The second season of Masaba Masaba goes deeper into romcom territory. The Netflix series created by Ashvini Yardi stars Neena Gupta and her daughter Masaba Gupta as fictionalised versions of themselves. Round two improves on its predecessor by discarding any pretence of being a mockumentary and treating its heroine as a purely fictional character , rather than an approximation of whom she might actually be.
The seven-episode season’s big theme, if it can be called that, is the fear of redundancy. Kitted out in Mohit Rai’s chic threads and living high on the hog, the Guptas suffer too, Masaba Masaba suggests with a big wink.
Masaba Gupta has now fully come into view as a privileged millennial woman facing the unique problems of her sub-cohort. Recently single after a failed marriage, the fashion designer is conflicted between flings and the steadfastness promised by her investor Dhairya (Neil Bhoopalam).
Into the mix enters the Hunk of Hunks Fateh (Armaan Khera) who declares, “I just try to fill in my existential void with over-priced collectible sneakers.” But he also happens to be marrying Masaba’s new client, the spoilt heiress Aisha ( Barkha Singh).
Masaba’s angst over ageing is counterbalanced by Neena’s battle against ageism. Neena has revived her hit television show Fursat with her ex-flame Shekhar (Ram Kapoor), but is irked by the loss of creative control over her pet project.
We were more progressive in the old days, Neena tells Shekhar. Sure, he says, but everyone is progressive these days so we need to get traditional once again. It’s a lesson that Masaba Masaba‘s creators take to heart. For all the hot looks and trash talk, the show’s Netflix-and-no-chill approach is summed by an exchange between Masaba and her BFF Gia (Rytasha Rathore).
Have you had sex with Fateh yet, Gia wants to know.
We kissed, Masaba confesses.
That’s even worse, Gia yelps (our thoughts exactly).
Among Masaba’s new headaches is Gen Z brat Qayanaat (Kareema Barry), whose designs are shaking up haute couture. It’s a cruel world that belongs to the very young and the very brash, Masaba’s publicist Nicole (Kusha Kapila) keeps reminding her. Qayanaat further rattles Masaba by telling her, “Let me marinate in your aura.”
Sonam Nair returns as series director. Nair has also written the screenplay along with Nandini Gupta, Punya Arora and Anisha Raisurana. While the plot moves strictly on expected lines, the dialogue is cheerfully shallow, often very funny and faithful to the luxe surroundings.
Cameos by Kartik Aaryan, Milind Soman and Bappi Lahiri remind us that for all their whingeing, the Guptas are celebrities in their own right. An appearance by Neelam Kothari suggests a crossover with the inferior The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. But the show we would really like to see is about “the guy who’s been making all the Bollywood babies” – the doctor who’s helping movie stars conceive.
While Neena Gupta turns on the maternal warmth, the biggest surprise continues to be Masaba Gupta, who is completely at ease as the mildly anxious millennial saddled with problems of plenty. The other actors are better in the casual moments. Masaba Gupta is compelling even in the faux serious scenes, adding a dollop of substance to the fashion-froth-fun mix.
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