Four More Shots Please will highlight today's Indian millennial woman

Updated: Jan 13, 2019, 19:28 IST | Aastha Atray Banan

The stars and makers of a new 10-episode web series want to show the world what modern Indian women are all about

Four More Shots Please will highlight today's Indian millennial woman
Kirti Kulhari, Sayani Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo and Bani J at the trailer launch. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

These four women could be from anywhere in the world. Put them in Delhi, Bangalore, or even New York... They could fit in and be relatable to every woman. We created characters that were very distinct from each other, who weren't seeking perfection, but celebrated their flaws and were aspirational even," says Rangita Nandy, the astute creator of Amazon India's nod to Sex In The City, Four More Shots Please!, which releases on January 25.

"We wanted women who weren't far away from you. They had to be believable and relatable, and you would want to be like them," she adds. The show tells the story of South Bombay chicas, Damini (single, journalist), Umang (bisexual, fitness trainer), Siddhi (virgin, looking for a groom) and Anjana (single mother, lawyer), all trying to fend and find their way in a male-dominated, what-will-people-think-if-a-woman-is-single-at-30 society. For an Indian show in English, it hits bulls eye, avoiding clichés thanks to witty writing, genuine acting talent, and a fun, fresh soundtrack.

When we meet Nandy and the four leads — Sayani Gupta, Kirti Kulhari, Bani J and Maanvi Gagroo — at the trailer launch, they are all very clear about what was expected of them. "Siddhi was very different from me — under confident and self conscious, and so it was tough and challenging," says Gagroo. Gupta agrees, saying she played Damini as it was different from any character she had played before. "It was so well written, and I wanted to sink my teeth in it, as we have such few roles like this for women. I also identified with her as she is very unafraid and a control freak."

Rangita Nandy
Rangita Nandy

For Kulhari, playing single mom Anjana was all about her chemistry with the child and just putting herself into the situation and reacting to it. "She is independent but insecure and flawed as f***, and that's why I could relate with her." For Bani, though, the makers had always seen her as the feisty Umang. "She turned out better than what we thought," says Nandy. It's then that we ask why all four are from South Bombay, and the cast (many of who live in the suburb) take a dig at Nandy playfully.

"We set it in South Bombay, because it truly is an aspirational setting, and it gives you the Bombay feel, of a cosmopolitan city. Amazon beams down to 200+ countries, and we needed a setting and characters that people could watch and say 'oh that's the Indian millennial woman!'," says Nandy.
That could be the main aim of the show — to present the modern Indian woman. She has sex like a man, has needs like a man, is independent but vulnerable at the same time, is fighting for her rights as a working professional and homemaker at the same time, and is also trying to figure out who she is. "Exactly. When we travel abroad, we get a shocked, 'Oh, you are Indian?', and I am like ya, I am Indian Yo. Namaste," says Bani, to which Nandy adds, "It's not really about the colour of your skin or the language you speak anymore. It's about the attitude you wear, the vibe you have. We wanted to show everyone what Indian women are all about."

For all of them, it's also about making a point about female friendship and unity in the time of #MeToo. "There are so many notions — women don't get along, can't work together. The fact is that women are supporting other women, and are looking beyond these constricts we are conditioned to believe in. For example, initially, I would say I don't like so-and-so girl because she is a s**t, but now, I will never use that word. I may have reasons for not liking her, but I would never say or feel that. And that's all I really want people to do — be mindful and aware," says Gagroo. Bani adds, "I would just go stand next to the set during everyone's scene and give moral and emotional support, and in the end, be like 'you were awesome'. We need to support each others. This has been an exercise for all of us on the show, and we hope it reflects."

It does, in the way the mostly-female crew and cast interacts, and how it comes across on screen in the fun show. But does it mean that only women matter and men are disposable? Nandy disagrees, "Most shows paint men as either good or bad. In our show, both the female and male characters are flawed, but everyone is gorgeous as well." But as they sign off, Kulhari sums up the spirit of the show when she says, "We are crossing over to the Yang side now, when women are almost becoming men. I just want to say you don't have to be a man. Be a woman, and you will find your place in the world, through self love."

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