bombay with everyone equal.
On Sun, Feb 27, 2022 at 3:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Wonderful scene! Wonderful acting! And yes, Anamika’s gentle handling of her children’s suffering is masterfully handled. We believe she loves them; her calming, supportive words are so right. Son and daughter are all fumbly and incoherent; Anamika, the famous actress, hits her marks and delivers her lines perfectly.
I know I’m hitting hard on this “all is not as it seems with Anamika” theme. But by the midpoint of this drama, Madhuri made me empathise with the superstar’s suffering; I even felt sorry for her. And yet at the same time, I didn’t like her. It was easy to understand why her costar fell in love with her 20 years ago; they were young and Anamika was still raw and hopeful. But why now? He’s a mess and she’s so plastic. I knew how to react to her husband, children, mother, creepy fan, etc. but Anamika ‘s character continued to confuse me.
Can’t wait for the rest of your reaction.
I’m excited too! Just finished 5 and 6, writing review now, and then I get to see how it all ends!
I just mentioned in a comment above how much respect the show gives to each character. They aren’t just “spoiled teens” or “crazy Hijras” or whatever, everyone has motives and feelings and depth. Except, perhaps, the woman at the heart of it all. She doesn’t seem quite as human, as weak, as everyone else.
On Sun, Feb 27, 2022 at 7:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
LikeLiked by 1 person
I like her more. I hated how she set up her daughter to be belittled by the grandmother, but I liked her because she had flaws. I like her anger at her mother and husband. I also like her realization that the world does not revolve around her – her lover didn’t marry her because he had his own problems.
I like her intelligence in immediately understanding that if the money is missing, it’s her mother’s fault.
On Thu, Mar 3, 2022 at 1:49 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Man that scene made me cry, both Madhuri and the actor playing the son do the scene so well! Are you interchanging Sanjay and Anil Kapoor? Because that’s hilarious, they look so alike! I was confused by the the fan stealing the hairbrush thing, the love-child angle makes sense, this just got juicier! Also interesting that they made the lead cop a lesbian, with a partner and child.
I’m trying to resist binging the rest of the show, it’s tough!
I am interchanging Sanjay and Anil! I caught myself a bunch of times, but I guess I didn’t clean up all of them.
On Sun, Feb 27, 2022 at 10:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Just remembered, her mother says something like Madhuri is the first woman in the family to have a husband – very interesting background!
Phew, I am so relieved that they pulled the “Avi is gay” trigger now and didn’t leave it as big “reveal” for the end of the series! Mostly because, come on, it’s obvious. Why else would someone make a half-hearted suicide attempt in a piece of Indian filmed entertainment in 2022? But also, this gives them the chance to have Madhuri and the other actor (let’s see, Lakshvir Saran) to really deal with it over the next few episodes. They might not take it; at this point I don’t know!
Speaking of gay, how cool is Rashri Deshpande! Although I’m afraid she’ll be typecast as a lesbian because I’m pretty sure she played one on Angry Indian Goddesses.
She is so cool! And so “yeah, so what?” I love it!
On Thu, Mar 3, 2022 at 3:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
The final bit does make it seem like her kidnapper is more of a helper.