Webseries Review | Dimple powers this game of thrones
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Ajit Andhare
Series: Saas, Bahu aur Flamingo
OTT: Disney+ Hotstar
Director: Homi Adajania
Cast: Dimple Kapadia, Radhika Madan
The phrase ‘saas-bahu’ (drama) has a specific connotation in the world of entertainment. It means bridally-decked women endlessly scheming against each other for the control of their house. Therefore when director Homi Adajania christened his series ‘Saas, Bahu aur Flamingo’, one thing was sure, it was going to be a family drama. Indeed, it is. But there is a difference. He roped in the 65-year-old but ever-ravishing Dimple Kapadia to play the lead. She plays Rani Baa in this series which seems to be a feeble cross between ‘Narcos’ and ‘Succession’.
The series, unnecessarily stretched over eight episodes, is many things at the same time. It’s fun and frustrating. It’s repetitive and refreshing. It’s stupid and stellar. But the glue that holds this together is the outstanding performance by Dimple Kapadia followed by the rest of the cast, the cinematography, the dialogues, and the background score, in that order.
The director’s job must have been super easy as he was dealing with an actress who has worked with the likes of Raj Kapoor and Christopher Nolan. She makes us believe that she is a wounded lioness and thus earns our sympathy right from frame one as the boss of a drug cartel. She has kept her sons away from this business and runs the show with the help of her two daughters-in-law, Kajal (Angira Dhar) and Bijlee (Isha Talwar), and daughter Shanta (Radhika Madan). She does all this under the garb of Rani Cooperative, an organisation that ostensibly helps widows. However, one day the cover blows up, and her sons discover what the womenfolk of their house do. At this point, Rani throws open the succession race to all to take over the business and thus ensues a game of thrones which is full of blood, gore, plotting, schemes, deceits, and betrayals.
Writing-wise, there are not many surprises and shocks here. It follows quite a predictable trajectory but performances by the entire cast make it tolerable. If you can endure the first 5.5 episodes, you will be in for a treat; the remaining ones are super fun.
Do watch the scene in which Rajasthani women in traditional wear led by Dimple pick up the guns and pulp their rival Monk (Deepak Dobriyal) and his henchmen. Also, the cremation scene that comes towards the end is exquisite. In fact, the entire series is beautifully shot and captures the desert landscape well.
For long we have lamented the fact that our senior, talented actresses do not get age-appropriate meaty roles. This series can prove to be a game-changer on that front. Till now, we have seen Shabana Azmi, and Supriya Pathak play mafia boss. However, they still did it when they were not as senior as Dimple. Simply watch and admire Dimple lord over her drug business from the haveli which has been turned into a digital fortress. She successfully brings out the strength and vulnerability of Rani Baa. She emotes through eyes that spit fire. Had it not been for her, ‘Saas, Bahu aur Flamingo’ would have been just any other drug drama dogged by family feud.
We also needed answers to a few questions like why daughters-in-law were preferred over the sons to run the business. It would have been nice if Shanta’s character was better written as it did have a lot of scope.
Also, the makers could have spared us the incest and lesbian track. It’s becoming too commonplace now hence losing its sheen.
In case you are still wondering what the flamingo part in the title stands for, it is the drug that Rani Baa sells. It’s not Af exactly, but it won’t make you dope sick too.
This flamingo is flying on Disney + Hotstar for now.