‘We all want an equal world,’ says Rangita Pritish Nandy, creator of Four More Shots Please!

Debarati Palit Singh
Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Rangita Pritish Nandy, creator of Four More Shots Please! Season 2, which will soon start streaming, tells us why it is important to show the lives of women in India today and how she is happy with the ‘feminist’ show.

For decades, mainstream media in India has stereotyped women. Be it in films or television, the Bhartiya nari has been portrayed as the flawless woman whose only aim in life is to get married, have children, look after the family and sacrifice her dreams.

That’s changing now. Indian women are refusing to wear the Ms Perfect crown and are unapologetic about their choices. The changing mindset has made cinema, TV and OTT platforms sit up and rethink and reshape women’s characters on screen. 

REFLECTION OF THE TIMES
The second season of Amazon Original Four More Shots Please!, a show that revolves around four unapologetically flawed women as they live, love and make mistakes, is about to start streaming on April 17. 

The creator of the series, Rangita Pritish Nandy, says, “The series is a reflection of the times that we live in.”

The show will stream in 200 countries. Ask her how much did they tweak the content keeping the global audience in mind, and Rangita says, “Not at all. The only thing we have kept in mind is that ‘we need to be Indian at heart as the girls and show are absolutely Indian’ and ‘we have to ensure that we are reflecting the lives of women in India today as we are moving into 2021’. It cannot be regressive, unrealistic and has to reflect on what is actually happening because this is what the world is going to see. I get that question from fans in America, Europe and Africa, who ask, ‘Are girls like this in India?’ But that’s how we women are right now here.”

Rangita is known for designing and producing TV’s first weekly show based on the fashion world, Khwahish. She was also part of the production team for Chup Bas Lakshya, PNC’s first Marathi show; Koshish, a show for Doordarshan on NGOs working in critical areas; and Sanjog, a daily drama for Doordarshan.

THERE IS NO ‘ONE’ INDIA
She says that the characters and their stories will evolve immensely in the second season. “There are different chapters, personal issues, some growing, some breaking down, a lot of fighting, cuddling, love, intimacy, men. But at the heart of it, it is about friendship that is being celebrated further,” says Rangita. 

Four More Shots Please! stars Sayani Gupta, Kirti Kulhari, Bani J, Maanvi Gagroo, along with Prateik Babbar, Lisa Ray, Milind Soman, Neil Bhoopalam, Simone Singh and Amrita Puri. The series is directed by Nupur Asthana and written by Devika Bhagat.

Ask her what the thought behind planning the series was and Rangita replies that it emerges from the fact that there is no ‘one India’. “When I was growing up, we had seen different women, from Sita in Ramayan, to Bhagyashree in Maine Pyaar Kiya etc. We have to understand that when it comes to Indian content, we have portrayed them in a certain way — one, they were submissive and second, they were the ones who went out, caught up with men, which was charming because they were the early feminists,” she says.

She adds that she failed to understand why there wasn’t any content for people like her who have grown up in South Mumbai and has led a fairly fun life. 

“We wanted to make a series about this kind of Indian women who also existed have grown up in the city and are trying to make a place for themselves,” she says.

The story is inspired by her life and several others.

OTT LETTING THEM TELL STORIES
Unfortunately, makers had to wait for OTT platforms to write stories about female bonding and friendship. This is in sharp contrast to filmmakers and TV show makers who have taken up the concept of ‘bromance’.

“You do realise that you live in a patriarchal society which is pretty inclined towards one sex, which shows in our content. I know it’s sad but thankfully, times have changed with platforms like Amazon, who give you the blank space and tell you to make stories you want to tell,” she says, adding, “In fact, if you were to make this into a movie, there would have been censorship, moral brigade and so many people you would have to fight against. 

But with OTT, you can create a world, characters, and stories with absolute freedom that you truly believe in. Maybe you had to wait long for this platform to come about, but it was good to wait.”

CONVERSATION AROUND FEMINISM
When the first season had released, many had called Four More Shots Please! a feminist series, which she says, ‘is true’. “I love the fact that you are calling it a feminist series because if there’s one thing that feminism celebrates, it’s equality. Whether it’s men or women or any other gender, we all want an equal world. I think all the four girls on the show have an equal voice amongst the men in their life. The fact that they can live that life and make it their own is a tribute to the kind of show it is,” she says.

But isn’t feminism a misunderstood term, especially in Indian society? 

Rangita, who has created many television series, says that at least people are talking about it.

“Understood or misunderstood differs from person to person. But the point is that finally, the conversation is happening, not just in India but everywhere in the world. The fact is that we were never part of the conversation and were always sidelined. We are talking about feminism, which is a fabulous thing today,” she shares.

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