Review: Bhaag Beanie Bhaag misses the punch line

The Swara Bhaskar Netflix series lacks depth, originality and even humour

By Farheen Abdullah

KARACHI: Surely we can all relate to the excitement of discovering a new original show or movie on our Netflix home screens. So when Bhaag Beanie Bhaag was released on Netflix on 4th December, many of us hit the play button, for why else would it be trending right now? Surely the quality of the show has little to do with the stats since Bhaag Beanie Bhaag currently stands at a rating of 2.6 on IMDb. It is safe to say that the biggest problem of the show is that it lacks originality. The Netflix original, ironically, has very few original themes and ideas that the show develops upon. The very title of the show reminds Bollywood fans of Farhan Akhtar’s Bhaag Milka Bhaag. Of course, the title could potentially be inspired by the movie but let us review what else went wrong with Bhaag Beanie Bhaag. If you are yet to watch the show, you might want to come back to this story later. Or in other words, spoilers ahead.

Bhaag Beanie Bhaag tells the story of a 29-year-old Beanie Bhatnagar who wishes to be a stand-up comedian but is stuck in a day job which she does not enjoy. She has typical desi parents who are obsessed with her marriage topped with a boyfriend of three years who proposes to her when she is not ready. Unable to communicate with her loved ones who are also not supportive of her career as a comedian, Beanie runs away on the day of her roka (engagement) and lands directly at a stand-up comedy night. Does the show remind you of a typical runaway bride yet? Some viewers have also compared it to Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a story of a homemaker who discovers her flair for stand-up comedy after her husband leaves her.

Of course, Beanie’s story is relatable for the brown kids who were forced to give up on their passion and creative choices and ended up studying for MBA. Many women can also relate to the pressure they feel into getting married and having kids, and often putting their careers behind them. But what is so unique about Beanie’s story then? What is even more confusing is how little context is provided into Beanie’s relationship with her boyfriend and her passion for stand up comedy. Not more than a minute is spent looking back at her journey as a kid through adulthood. Was stand up comedy something that she was even good at? Did she ever discuss it with her parents or boyfriend? Had she imagined a future with her partner which lead him into believing that she was ready for marriage?

For a show that is based on a stand up comedian’s journey, Bhaag Beanie Bhaag has very few on-stage comic moments. To tell the truth, Beanie’s jokes are also rarely hilarious. Perhaps the only funny character is Beanie’s dad who plays the role of a typical middle-class desi father. Oddly enough, Dolly Singh plays the role of Beanie’s bestfriend, Kapi. Dolly comes across as a pretty funny individual who creates engaging content on Instagram. Kapi, on the other hand, is a rather passive character whose Instagram content is mostly superficial and who knocks very little sense into her bestfriend. It is confusing why the team would choose to mellow down Dolly’s personality so much when she could have easily contributed towards the comic essence of the show.

Beanie is a woman who chooses to prioritize her career as opposed to her relationships. She is willing to risk everything she has to pursue her dreams. However the closing sequence of the first season has Beanie recreating the bond that she shared with her ex-fiance, Arun (who conveniently cheats on her current girlfriend with Beanie). The last scene has Beanie choosing to go on a tour where she does quite well while Arun admires her performances from behind his screen. Clearly, Beanie’s career as a stand up comedian has soared and hence, the extended tour shows. Even her parents begin to recognise her talent. So then the only aspect that remains unsorted is her romantic relationship with Arun. Do we really need a season 2 for that? Wasn’t the point of the show to portray a woman who breaks away from the pressures of romantic relationships?

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