World Cinema

Series Review: Masaba Masaba

By Pranjali Wakde 

#HotMess is not derogatory anymore – Masaba Masaba, the new Netflix original series, all set to provide a fresh perspective on celebrities’ lives.

Common people have always been looking up to and ardently wish to have the dazzling, glamourous lives of the celebrities. What we don’t know – or tend to ignore – is how these people are just like us, having their own fair shares of heartbreaks and sadness. And shedding light on this unglamorous ‘#HotMess’ lives of celebrities is the latest Netflix web series, Masaba Masaba.

The 6-episodes series is written and directed by Sonam Nair and follows the famous mother-daughter duo, Masaba and Neena Gupta, as their fictionalized versions try to ace through their messy lives. It starts with Masaba’s struggles of getting through her divorce, as Neena waits for her own big break, at the age of 60. The latter’s storyline soars, while Masaba is seen to slowly but steadily plummet in her unconsciously self-made problems.

One of the most impressive factors of the series is the character of little Masaba, who pops in on the screen frequently; the resemblance between the two is extremely uncanny. Played by the cute Amairah Awatanye, she appears whenever Masaba is facing a new problem, an unknown territory or when feeling alone. It is highly symbolic, as little Masaba can be seen as Masaba’s need to become a child and have someone taking care of everything for her. The excessive show of feelings or monologues is thus avoided; it is instead replaced by Masaba’s manifestation of feelings in little Masaba.

The use of Instagram in communicating every crucial event and feelings is something all of us can relate to. Don’t we all post #MondayMotivation or #WeddingScenes on Instagram? Social media sort of becomes the primary means of communication between Neena and Masaba. The former finds out about Masaba’s divorce through an Instagram post, while Masaba supports Neena’s plea of working again, even when the two were not on talking terms, by reposting her image. When two strong, fierce and famous women have their own lives to handle, it kind of makes sense to see them communicating from behind their social media shields.

Another factor that would definitely impress the audience is the absolutely real portrayal of how creativity works. No one can force creativity – there’s no tap that can start it or stop it. She didn’t, however, let it take her down; instead, she took inspiration from her worsening life and made it work out, rather spectacularly!

Sonam Nair, along with her co-writers, has written and executed the supporting characters to perfection as well. Pooja Bedi’s character of Masaba’s therapist as well as Shibani Dandekar, Farah Khan, Malavika Mohanan and Gajraj Rao as themselves, spread a sense of reality and freshness to the episodes. These actors playing their own exaggerated, obnoxiously glamourous versions definitely tip the bar in the series’ favour.

All of the characters have absolutely nailed their roles; however, Rytasha Rathore as Gia certainly needs more recognition than anyone else, as she showed how a true friend really is. Gia helps her best friend always, but when Masaba needs to listen to difficult truths about herself, only Gia can make her understand it. If you didn’t think you need a friendship like Masaba and Gia while watching Masaba Masaba… then we can’t be friends. As for Masaba, playing her own fictionalized self, she really ‘got it from her mamma’. This is her acting debut and yet, she feels at home onscreen. At points, it feels as if she’s not acting, but just being herself – and that’s what effortless acting is really all about. Right from her mood swings to her sex escapades, Masaba Gupta portrays her flawed character rather flawlessly.

With such a subtle plot and the tantalizing end of the series, we are left craving for the next season. Masaba Masaba provides a fresh take on the ordinary lives of the extraordinary people, in a way that even we can find their disastrous lives very much #Relatable!

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