Written by Saurav Dey, Karan Vyas, Nandini Gupta and Aman Mannan, and directed by Homi Adajania, the eight-episode series ‘Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo’ is nothing like anything we have ever seen before.
Set in a alternate universe where morality is skewed, and betrayal could cost you your life, a matriarch, Savitri (Dimple), runs her dystopian world fearlessly — and apologetically. But soon Savitri’s survival hangs on a thread as her rivals zero in to destroy her existence. Will her family, fractured by their greed for power, unite to fight their enemies or will they stab each other in the back?
The intriguing cliffhangers and brilliant performances are the USP of this show created by maverick filmmaker, Homi Adajania, who fearlessly narrates a dystopian family drama headlined by bold, unapologetic women.
The series starts with a Deputy CM’s son overdosing on a drug in a nightclub, which leads a passionate ACP to track down the drug’s creator. And then, we are introduced to Savitri/Rani Ba, a tough matriarch who runs an empire in the inaccessible Borderlands with an army of women.
A product of these brutal lands, Savitri (Dimple), a young pregnant gypsy woman, witnesses her husband’s murder; she is raped, tortured and left to die in the middle of a desert. But instead of giving up and dying, young Savitri rises from the ashes, turns her back on the world and creates her own destiny.
We soon discover that Savitri runs a cooperative society, which produces handicrafts, but is in reality a front for the biggest cocaine manufacturing brand known as Flamingo. Her empire stretches all the way from the subcontinent to Europe.
Savitri has two sons and a daughter; both the sons live aboard, clueless that their wives, sister and mother are running the largest drug cartel anyone can imagine.
Savitri also has an adopted son, who helps her run the business. He is her weak spot, but he is treading on thin ice as he’s embroiled in a relationship with Savitri’s daughter.
Soon, the dark clouds of a threat loom over Savitri’s empire, which is threatened by Monk or the ‘ice-pick killer’ (Deepak Dobriyal), a formidable and menacing adversary, and an unrelenting policeman (Jimit Trivedi). Both come knocking at Savitri’s door. To add to the mayhem, her decision to appoint a successor leads to chaos as all daggers are drawn within the family.
The series is crafted amazingly well. The screenplay allows the actors to get deep under the skin of their characters and create something that’s sublime, entertaining and uniquely refreshing. All the characters have very colourful graphs and often one doesn’t know who to invest in during this captivating watch.
Radhika Madan is seen in a brand new avatar as she plays the daughter and chemist with a bold aloofness that is subtle and brilliantly effortless.
Actress Isha Talwar and Angira Dhar are a revelation; the duo create layered and nuanced characters who challenge the norms of a male-dominated world with a conviction and attitude that we rarely see on screen.
The sons, Ashish Verma and Varun Mitra, are a riot to watch and infuse so much colour into the plot. A special mention must be made Mitra’s character, whose transformation is worth watching. Playing the adopted son, Udit Arora, is a new find who essays the outsider within the family with a unique vulnerability that makes you root for him.
Deepak Dobriyal, as Monk, is cold and unpredictable with an insatiable hatred for Savitri; his character will give people sleepless nights. Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah plays Sahebji, a powerful but distrustful collaborator of Savitri’s. Shah doesn’t have much screen time but adds a solid level of gravitas to the story.
Dimple Kapadia, as Savitri, is the rockstar of the series; she owns her duality, swinging from compassionate to ruthless with the same passion; she has every shade and texture; you feel sorry for her, yet understand her skewed motives and can’t help but fall in love with her character.
The visuals of the series captured by cinematographer Linesh Desai are delicious to say the least. And considering that it is a fictionalised place inhabited by fictional people, production designers Bindiya Chhabria and Arvind Kumar, along with the super-talented costume designer Maxima Basu, have created an incredibly believable world that one immerses deeply into knowing that it doesn’t exist.
The impressive music score created by Sachin-Jigar offer a unique soundscape that enhances the viewing experience of this spectacle.
The series is definitely an immersive family drama with a high dose of blood, sex, drugs, romance, and action. All the performances and even the supporting actors (special mention here of the effortless Monica Dogra) are brilliant. This one is a sure-shot winner; it will not only find its audience, but also leave them screaming for more, forcing the makers to create a second season now!
Web Series: Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo.
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar (Eight Episodes)
Created and Directed by: Homi Adajania
Cast: Dimple Kapadia, Radhika Madan, Angira Dhar, Isha Talwar, Ashish Verma, Varun Mitra, Udit Arora, Deepak Dobriyal, Vipin Sharma and Monica Dogra