Bombay Begums

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Bombay Begums
Written byAlankrita Shrivastava
Bornila Chatterjee
Iti Agarwal
Directed byAlankrita Shrivastava
Bornila Chatterjee
Narrated byAadhya Anand
Theme music composerSunny Dutta
ComposerAnand Bhasker
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6[1]
Executive producerAlankrita Shrivastava
CinematographyAkshay Singh
EditorsCharu Shree Roy
Omkar Uttam Sakpal
Production companiesEndemol Shine India
Chernin Entertainment
Original release
Release8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)

Bombay Begums is an Indian drama television series for Netflix created by Alankrita Shrivastava, who also co-wrote the script along with Bornila Chatterjee and Iti Agarwal. The series was directed by Shrivastava and Chatterjee, and produced by the Los Angeles-based Chernin Entertainment and Endemol Shine Group. The cast features Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash and Plabita Borthakur in the lead roles, and was narrated by Aadhya Anand. The series marks the comeback of actress Pooja Bhatt.[2] It explores the lives of five ambitious women from various walks of life navigating through their dreams, desires and disappointments, from boardrooms to society's margins, in modern-day Mumbai.[3] It was released on Netflix on 8 March 2021.[4]


Set in contemporary urban India, five women, across generations, wrestle with desire, ethics, personal crises and vulnerabilities to own their ambition.[5] Rani is the CEO of a bank who takes great effort in hiding the bank's problems. Fatima, who works under Rani, does everything possible to please her husband. Lily, who lives in a chawl, has previously been a bar dancer and is now scamming her way to a better life for herself and her son. Ayesha is bisexual and is from a small town (Indore) and is new to the city of Mumbai.[4] The series explores drug abuse, blackmail, broken dreams, and aspirations of these characters.[citation needed]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Women Who Run With The Wolves"Alankrita ShrivastavaAlankrita Shrivastava8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)
Newly appointed bank CEO Rani tries to thwart a potential scandal. A promotion offer has Fatima torn. Ayesha attempts to forge ahead after a mistake.
2"Love"Alankrita ShrivastavaIti Agarwal, Alankrita Shrivastava8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)
Helping Lily towards her goals, Ayesha mulls over her own unspoken desires. Rani and Fatima clash over business while navigating their deeper demons.
3"The Colour Purple"Bornila ChatterjeeBornila Chatterjee, Alankrita Shrivastava8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)
New layers of Rani’s complicated marriage are revealed. Fatima juggles tough personal and professional decisions. Ayesha’s home hunting takes a detour.
4"The Bell Jar"Bornila ChatterjeeBornila Chatterjee, Alankrita Shrivastava8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)
After an unwanted advance, Ayesha is conflicted about next steps. A leaked video puts Rani in a crisis. An enemy blocks Lily from starting her factory.
5"The Golden Notebook"Bornila ChatterjeeIti Agarwal, Alankrita Shrivastava8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)
Ayesha speaks her truth, but is met with troubling reactions. A stifled Fatima continues to seek solace. Another setback disrupts Lily’s brief respite.
6"A Room Of One's Own"Alankrita ShrivastavaAlankrita Shrivastava8 March 2021 (2021-03-08)
Betrayals, confessions and shattered illusions propel Rani, Ayesha, Fatima, Lily and Shai to take the reins on their lives and make some big decisions.



Alankrita Shrivastava recalled in an interview that she had watched the 1991 film Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin directed by Mahesh Bhatt, which saw his daughter Pooja Bhatt's acting into fruition, at least 21 times.[6] She insisted to make a new project with Bhatt in the leading role. Titled Bombay Begums, Bhatt initially disagreed to accept the script although she liked the synopsis narrated by Shrivastava, but later changed her decision and gave her nod to the script. The series marked Pooja Bhatt's comeback in acting career after she made a cameo appearance in Sadak 2 (2020).[7]


The inspiration for Bombay Begums originated in 2012, when Shrivastava found herself wondering about the double lives of urban Indian women who join the corporate workforce and excel at their jobs but still have to confront gendered expectations back at home, citing the examples of her past life. She initially conceived of Bombay Begums as a television show and started writing the script, but she could not find the right producers for the series. After the release of Lipstick Under My Burkha in 2017, the Los Angeles-based Chernin Entertainment expressed interest in Bombay Begums and Netflix came on board soon after. Like her previous outings Lipstick Under My Burkha and Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Bombay Begums revolves around women who are in a state of transition – personal and professional – examining the illusion of freedom afforded to them in modern India.[8]


Shrivastava started the creation of the series while working on the Prime original Made in Heaven. She and her co-team members Iti Agarwal and Bornila Chatterjee worked on the writing and direction of Bombay Begums. The principal shooting of the series took place in late 2019 and was completed in March 2020, weeks prior to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India.[2] The team undertook post-production activities in July 2020 and it was completed within two months.[2][9]


Bombay Begums
Soundtrack album by
Anand Bhasker, Chetan Dominic Awasthi and Tarana Marwah
Released14 March 2021
  • Anand Bhasker
  • Tarana Marwah
  • Gaurav Raina
  • Chetan Dominic Awasthi

The soundtrack album of Bombay Begums featured seven songs composed by Tarana Marwah, one song by Chetan Dominic Awasthi and four songs by Anand Bhaskar.[citation needed] Gaurav Raina of the electronic group MIDIval Punditz mixed and mastered the soundtrack and also performed the theme music of the series.[10] Raina also composed and written the song along with Tarana Marwah, who worked in the Amazon Prime Video series Made In Heaven.[11] The album was released through YouTube on 14 March 2021.[12]

Track listing
1."Begum's Theme"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah, Gaurav Raina1:17
2."This Love"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah3:08
3."Watching"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah7:19
4."You Do You"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah4:16
5."Haunted"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah3:01
6."House Of Cards"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah4:28
7."Still I Feel"Tarana MarwahTarana MarwahTarana Marwah6:48
8."Favourite Sin"Chetan Dominic AwasthiChetan Dominic AwasthiChezin4:19
9."Harjaayi"Ginny DiwanAnand BhaskarMadhubanti Bagchi3:24
10."Ishq Khumaari"Ginny DiwanAnand BhaskarIsheeta Chakrvarty4:21
11."Jawaani"Shraddha SehgalAnand BhaskarShilpa Surroch4:12
12."Khel"Anand BhaskarAnand BhaskarKeka Ghoshal4:08


Even before the announcement of the Netflix original slate on 3 March 2021,[13][14] the team released the first poster of the series on 10 February 2021.[15] On 18 February 2021, the official trailer of the series was unveiled through YouTube.[16] The series was unveiled on 8 March 2021 through Netflix, which coincided the occasion of International Women's Day.[2]


Critical response[edit]

The series opened to mixed to positive responses from critics. Sayan Ghosh of The Hindu stated "Director Alankrita Shrivastava’s ability to navigate through various layers of suppressed anger and the emotional volatility of her characters make for a most engaging watch".[17] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express stated "The most powerful element in Alankrita Srivastava’s films is the recognition of women’s desire, and how its absence can create permanent hollowness."[18] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave three-and-a-half out of five to the series and reviewed "Bombay Begums, created by Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burkha), who shares screenwriting and directorial responsibilities with Bornila Chatterjee (The Hungry), strikes an instant chord because it strings together relatable, rooted stories."[19]

Saraswati Datar of The News Minute gave a review "Bombay Begums is an entertaining watch, but don’t expect to feel moved or empowered after watching it."[20] Rohan Naahar of Hindustan Times stated "Terrific performances by Pooja Bhatt, Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur, Shahana Goswami and Manish Chaudhary smooth out the creases."[4] Swetha Ramakrishnan of Firstpost gave three-and-a-half out of five, reviewing, "With crisp episodes (even though clocking in at 50 minutes each), the series is fairly easy to sit through despite its imperfections."[21] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV wrote: Netflix Series Rides On Top-Notch Performances, Not Least By Pooja Bhatt.[22]

Government censorship[edit]

India's National Commission for Protection of Child Rights sent notice to Netflix to stop streaming the series in March 2021. The notice quoted complaints from two Twitter users over content portraying the drug use of minors and themes of sexuality, saying it would "not only pollute the young minds of the children, and may also result in the abuse and the exploitation of children". The commission called on Netflix to "take extra precaution while streaming any content in respect of the children or for the children and shall also refrain themselves from getting into such things".[23][24]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2021 Asian Academy Creative Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Amruta Subhash Won [25]

See also[edit]

  • Cuties, 2020 film with a similar controversy


  1. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Udita (3 March 2021). "How 'Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin' led to Pooja Bhatt being cast in 'Bombay Begums'". Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Upadhyay, Karishma (4 March 2021). "In Pooja Bhatt's kingdom: the actor joins director Alankrita Srivastava to talk about 'Bombay Begums". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Search results". Archived from the original on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 22 July 2021. [better source needed]
  4. ^ a b c Naahar, Rohan (8 March 2021). "Bombay Begums review: Pooja Bhatt is brilliant in Alankrita Shrivastava's inelegant but empowering Netflix show". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Bombay Begums (TV Series 2021– )". IMDb. 8 March 2021. Archived from the original on 21 July 2021. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  6. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Udita (3 March 2021). "How 'Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin' led to Pooja Bhatt being cast in 'Bombay Begums'". Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  7. ^ Shekhar, Mimansa (3 March 2021). "Pooja Bhatt said no to Netflix's Bombay Begums, only to change her decision later. Here's why". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  8. ^ "How Alankrita Shrivastava, Pooja Bhatt put together their Netflix show Bombay Begums". Firstpost. 7 March 2021. Archived from the original on 7 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  9. ^ "There weren't many people I could relate to in 1990s: Bombay Begums star Pooja Bhatt". The Indian Express. 3 March 2021. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  10. ^ "After Made in Heaven, Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah turn music directors for Bombay Begums". Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah on Making the Music of 'Bombay Begums' -". My Site. 16 March 2021. Archived from the original on 16 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  12. ^ The Bombay Begums Jukebox | All Songs | Netflix India, archived from the original on 16 March 2021, retrieved 20 March 2021
  13. ^ "Netflix India 2021 slate announced: From Fabulous Lives season 2 and Kapil Sharma to Abbas-Mustan's next, see full list". Hindustan Times. 3 March 2021. Archived from the original on 27 December 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  14. ^ Grater, Tom (3 March 2021). "Netflix India Unveils Slate Of 40 Films & Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  15. ^ "First look poster of Netflix series Bombay Begums starring Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami released". Firstpost. 10 February 2021. Archived from the original on 9 February 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  16. ^ Shekhar, Mimansa (18 February 2021). "Bombay Begums trailer: Pooja Bhatt and Co. are in a battle for survival in Netflix series". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  17. ^ Ghosh, Sayan (10 March 2021). "'Bombay Begums' review: A gripping drama about the plight of women in India's urban realm". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Bombay Begums review: Flawed, real and laughing women make this Netflix series come alive". The Indian Express. 8 March 2021. Archived from the original on 11 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Bombay Begums Review: Netflix Series Rides On Top-Notch Performances, Not Least By Pooja Bhatt". Archived from the original on 14 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  20. ^ "'Bombay Begums' review: Netflix series is interesting but pontificates too much". The News Minute. 10 March 2021. Archived from the original on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Bombay Begums review: Amruta Subhash, Pooja Bhatt reign supreme in Netflix's unsubtle yet sprightly series". Firstpost. 8 March 2021. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Bombay Begums Review: Netflix Series Rides On Top-Notch Performances, Not Least By Pooja Bhatt". Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Child rights body asks Netflix to stop streaming 'Bombay Begums'". 12 March 2021. Archived from the original on 12 March 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  24. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (12 March 2021). "Indian Child Rights Body Calls on Netflix to Halt 'Bombay Begums' Series". Variety. Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  25. ^ Patrick Frater (3 December 2021). "Asian Academy Creative Awards: Full List of Winners". Variety. Archived from the original on 3 December 2021. Retrieved 5 December 2021.

External links[edit]