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Film Review: Four More Shots Please

by Ferry Bhatia
(Amritsar, India)

Cast: Sayani Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo, Kirti Kulhari, Gurbani, Prateik, Lisa Ray, Milind Soman, Neil Bhoopalam, Amrita Puri, Ankur Rathee, Simone Singh, Ankur Rathee
Director: Nupur Asthana
Critic's Rating: 2.5 stars
Duration: 10 episodes, 28-35 minutes (approx.)/ episode
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Language: Hindi
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
Story: Four friends – Siddhi Patel (Maanvi Gagroo), Umang Singh (Gurbani Judge), Anjana Menon (Kirti Kulhari) and Damini Rizvi Roy (Sayani Gupta) – navigate through the hubbub of life, determined to find their own lane and come face-to-face with their true selves. But, is self-discovery as simple as it sounds?

After an alcohol-fueled accident involving her little girl Arya (Jiya Lakhiani), accomplished lawyer and divorcee Anjana knows it’s high time she made some life-altering decisions and leave this traumatic experience behind. So, what does she do? Melt in the arms of her much younger boyfriend Arjun (Ankur Rathee) knowing full well she doesn’t want marital commitment and he does. And following on her footsteps is her ‘baby’ friend Siddhi Patel, a young Gujarati girl hailing from a wealthy family who’s looking for love and true calling in life but wouldn’t even flutter her eyelashes to achieve both. After the rich brat’s scandalous debut on a raunchy website is exposed by her future father-in-law, cute and clueless Siddhi takes a fully-funded trip to Istanbul to drown her sorrows in gin and a gigolo, which also happens to be the opening scene of the second season of this romcom by Amazon Prime Video.

The headstrong one of this pack – investigative journalist and perpetually confused about men Damini Rizvi Roy is kicked out of the very website she built from scratch. And to continue her fight against the hooligans within the system, Damini writes a book about the suspicious death of a judge, but there are no takers for this story as it is too controversial. Meanwhile, her love life is crumbling – she is constantly conflicted between her distractingly good-looking doctor aka sexual partner Warsi (Milind Soman) and the kind and endearing bar owner Jay (Prateik). If all this incertitude wasn’t enough, then their once playgirl, gym freak friend Umang falls head-over-heels in love with an actress whose prime days are long over – Samara Kapoor (Lisa Ray). It’s a classic case of being blinded by and drunk in love and the bisexual belle from Punjab just refuses to let go.

The first season walked us through their back stories and how these four self-loathing, yet charming women manage to meet up at their favourite bar, Truck Bar, almost every day to discuss their ongoing problems ranging from office politics to unresolved feelings and of course nursing each other’s heartaches. The flaws are simmering in season one, but somehow the flashy clothes, stilettos and chiselled faces make up for the lack of originality in the plotline. But with season two, everything just boils over – the writers (Devika Bhagat, Ishita Moitra, Rangita Pritish Nandy) try out every trick in the chick flick trade – from misogyny at workplace to unabashed embracement of a lovechild – but leave everything looming over our heads without a plausible solution; half-baked subplots don’t do well in web series.The track of this 10-episode drama is one topsy-turvy ride that would have made perfect sense till the mid-2000s (in fact, it would have been a decent answer to ‘Sex and The City’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’) but it holds no relevance in today’s world. The script is laden with sexual innuendos that gross you out (like the tampon versus hymen discussion) and the dependency on sex to deal with every broken nail in the house is just pure oversell and passé. However, the music is a refreshing part of the otherwise lacklustre narrative; shoutout to Mikey McCleary and Medha Sahi for the heartbreak ballad ‘I Don’t Do Love Anymore.’
Kirti Kulhari, as the judgemental and broken-hearted single mother stuck in an uncomfortable arrangement, evokes pity and is relatable to a reasonable extent. Sayani Gupta, as the fiercely independent and pig-headed journalist, is often too loud and too angry. She emotes her frustration well but, in some parts, it all seems a little too forced. Maanvi Gagroo’s act as a confused child is part annoying and part hilarious; she is good as a stand-up comedian but not half as convincing as a grown-up individual demanding clarity from life. Gurbani is toned to her toe in this web series but her small-town-girl-surviving-in-a-big-city act is hard to believe; she is far too posh for that role. As a package, the girls work to a substantial degree but the diegesis has no meat for them to work with.

Despite all the ingredients that have been used in this concoction to cook up the hastily prepared broth that is ‘Four More Shots Please Season 2’, one cannot help but wonder why these 21st century women with all the gut and gumption are relying on boy toys, sex, more sex and downing shots over every goddamn thing

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