Bollywood Wives Season 2 Review/Discussion Post: Rich Ladies Be Rich! Rich Men Be Jerks and Also Chunky Panday!

I watched it! My goodness this is a sunny silly show. I highly recommend it if you are interested in watching a sunny silly show that has more of a “plotline” than the first season (thank goodness). Oh, and I’m extra proud of myself because I gave myself a deadline of Saturday to finish, and I have finished and reviewed today!

Just the background for the show, Gauri Khan and Maheep Kapoor and Bhavana Panday are parents of three girls who have been best friends through out school. And then Seema Kapoor is the wife of Sohail Khan and a good friend of Maheep. And Neelam is a 90s actress and long time friend of Seema. So the leads of the show are legitimately long term friends, but with a variety of depths to their friendships. I find Maheep/Bhavana especially interesting because they are so CLEARLY people who would only be friends because their kids are friends, but at the same time that can be the deepest friendship of all in some ways.

Maheep Kapoor’s husband is Sanjay Kapoor, the youngest of the 3 Kapoor brothers. He was the hot actor of the moment for a few years in the 90s, and has kept acting in father roles and occasionally working in the family production house and like that in more recent years. Their daughter Shanaya Kapoor is about to be launched as an actress.

Bhavana Panday is married to Chunky Panday who is currently a hardworking comic actor, but in the past has also done straight up PHENOMENAL acting jobs. He just works and works and works and everyone likes him. Their daughter is Ananya Panday who is a rising star.

Neelam is way more famous than her husband, Samir Soni. She was a big big deal in the late 80s and 90s and is still beloved. He is a hardworking TV actor and occasional character actor.

Seema’s ex is Sohail Khan, one of Salman’s brothers. He’s done a little acting, a little directing, a little of a lot of stuff. They got married young and Seema has been part of the top level of industry since then.

Anyway, storylines of this season! Bhavana and Chunky are doing a vow renewal because they are adorable. Maheep is a little worried about her marriage with Sanjay now that their kids are grown and out of the house. Seema is acknowledging herself as single (after living in separated limbo for years). And Neelam is struggling to integrate her husband with her friend group instead of being pulled between the two.

Between the women, Seema is bursting out with resentment over how Neelam dropped her after she married Samir a few years earlier, how Neelam is presenting herself as the “perfect” Indian wife who always puts her husband first. Maheep and Bhavana are struggling because Maheep is irritated by how Bhavana is always trying to have thing both ways, always being sensitive, and etc. And Bhavana is frustrated by how her friends trust her to be the easygoing one who makes peace.

Also, they do a photoshoot at Gauri’s furniture store, have dinner party with the husbands, go on a safari trip to Rajasthan (am I the only one thinking about Neelam’s pending criminal case on the Blackbuck poaching case?), meet Ranveer Singh, and have the vow renewal.

This is a much better season than season 1. I think the issue with season 1 was the thinking that just because they had big name celebrities in the show, or related to the show, people would be interested. This season, they had ACTUAL STORYLINES tying everything together, and also the women were way more real and honest.

I mean, last season Seema wasn’t even openly saying her marriage was over. This season, she’s angry and single and resentful of Neelam’s “perfect wife” pose. And Maheep is casually talking about how Sanjay cheated on her early in their marriage and she decided to stay for the kids but there’s still some insecurity there. And the complicated dynamics of the shifting female friendships, that is all there too.

This is a big leap, not just for the show but for the way public personas are handled in Hindi film. It’s been shifting for a while, more and more folks talking about living together before marriage and mental health issues and lots of openness and honesty. But seeing this generation! The aging 90s people! Being all open and honest about divorces and friendships and infidelity, that’s a BIG deal!

Okay, now discussion time!

Rank the male characters:

My rankings in order from Best Man to Worst Man

Jackie Shroff

Rajasthani Guide

Chunky Panday

Arjun Kapoor

Ranveer Singh

Karan Johar

Sanjay Kapoor

Samir Soni

Rank your favorite of the female leads:

Bhavana! She’s so sweet, I love her

Seema! She’s so angry, I love her

Maheep! She’s normal

Neelam! Stop being so perfect all the time Neelam!

Bonus: Sima Taparia, even worse than Neelam. OMG Sima, sometimes marriages just don’t work out! Stop pushing!

Bonus 2: Gauri, obviously classier and confidenter than everyone else everywhere, my bonus favorite, even better than Bhavana

Oh, and bonus discussion question: what do we feel about the “jobs” these women have?

It’s interesting that they have a discussion which starts with them all remembering Gauri deciding to start a career. Because Gauri really does have a career, she is respected as a leader in her industry. And none of these other women quite have that.

But should I tell them not to do anything just because they aren’t good at it? I mean, if you think about it as a hobby, as the equivalent of the needlepoint my great grandmother used to do, what’s the harm? None of these women are pretending to be the top fashion designer, or the top jewelry designer or whatever. They just do the stuff they like to do because they need their own identity beyond being a wife. I think what bothers me is when a hobby wife type presents themselves as “serious” even though they aren’t. It’s a fine line, but it’s an important one I think.

And really, what else are they going to do? Plan charity events? Do temple fundraisers? Obsess over plastic surgery and instagram poses? I do jigsaw puzzles for fun, let Seema do her clothing designs.

16 thoughts on “Bollywood Wives Season 2 Review/Discussion Post: Rich Ladies Be Rich! Rich Men Be Jerks and Also Chunky Panday!

  1. I’ve also watched both seasons recently. What a completely silly show, but super interesting. I do have a major weakness for celebrity gossip but strangely only the Indian industries now, not Hollywood. It’s just so much more interesting (and it really is due to the nepotism, the “incestuous” connections, and the unabashed glamour). I was only really here initially for the cameos (Arjun and Karan, especially) but I enjoyed seeing all of the other cameos, too. Gauri is fascinating, but I don’t find her particularly warm at all. I loved when Shweta Bachchan showed up in a non-black outfit and they still let her be in the photo shoot.

    Ranking the men…
    Arjun Kapoor (of course…and I think it’s cool that he hangs out with his aunt)

    Chunky Panday (what an adorable man…I loved his obsession with house security)

    Jackie Shroff (what a complete weirdo…the plant and the bandana cracked me up…I wondered if he showed up unannounced at the wedding…clearly he and Chunky are old friends though)

    Rajasthani Guide (at least he wasn’t gross about his crush)

    Ranveer Singh (I like that he’s always game for this kind of thing and that the female gaze was front and center, but I found all of that sequence cringe in a bad way)

    Sanjay Kapoor (his Punjabi machismo and his fish out of water schtick in France was pretty cute)

    Samir Soni (I found him a bit intolerable, too, but I actually do think that his social anxiety came across as well…even when it was overstaged)

    Karan Johar (I found his appearances to be mostly obnoxious and his cattiness not as charming as usual I guess)

    Ranking the ladies…

    Seema – especially in the second season, I really want to see her find a good preferably younger man (like her fellow ex Khan wife!) – she’s the most natural of the four on camera (including Neelam) and probably should have tried acting

    Bhavana – definitely the one you’d most like to be friends with in real life

    Maheep – because she’s the most real

    Neelam – I find her so artificial in every way

    Honorable mention: Ekta Kapoor – what a boss! Made me finally buy her biography

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    • I love that Arjun Kapoor hangs out with his aunt, and also is willing to cameo on this ridiculous show. Someone on the blog told me, and I believe it, that after Boney took off Sanjay stepped up as a father figure. Sanjay was still living at home while Anil had moved out and had his own family. So I can believe that Maheep is an important part of Arjun’s life too, and their kids.

      Yes, Karan was intolerable! And clearly “playing” Karan Johar. On the one hand, I wish he was brave enough to just be himself onscreen, but on the other hand this is the kind of show where folks tend to retreat to playing roles.

      I love Chunky! And also his willingness to take the heat for his family, play the fool when needed.

      I found Seema kind of dull and odd in the first season, but I think that was because of the stress of pretending her marriage wasn’t dead. This season, I loved! I loved her bluntness, her anger, and her openness about “no, we both tried, we both ‘adjusted’, and the marriage still wasn’t good”.

      I can’t believe they still haven’t acknowledged that Seema’s good friend/former sister-in-law is dating Mahee’s good friend/nephew! And both of them appeared separately this season!

      On Fri, Sep 16, 2022 at 7:11 PM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      • That makes total sense about Sanjay being more than just a younger fun uncle-type to Arjun. I’ve said it before, I think the Kapoor family would be the most fun (and real) of the dynasty families to be a part of…they have their troubles but they do seem to stick together well. Sonam and Arjun’s relationship is also so adorable.

        I still think that most of those around Arjun and Malaika (not necessarily close friends and family but the larger society around them) haven’t fully accepted them and are just waiting for it to end which is kind of sad. I can also see Karan not wanting to get on certain people’s bad sides so he isn’t allowing it to be talked about openly even though the audience knows. Very weird not to acknowledge it at all!

        I did see something interesting today online that the Arora sisters are going to do a reality show…wonder if it’s kind of a response to this one…it’s gotta be! We’ll see if it happens…this could be the new trend. I’m not a fan of the Hollywood reality shows (though Ozzy Osborne’s obsessions with Chipotle burritos is burned into my memory for some reason from that show…it was kind of hilarious). Also have had no interest in the Kardashian/Housewife franchises either. But I would watch most any Bollywood-set reality show.

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  2. Neelam had a kinda bad conversation with Seema in her jewelry factory, which was a real factory with people working, who apparently have to hear their boss fight with her girlfriends over the phone while they have to work. I guess my point is A. It was totally tacky to have that conversation in front of your employees. B. She has a real job. It isn’t just a hobby when other people’s livlihoods depend on you.

    What struck me about this season, especially with the friend ship problems and the need to work or find yourself outside of family is how those themes are very present in my own decidely unbollywood wife life.

    ANd I am just absolutely devestated that Maheep’s servant died of COVID. Maheep is not particularly likeable, but it was her interactions with her servant that made me realize she might just have the best heart out of all the women filmed. So yeah, that woman, that grounding force for her family, whom Maheep clearly loved and who loved her in return, died of COVID. That sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll add a C to Neelam’s conversation, her workers were all in masks either for jewel dust or COVID, but either way it was insulting that Neelam didn’t have to be masked and could just swan around.

      This is what I have discovered about Real Housewives shows! My friend and I have been binging them while we work, and they are dumb and silly and shallow, but also deal with issues like aging and friendships and stuff that no other entertainment really does. I assume it is similar to the fictional soaps women used to watch, the same focus on the things that aren’t covered anywhere else in media.

      I have so many questions about that COVID death! Like, did their family pay for her to be in the hospital and get treatment? Did Rekha have a family of her own at all? Did she live in or live out? I’ve been curious all along about the servant class, these wealthy folks are quarantining at home, but that means their servants have to go in and out to facilitate their quarantine, like the delivery workers in America. Is there an awareness of that? A sense of responsibility? I don’t know one way or the other in this particular case, but for my own personal curiosity about how things work I would have liked those sort of details about their care for Rekha.

      On Sat, Sep 17, 2022 at 1:00 AM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      • If they did pay for her hospital care to point out that they did is tacky and takes away from her importance of them as a person. And if they didn’t pay for her care, they probably assume they wouldn’t be expected to and would never bring it up. So while I myself am curious how it works with a servant class as well, I expect that I will never know the answer to this particular case. How does love and money intersect?

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        • I am pretty sure they paid for it. It’s generally common practice to take care of one’s servants. They would be pretty looked down upon if they didn’t. Also, most of these servants have a very good connect with each other and a solid gossip system.

          It’s hard enough to get good help these days, they would definitely find it difficult if they treat the ones they have badly.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nish I confess that I am 100% American. And so when I hear it is hard to find good help – either for servants, or coffee store employees, my first and final thought is always – PAY THEM MORE. But Americans are way too focussed on money.

            Liked by 1 person

          • They are actually paid quite well. From what I have seen, household help for really rich families make a ton of bucks, and they have no expenses (as they live with the family).

            I know that my next door neighbour’s housekeeper has earned enough to build two houses for herself.

            I am sure Bollywood folks pay more. Still, there is a shortage of “good” help.

            Liked by 1 person

    • I also started feeling by the end of season 2 that, out of all, Maheep had the purest of hearts. She was way too blunt and dominating, but I feel she says things on the face and just forgets and starts taking care of everybody else. She believes more in enjoying and living life rather than sulking all the time. She seemed like the bond that tied everyone together as a group. And that’s why, she seems the kind to be most forgiving and someone who starts ignoring things and fights, because, they don’t matter so much to give weightage in the long run. But, if I had been in her friends’ place, I would also hate her for being dominating most of the times and making plans without asking them first. Haha

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  3. The career wala part…. I was impressed that they weren’t trying hard enough to project that they were the best in their respective jobs. They at times even joked about their jobs. I found that impressive. They knew they weren’t the best, but they kept trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t finished this series yet, but so far I have to say Chunky Panday is so adorable, I loved him in the show. He and Bhavana seemed like a great pair. I found Samir Soni’s social anxiety also very touching and realistic. He was talking so much at the party and being the life of it, I could relate to it, because I also struggle with anxiety and then talk too much because of it. I liked Seema too this season. She came across as very genuine, and gosh, she’s so very pretty!

    Sanjay was horrible, I loathed him, followed very closely by Maheep and Neelam.

    Talking about these women’s businesses, I have to say that only Neelam’s business is actually doing well. Her jewelry looked fantastic, but more importantly she’s been in the business for decades, and she knows her stuff.

    Seema’s creations were so awful, and Gauri’s home interiors also gaudy. I don’t give them a pass as doing it as a hobby. Most of these movie star wives businesses are a way of shoveling in black money, show loss and getting IT breaks.

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    • I also am not enamored of Guari’s interior design. However, I am fairly certain that Guari would not be enamored of MY interior design, and certainly I don’t get paid for it while she was apparently the only profitable member of their household for the last couple of years.

      But why do you loathe Sanjay? I felt like I barely saw any of him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Personal history. I used to work for a hotel during the peak of his affair, and he was just a sleazy, arrogant ass all round. There was this one time his wife was supposed to visit, and we were all informed by our managers to be discreet, eventually she didn’t turn up. But overall, it was ewwww.

        The few interactions I saw on Bollywood wives also just reinforced it.

        Liked by 1 person

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