Review – Masaba Masaba: Honesty, humour, and hope

Priya Pathiyan finds that the glam series is about style as well as substance, just like the women it revolves around…

She may be a celebrity fashion designer but her life isn’t all champagne and chevrons. Masaba Masaba, a unique take on the real life of Masaba and her mother, veteran actress Neena Gupta, gives you a glimpse into their colourful lives, complete with insecurities and indelicacies. It’s a show that feels less like a show and more like a peek beyond their paparazzi-peppered world.

The first few episodes of Season 1 (now streaming on Netflix) are absolutely binge-watchable, filled with witty and wise words, warm humour and moments that are so relatable, you’d think it’s the story of every evolved and successful woman. The line between fact and fiction is blurred but the locations and situations are very believable. Although there are male characters quite central to the theme (Neil Bhoopalam doing handsome held back very well), this is clearly a web series that celebrates women and the bonds between them. Apart from the mother-daughter equation, there’s the solid friendship between Masaba and Gia (played to perfection by the rollickingly good Rytasha Rathore), who has gags and gumption galore, along with some kickass lines. Or the more superficial relationships of the glitterati and the kitty party. All of this is scripted superbly and dealt with classy subtlety by writer-director Sonam Nair. 

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Via Instagram / @masabagupta

There are some flaws too, of course. A bevy of known names (Farah Khan, Pooja Bedi, Suchitra Pillai, Kiara Advani, Mithila Palkar) appear in caricaturish cameos, which, to be honest, are rather forgettable. The disastrous dating scene and the line up of losers is a trope that has been trotted out too many times now too. Plus, for a show that’s pivoting around a talented fashion designer, it doesn’t have enough cutting edge style on the ramp. And when the series tries to create a bit of drama, it comes across as rather fake. The episode titled Hot Mess degenerates into just that. Too-loud histrionics and a clumsy crescendo mar the show’s otherwise pitch-perfect plot.

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Thankfully, at the end of season 1, they do manage to gather the threads and put a smile back on your face. And then hit you with a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more! It’s surely the mark of a successful series when you find yourself speculating whether there’ll be another season and when it’s going to drop.

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