‘Four More Shots Please!’ Review: Season Two with better subplots and improved character arcs serves as a frontrunner for new age female-centric content

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

A little over a year after the first season of Amazon Prime Video series ‘Four More Shots Please!’ took the Indian web space by storm, show creator Rangita Pritish Nandy and team are back with a brand new season. And one couldn’t really have asked for a better timing than right now when the coronavirus lockdown has suddenly made the web the last refuge for entertainment. What further spices up the things is the fact that the season premiere of season two is set in Istanbul. At a testing time when one can’t even step out of one’s house (except to pick up essential items from grocery stores) here is a show that wastes no time in straightaway transporting us to the scenic vistas of Istanbul, encompassing the Bosporus strait, which separates Europe from Asia. Amazon Prime has released a special nine minute recap of the first season which does a good job of filling up the gap in case any viewer directly wants to start with the new season.

The success of the first season of ‘Four More Shots Please!’ can be attributed to its refreshing, upbeat and bold content as well as the brilliant performances of the four female leads of the show. Seriously, why should the boys have all the fun? For, the girls are finally here to steal the thunder! For the uninitiated, ‘Four More Shots Please!’ revolves around the lives of four best friends. Sayani Gupta is a firebrand journalist named Damini Rizvi Roy aka ‘D’ who is smitten by her male gynecologist, played with his characteristic debonair charm by Milind Soman. Kirti Kulhari is a lawyer named Anjana Menon. She a divorced single mother who can’t stand the woman his ex-husband (essayed by Neil Bhoopalam) is currently dating. Bani J is a bisexual fitness trainer named Umang Singh who has a strong crush on a B-town actress, named Samara Kapoor (portrayed by Lisa Ray), she keeps encountering at her gym. And the last member of the quartet is Siddhi Patel (essayed by Maanvi Gagroo) who is a plus-size virgin girl tormented by a mother who desperately wants her to lose her extra flab. But these women are not here to kowtow to the patriarchal norms and meet society's expectations, for they make their own choices and they play by their own rules.

The second season picks up four months after the events of the first season which had left the four protagonists in a pretty bad place with their personal lives in a complete mess and their friendship tested like never before. But they must finally come to terms with the reality and regain their high spirits. It’s again time for these free-spirited women to turn the tables and show everyone around them what they are truly made up of and make the patriarchal world to pay the due attention to what they truly want and not the other way around. This time around the show is directed by Nupur Asthana. Yet again there are 10 episodes of about 30 minutes each. The new season has some fresh additions to the star cast, including Samir Kochhar and Shibani Dandekar.

‘Four More Shots Please!’ succeeds in managing to flip the male gaze on its head by choosing to show a strong feminine perspective on life which makes the show quite refreshing to watch. The show offers a fairly realistic depiction of the urban Indian space. The complexities of relationships, work-life conflicts, and ambitions and insecurities of working women (as well as men) are all explored really well. The strong social commentary does a decent job of exposing the gender divide. However, the occasional use of cusswords, slangs, double entendres, and sexual innuendos may make a few viewers uncomfortable. But thankfully it never really overshadows the subject material which clearly stands out for its unfazed and unapologetic voice.  

Now, the second season of ‘Four More Shots Please’ is certainly an improvement over the first. Among other things, it offers better subplots and improved character arcs. The series needs to be commended for trying to tell us stories revolving around 21st century women professionals and their day to day troubles. It cannot be denied that today, more than ever, there is a great need for new age female-centric content that breaks free from the tedium of saas-bahu sagas that have kept our imagination tied down for over two decades now. ‘Four More Shots Please!’ is a big step forward towards the kind of women-oriented content that can set the ball rolling for some serious discourse around gender equality and the changing roles of women in the 21st century India. But, this is just the beginning. For, there is a greater need to take this discourse further so as to address society’s larger problems revolving around gender inequalities prevalent in both urban as well as rural India.

Rating: 7.5/10

A version of this review was first published in The Sunday Guardian.

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