Four More Shots Please! Season 2 Review: Familiar spirits
The new season, though condensed and streamlined, is more of the same as Four More Shots Please! Season 1
There are a few step changes in Four More Shots Please! Season 2 worth pointing out. ‘Investigator.com’ is gone, Truck Bar is a lot less noisy and Umang (Bani J) finally has something approaching an arc. Beyond that, though, the wins are scant. When it launched last year on Amazon Prime, the show was pulled up for its superficial investment in the journeys of four flawed women in Mumbai. The new season, though condensed and streamlined, is more of the same, touching upon the hang-ups and entanglements of its female protagonists without exploring them in depth.
Cast: Maanvi Gagroo, Sayani Gupta, Kirti Kulhari, Bani J
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
Rating: 2 stars
The story so far had concluded with the girls — Umang, Siddhi (Maanvi Gangroo), Anjana (Kirti Kulhari), and Damini (Sayani Gupta) — laying into each other and hitting all manners of rock bottom. Umang’s relationship with film star Samara Kapoor (Lisa Ray) was rocked; Siddhi’s cam-world adventures boomeranged shockingly; Anjana crashed her car with her daughter in it and Damini reached the topmost step of journalistic ambition: unemployment.
The new season kicks off two months after, with Siddhi drunk-calling her friends from Istanbul. They regroup and reach out — only to find she’s set it all up. Still, the Bosphorus looks pretty and they finally get a chance to make amends. It’s a mature, soothing start, with a lot looking up in their individual lives. The show, too, settles into a mood of easy tranquility (Nupur Asthana has replaced Anu Menon as director). Yet, once the gang returns to Mumbai, the frantic old ways kick in. “You know what’s Deja Chu, right?” Anjana beams in one scene. She might as well be talking to us.
Damini’s feuds at her former workplace held the spotlight in Season 1. While she continues to work on a book, and later struggles to have it published, her friends get an equally rounded look. Sidhi discovers standup comedy and, after some reluctance, takes to it enthusiastically. Anjana, already a senior associate at her law firm, refuses to play ball with her sexist boss. Umang patches up with Samara and inspires her to come out; the instant public embrace of their relationship is unreal, but it leads to new opportunities for the driven fitness coach.
Winningly, the actors make the most of this added bandwidth. Maanvi brings a nervous excitability to her emerging comic. “My life is so privileged,” Siddhi confesses at one point. “How will I get my material?” In response, her friends point her to the various themes at her disposal: virginity, body shaming, troubles with mom. She melds them into an engaging set later on, culminating in the most heartfelt five minutes of this show.
This feeling, however reassuring, doesn’t last. The next time we see Sidhi on stage, she’s ranting angrily at her parents — a sudden (and humourless) leap that sullies her inward growth as a performer. Conversely, Anjana’s clashes with her boss are abandoned for a more workable romcom space. It’s a recurring problem with the show: too eager to introduce new ideas, too distracted to follow them through.
Writers Devika Bhagat and Ishita Moitra (dialogues) take in a lot. The show checks off polyamory, ‘antinatalism’, abortion, gay marriage. While the emotional undercurrent is strong, the handling is evasive — tidbits of topicality to be strewn along the way. More engaging are the lighter notes: Simone Singh’s domineering mother now a giggling chum; Milind Sonam and Prateik Babbar slugging it out near the end.
Late into the show, the girls are in Udaipur, practicing for Umang’s sangeet. We see them in their night suits, with Sidhi leading the steps. They dance, talk about boys and finally collapse on the bed. “I need some wine,” one frets. “I could do with a pizza,” another suggests. “Should we order?”
Four More Shots Please! has always been a cheery sleepover. Too bad it comes of age this far into the ride.