Bombay Begums season 1 review – Indian series brings the horrors of a male-dominated space Oppression in the workplace and rape culture.

March 8, 2021
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
4

Summary

Sticking to a well-intended script, Bombay Begums wisely brings the horrors of a male-dominated space.

View all
4

Summary

Sticking to a well-intended script, Bombay Begums wisely brings the horrors of a male-dominated space.

This review of the Netflix Indian series Bombay Begums season 1 contains no spoilers. The drama was released on the streaming service on March 8, 2021.

As always, Netflix is always timely at certain dates of the year — on International Women’s Day 2021, the streaming service brings us an entirely new series to remind audiences what we are fighting for — Indian produced Bombay Begums is a surprising drama of March, giving plenty of food for thought, but mostly bringing a significant message for what is at cost.

Following several women, Bombay Begums focuses on a prestigious bank in India led by a female CEO. Despite the power she wields, the series presents a male-dominated world, where professionally and culturally, women are made to feel oppressed regardless of status or position. Thematically, it shows viewers how “roles” do not fix the problem; a board of male shareholders with one female CEO can still present a systemic problem. The Indian Netflix series is a sobering, fictional narrative, unclothing a symptomatic culture due to complicity, whether indirect or direct.

Affairs, career promotions, family planning, sexism and rape culture (see Netflix’s Unbelievable) are all packaged within the storyline, with each female soldiering with one of these themes. The series manages to create this environment, this presumed bubble that the women are contained in; it reflects that suffocation to a degree of realism. The women fail to understand that their environment is a product of men and not due to their own shortfalls.

Despite only being six chapters long, Bombay Begums season 1 is oddly fascinating. The dramas that occur come in waves; it’s never too dramatic despite plenty to be dramatic about; it’s clear that the creator (Alankrita Shrivastava) wanted a sense of normalcy engrained in the plot. The message is simple — this is absurdly normal for so many social environments on a global scale. This does happen. There are no excuses. Bombay Begums speaks its intentions loud and clear.

And do not be fooled entirely by Netflix’s Bombay Begums; the lead women characters are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; there’s no unrealistic narrative that the women lead perfectly well-mannered and principled lives, and men cruelly push them down. No, Bombay Begums brings a range of different personalities to represent different types of people, all flawed in their own ways. Again, the message is simple — regardless of who you are, this can happen to anyone.

The performances are direct and impressive; you can tell each cast member embraced the script and its themes and went in head first, ready to deliver the story to the audience. There’s something collective with the way this series is directed and pieced together. My only criticism is that I wish there were more to explore these characters; they are easy to drink in and admire.

Sticking to a well-intended script, Bombay Begums wisely brings the horrors of a male-dominated space.

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