One split decision, accelerated by a flouncy meringue-inspired engagement dress, sends Bindiya Akankshi Bhatnagar aka Beanie into a tailspin. As 29-year-old Beanie (Swara Bhasker) says, “Life was good, until it wasn’t”.
Beanie, who spent her formative years as an obedient only child, girlfriend and employee, decides to run. She upends her life, fleeing a predictable middle-class manual of marriage, children and expectations towards the challenging world of stand-up comedy. Dubbed the “runaway bride of Mahim”, Beanie slowly begins to find the courage and material to realise her dreams.
With sulking parents and a broken engagement, it’s up to BFF Kapi (Dolly Singh) and fellow comic Ravi (Ravi Patel) to handhold her through her panic attacks. Ravi becomes both a mentor and easy rebound gig for Beanie.
Patel and Bhasker share an easy onscreen rapport in the six-part Netflix series. Bhaag Beanie Bhaag has been created by Patel and Neel Shah. Jared Miller, Laura Chinn, Nisha Kalra and Devashree Shivadekar join Patel and Shah as the writers and devote several scenes to Beanie’s self-pity and angst as she struggles with taking charge of her life.
The show is also a primer to the world of stand up, with improvisation exercises, cameos by some recognisable comedians and the culture of open mic nights.
Debbie Rao, Abi Varghese and Ishaan Nair direct the short, breezy episodes. Swara Bhasker leads from the front, supported by Varun Thakur as her jilted beau Arun and Girish Kulkarni and Mona Ambegaonkar as parents obsessed with their daughter’s future (defined by marriage and children). The performances range from appealing and fun to exaggerated.
Echoes of the hit American show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are tenable, and yet Bhaag Beanie Bhaag stands its ground. Powered by Bhasker’s orgiastic performance, the series addresses issues of parenting, unrealised dreams, the convention conundrum, and adulthood. What the characters cannot say to each other, they express through their comic monologues.
Originally titled Messy, the show delights in disarray, and does so organically.