By Radhika Sharma
New Delhi, Dec 1 (PTI) Similarities between “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” and “Bhaag Beanie Bhaag” end at the very theme — a woman at the centre of the story trying to make a career in stand-up comedy, believes the cast of Netfilx’s upcoming series.
“Bhaag Beanie Bhaag”, a romantic comedy series with Swara Bhasker in the title role, was dubbed the Hindi version of the award-winning American series “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” after its trailer dropped on November 18.
The new Netflix show follows the journey of Beanie Bhatnagar, a 20-something woman, who is breaking stereotypes and running after her ambition of being a stand-up comic.
Asked if the parallels between the shows were fair, Bhasker said she hadn’t seen the Rachel Brosnahan-starrer which streams on Amazon Prime Video.
Her co-stars actor-comic Varun Thakur and YouTube sensation Dolly Singh, however, said the two series differ a lot.
Thakur, also known for writing 2018 Amazon series “Shaitaan Haveli”, said the comparisons end at the fact that the women in both shows are holding a mic and doing comedy.
Set in 1950s, “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” follows Mirium ‘Midge’ Maisel, a New York housewife who stumbles into stand-up comedy after learning about her husband’s infidelity.
“Mrs Maisel is set in a completely different timeline, it’s set in 1950s America which is very different from 2019-20 India. The problems she faces, the relationships, dynamics with her friends, family, boyfriend is very different from how it is in ‘Mrs Maisel’.
“People should just watch the show and then take a decision. Don’t just go off the trailer, give the show a chance. Watch it, if you still feel they are similar, then say so. It’s a little unfair to judge the book by the cover,” Thakur told PTI in an interview.
Echoing her fellow actor’s sentiment, Singh said the storylines of the two shows are “not the same”.
“I hadn’t seen ‘Mrs Maisel’ before I shot this show. I saw it in the lockdown and that show is iconic and amazing. Our show is about Beanie trying to be a stand-up comic and her struggles.
“Definitely those similarities are there and they will exist but that doesn’t make the show similar to any other show in any way. Now any film on woman trying to be a pilot will be compared to ‘Gunjan Saxena’. We must give the show a chance, see for what it is and then decide,” she added.
Besides trying to set up a career in comedy, Beanie also struggles to manage the expectations of her parents, played brilliantly by Mona Ambegaonkar and Girish Kulkarni, who get the shock of their life she breaks her engagement with ‘perfect’ boyfriend Arun (Thakur) on the very day of the ceremony.
The parents, however, come around after they realise that their daughter’s true happiness lies in comedy.
Asked if her real-life parents supported her decision to become an actor, Bhasker said they were initially “very scared” when she told them about her plans.
“It came completely out of the blue for them. But they did not stop me even in their fear and concern, they continued to support me, financially as well. Parents also struggle with the values they have grown up with and they are just not equipped to deal with what our generation brings home. I have always felt that most parents will grow with you.”
Thakur said his parents are the most supportive influence in his life.
From pursuing advertising in college to studying filmmaking abroad to finally setting sights on stand-up comedy, the actor said he “kept throwing these bombs at them every two years”.
“For the longest time, they were unsure of what I was doing because they are used to a structured way of what a child is supposed to do. But they never stopped me. Now every second day I get a WhatsApp from them saying, ‘You should joke about this’. It’s really heartening.”
Singh, who plays Kapi, Beanie’s best friend and vlogger in the show, said her parents are on board now as she is doing well for herself.
“For my parents ‘log kya kahenge? (what will people say?)’ has been the biggest thing. Thankfully, those who are speaking today have only good things to say. So, they are happy. I have money and the struggling days are behind me. When I started fashion blogging, I didn’t tell at home.
“My mother got to see it all through a neighbour – some pictures of me in shorts and spaghetti top. That time my mother said why are you putting your pictures in such short clothes on the Internet? Now everything is fine.”
After a shocking hidden truth is revealed, an angry Beanie delivers a fiery set which is lapped up by the audience and also goes viral on social media.
Asked if anger as an emotion serves as a tool to create good content, Bhasker said best art in the world has come from rage.
“If you look at the most hard-hitting art, even mythologically, Lord Shiva doing the Tandav, which is supposed to be the beginning point of all art, is coming from anger. Whether it’s (comic) Hanna Gadsby or even in our show, Beanie comes into her own after that set.”
Singh said any emotion used for collective good creates solid content.
“It can’t be petty rage that if someone trolled me in a comment, I’ll destroy them in a video. Till the time your emotions don’t align with what you are creating, it’s never going to work,” she said.
Thakur said comics try to write about subjects they like but they also highlight issues that need to be addressed in “as funny way as possible”.
“Content that comes from emotion is sure-shot success as comedy comes from truth,” he said.
“Bhaag Beanie Bhaag” is slated to premiere on December 4. PTI RDS RDS BK
By Radhika Sharma