A single mother and her daughter. A National Award winning actress and her design genius daughter who has not only created garments but an entire art form inspired by the classic and the quirky. The Masaba Masaba duo came to meet us on our screens this evening, on the 28th August 2020 – and it was possibly one of the most subtle, heart warming things I have watched in a long time.
The series begins with the breakup of Masaba Gupta’s marriage and instantly the stage is set for an honest take on her life. We have her quietly telling us what it means to be a young girl in urban India – and not just a designer who has a long list of celebrity friends. She tells it like it is without letting celebrity-dom take centre stage. Instead, it is Masaba who reaches out as the belle of the ball, the leading lady of the story and hence, the apt name – Masaba, Masaba. She is who she is and she makes no excuses about it – famous mother, okay. Famous friends, sure. Fashion icon like none other, hell yes.
Yet, it is more than just a name. It is a sentiment. Masaba, Masaba instantly springs to one’s lips when she is being herself – a young lady going through a divorce and blaming her mother, even as she is turning into her mother in front of our very eyes, one episode at a time. At some of her ill timed gestures, we shake our heads; at others, we cheer for her – either which ways, it is Masaba, Masaba all the way.
While her coming of age comes through quite genuinely with each episode, her fiery and resilient personality is never far from the frame. Especially the scene where the new artist collaborator is about to gleefully share his number with the authoritarian investor, and Masaba simply says, “Hold on, it’s still my name outside the door.” Kudos, girl! And all this, without needless drama. She has her tantrums and then she moves on, for better or for worse. Whether she hot hooves it out of the house to find her own place, or turns right around to make her best friend’s bar opening a grand success. Whether she is rushing around saving the day in the last episode, or telling her mother what an exceptional woman she is, even in the midst of a cold war between the two. She is so matter of factly Masaba, that you cannot help but say – Masaba, Masaba.
But, equally fiery with her subtle screen presence is the role model to this young lady – her mother, the legendary actress, Neena Gupta. At once maternal, at once her own person – how does she do it? She too is clearly the leading lady of Masaba, Masaba. When Masaba proclaimed in the very first episode that she was born with controversy, we were glad she put that away so that we could get on with the program and look at Neena Gupta as the powerhouse she is. As a mother, she leads by example and treats her daughter like a cherished friend – whether they are sharing a laugh or at each other’s throats; whether they are sharing a few tears, or talking about life in general. A heart tugging scene is one where Masaba asks her, “Mom, how did you do it? How were so brave at such a young age?” Neena Gupta casually says, “Only I know what a mess I was.” And then, the hot mess collection happened!
As the perfect anti climax, mother and daughter came together in Masaba, Masaba when the talented daughter rushed to her studio to create a whole new line inspired by her mother’s simple philosophy in life. Life actually happened in that simple scene. Even the aftermath that followed seemed like a surmountable challenge that the resilient daughter of the resilient mother was sure to overcome.
The remaining characters including the artist, the husband, the investor, the best friend and everyone else were stellar in their roles – as if they were meant to be right there, playing the exact part they were playing in Masaba’s life. All of them demonstrated a no holds barred, yet simple approach to life. They demystified the whole glamorous side that they walk on, and they came across as perfectly relatable characters who are unapologetic for the way they are. Yet, they never bowed down unnecessarily to the iconic fashion empire the lead character is slowly yet surely building, and the legendary career graph that the mother has had. While there is respect and reverence, there is also something so grounded and relatable about the everyday life that all these characters depict around these two main characters.
And before you go, a special mention about the twinkling eyes and beaming smile brought to us by the little one playing young Masaba – you made me smile each time you came on screen!
If you are looking for an inspiring yet simple watch for the weekend, this one is for you!