Not going the space

Gurnaaz Kaur

Beanie Bhatnagar (Swara Bhaskar) is middle-class girl who is 29, has an MBA degree, a decent desk job, a rich boyfriend and these are enough reasons for her parents to be happy with their daughter. As a hobby, she does open-mike and everything about her life if fine until the day her boyfriend of three years Arun Kalra (Varun Thakur) proposes to her for marriage.

Series: Bhaag Beanie Bhaag

Director: Debbie Rao, Abi Varghese and Ishaan Nair

Cast: Swara Bhasker, Ravi Patel, Varun Thakur, Dolly Singh, Girish Kulkarni and Mona Ambegaonkar

Streaming on: Netflix

Rating: **

Once she wears the engagement ring, realisation dawns on her that she can’t live this predictable life of a married woman with children. To support her further is an invite to a ‘new voices’ showcase, a beginning to her dream of being a stand-up comic. So, on the very day of her roka, she decides to change the course of her life. She calls off her engagement, quits her job on a voice message and lands at her BFF Kapi’s (Dolly Singh) couch; this after she bombs the showcase in her shiny white tulle engagement dress.

Supporting her to make a career in stand-up comedy is fellow Indian-American comic Ravi (Ravi Patel) and Kapi. There are challenges galore in this creative field and some jokes too. What follows is Beanie’s struggle, confusions and her becoming a modern, somewhat rebel Beanie 2.0, which includes kissing and then casual sex with a married man in a public bathroom; betrayal, being thrown out of her parents’ house, a gig at a wedding, bumping into the ex with her new girlfriend and finally signing up a comedy tour.

Swara Baskar as the eponymous Beanie is mostly relatable and her sets are a delight to watch. The conflict of head and heart that she presents mostly through her expressions and body language is a class act. There are points when you know it is the feminist Swara doing her ‘women can do it all’, but you can let it pass because the actress amiably brings out the nuances of a middle-class millennial, who is doubtful, fears hurting her loved ones but has the will to explore.

In the parallel theme, we come face-to-face with the anguish of middle-class parents (Girish Kulkarni and Mona Ambegaonkar) who are finding it hard to digest their daughter’s ambition. From Girish bargaining with an astrologer to seek help for her daughter’s marriage, to the couple getting counselled by a shrink to understand Beanie’s choices, the two actors as flustered parents are admirable. Equally endearing is Ravi Patel as the laidback NRI comic, who has his own stuff to deal with but is supportive and fun to be around. Varun Thakur enacts the part of the boring and reliable boyfriend well, which many girls will agree with. Kapi aka Dolly Singh is a friend we all need. Be it her portrayal as influencer or the supportive friend, she is a natural performer.

Overall, there is a story but the treatment is a bit slack. Too much happens too soon and therefore nothing really stays with you till the end. Most of the dialogues it seems are taken from the preachy-hilarious Facebook or Instagram posts that we all have read and heard a lot of times. But we can’t take it from Bhaag Beanie Bhaag that it narrates the tale of a woman who is following her heart and living a rather unusual dream.

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