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Masaba Masaba Review

By DIVYA NAIR
August 31, 2020 17:24 IST
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'In every episode, you are tricked into believing that this messy girl whose life is falling apart is so talented and real that you have to love her for who she is.'
'And you will love her eventually because Masaba is effortless and looks stunning in every frame,' notes Divya Nair.

Masaba Masaba

IMAGE: Masaba Gupta and Kiara Advani in a scene from Masaba Masaba. Photograph: Kind courtesy Masaba Masaba/Netflix

It has been a little over a decade since Masaba Gupta made her breakthrough into fashion with her debut show as a GenNext designer at Lakme Fashion Week in 2009.

The young girl in her 20s, who until then was famously described as cricket legend Vivian Richards's and actor Neena Gupta's love child, took the plunge by accident.

Masaba turned out to be a fabulous designer with quirky ideas and a connect with the audience.

More than anything, she stood like a brave woman who battled criticism, body shaming, rejection and eventually found her niche.

Netflix's docu-drama Masaba Masaba, directed by Sonam Nair, aims to tell you the imperfectly perfect life of this superwoman with a little bit of spice. It's hard to say how much of it is real and how much masala, but we will take it with a pinch, no, actually, a cup of salt.

So the series begins with a blind item appearing in a newspaper about the designer's alleged divorce and how it rattles people around her -- who the director wants you to believe don't necessarily have her best interest.

Right from the first episode you can tell that the series will pick an incident in the designer's life and make a mountain out of a molehill. After denying the split in public, the couple eventually announces their separation on Instagram.

The 6-episode series then proceeds to uncover other elements of the designer's life that we seldom read or discuss on social media or encounter in entertainment glossies.

Investor issues, creative blocks, cliche ad campaigns, plagiarism, bad decisions -- name it and you have it all.

If you have previously loved feminine dramas like Four More Shots, Masaba Masaba has all the perfect ingredients to make it worth your time.

While some names and characters have been twisted to bring in the humour element, it is hard to say what the real Masaba and the people around her are like.

Characters like Kiara Advani, who fakes an accent, and Malvika Mohanan, who throws a fit just before an important fashion show, fail to convince you.

And when you see Farah Khan discussing keto and intermittent fasting to lose weight so she could replace Katrina Kaif, you know this is more fiction than real.

Unfortunately, you don't get to invest a lot of time into understanding the events that shaped Masaba and her mum Neena's life.

In every episode, you are tricked into believing that this messy girl whose life is falling apart is so talented and real that you have to love her for who she is.

And you will love her eventually because Masaba is effortless and looks stunning in every frame.

Like me, you may even wonder why Masaba never acted before because she is clearly better than any average star kid right now. She is comfortable in her skin and in some scenes is even better than the talented Neena Gupta.

The mother-daughter bond is endearing as well. The two fiercely independent ambitious women squabble like many mothers and daughters, but when there is trouble in paradise they both turn to each other and stand like each other's rock. There is no way you won't fall for their chemistry.

And then you have Rytasha Rathore playing Gia, Masaba's 2 am friend who brings her a crate of beer to work on a Tuesday so they could chill in between all the stress. Rytasha is gold. She is real, bitchy, and the kind of friend we all want/already have in our lives.

Amariah Awantaye, the young girl who plays mini Masaba, is cute and sassy.

As for the men -- be it Satyadeep Mishra who plays her unhappy husband, Neil Bhoopalan, the nagging investor, or Smaran Sahu, the hot co-worker she crushes on -- their job is to either bring trouble or look hot. Sometimes, both.

In approximately 120 minutes, the series takes you on a joyride through the messy life of a young woman with dreams, who fails miserably at everything, but always manages to pick up those pieces and get going without losing her true identity.

Is that even possible? Well, Director Sonam Nair wants you to believe that.

The writing is poor, the characters aren't sketched out enough. But there are ample incidents that will make you laugh and maybe even empathise with their little successes and failures.

Clichéd, but entertaining.

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DIVYA NAIR / Rediff.com
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