The trailer of Bombay Begums opens with hashtag-like monikers of female empowerment—Queen, Survivor. To be both survivor and queen in the city of glossy sheen, Bombay (for the alliterative Bombay Begums, Shiv Sena name-change notwithstanding) is a journey ripe for feminist drama—it’s not just the masculine world, but the cutting city that one must survive.
There’s Rani (Pooja Bhatt), Lily (Amruta Subhash), Shai (Aadhya Anand), Fatima (Shahana Goswami), and Ayesha (Plabita Borthakur), each undergoing their own specific circumstances at the intersection of class, and gender (and perhaps, religion). Rani seems to be the connecting tissue, with Shai being her step-daughter, Ayesha and Fatima being in her employ, and Lily being someone she must bribe away. Rahul Bose, Danish Husain, Vivek Gomber, and Manish Chaudhari play the masculine counterparts.
Sex and sexuality are used, for both pleasure and power, and Fatima’s journey especially tackles that tricky intersection of involved motherhood and the involved career-woman. It is made clear that this is a story of burning women at the metaphoric stake, and how, even then, they refuse to be destroyed.
Written and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burka, Dolly Killy Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare), the series drops on March 8.