From people around me to people writing opinion pieces on the internet, there is no dearth of ‘opinions’ about the second season of Four More Shots Please! Since the show was released on Amazon Prime last week, there has been an influx of opinions about how ‘this is not feminism’, ‘this is just a story of four privileged women’, ‘the show is just about dressing up and drinking’ and many more that I’ve heard from friends and strangers.
I am not here to comment on what a ‘correct depiction of feminism’ is because, for me, it’s simply equality of freedom of choice and voice; I’m not here too to defend the show, because honestly, it is precisely just that- a show. I watched it last week, enjoyed it, liked and disliked some parts, some characters, and moved on. I did not consider it to be a feminist icon, because it never asked to be one.
The show doesn’t claim to have perfect characters. No show or movie today does. It portrays imperfect, flawed characters who sometimes stand up for the right thing, and at other times, do the wrong thing themselves.
For instance, when Anjana faces a sexist boss at her workplace. Instead of deciding to put up with it (as she very easily could have, being a single mother), she decides to quit knowing fully well how difficult it is going to be. We also see the same character making wrong choices in her personal life, doubting herself and being uncomfortable with what she’s doing, and yet being weak in critical moments of choice, with her friends hinting towards it (Damini tells Anjana what she’s doing is ‘not like her’), and simply being there for her when she needs them.
Damini herself is going through vastly different experiences in her personal and professional life. I liked the house she lives in, and the kind of clothes she wears. For me, it fits in very well with the high-society contacts she has, people she meets and networks with. I couldn’t see how she was ‘privileged’ (a word I’ve read in a few reviews) because I inferred from both seasons of the show that she was quite a reputed journalist and had worked to establish a whole company before she was kicked out of it. All those years of hard work would leave you with some money to survive for a few months, I believe.
This character did some things that I disliked, too. All of which related to the choices she made as a person in a difficult situation. Could she have handled her personal life better? Sure. Did that have anything to do with her being a woman? I don’t see.
All four lead characters are going through some dramatic points in their lives. I’ve been reading about how many people did not like Siddhi’s character, how she simply lives on her parents’ money and is so privileged. When I watched the show, I was pleasantly surprised by the development graph that the character had. Someone who was quite clueless and easily influenced in the first season, was now making her own decisions, right or wrong, was forming her own beliefs and standing up for them, finding her talent and doing something about it, and talking about her struggles with body-shaming.
A seemingly naïve character had now learned from her own experiences and was making new choices. Was she privileged in that she had rich parents? Sure. Was she not as professionally successful as say, Anjana, or Damini? Not as successful or professionally dedicated. However, while the former is a 24-year-old girl, the latter two are much older than her.
Being closer to Siddhi’s age, and having friends (of varying genders) at that age, I can vouch that most of us are just as clueless, still studying or just starting in our careers, some living with our parents, some fully or partly off of them. I especially liked the scene where Damini tells Siddhi to try on a tampon and that it has nothing to do with virginity. I thought it was a clever way of sending a message to a young audience.
While I thought there could have been more with Umang and Samar’s storyline, their actions (and also the acting itself), I liked the way the show dared to talk about mental illnesses, shed light on the fact that it needs support, both medicinal and emotional. Another interesting highlight I found in that storyline was the subtle emphasis on how homosexuality is multi-layered, and how a lot of what people have to face, is intertwined with their social standing, and privilege.
While Samara the superstar has all her family to stand with her on her big day, and has magazines covering her wedding, giving interviews, her partner (not as rich) is having a hard time convincing her small-town family to come to her wedding and is uncomfortable with the lavish wedding she is being dragged into.
In a world of opinion pieces, I’m just adding another opinion, and my opinion is this: The show has its merits and cringe-worthy moments. I believe it makes some really important and noteworthy points, and just because the lead characters are all of one gender, and are getting together, supporting each other over a few drinks (and are well dressed), does not, and should not take the limelight away from all other, and more important points it makes.
I don’t know whether screaming ‘vagina’ on a beach is an important trademark of feminism or not, but I do know that sometimes in difficult moments, sitting with your friends (of any gender) and simply screaming can be quite liberating. And feminism and liberation are quite close.
P.S- If I do have to go through difficult times in life, I would rather be well dressed and look amazing while I am tackling shit head-on than sit at home in my pyjamas and cry about it, something I am bored of seeing women do in Indian films and shows.