Four More Shots Please 3 rides more on characters than plot

Kirit Kulhari, Bani J., Sayani Gupta and Maanvi Gagroo in Four More Shots Please 3. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

A sequel is always made when a previous film or series becomes a hit. And to qualify as being on the right side of average, should ideally be better than the prequel was. Usually, the sequel is more ambitious in the financial sense, but bigger is not a good option when the content isn’t better.

Four More Shots Please 2 was a massive improvement in every way to the first season, and Nupur Asthana’s direction was immaculate. The character graph was beautifully developed along with a plotline that was generally delightful, considering the fact that the four female protagonists were flawed women who, so to speak, jumped in and out of men—and in case, women. The end was tangy too, if a bit stretched.

Season 3 seems to wallow only on the same flaws, with Mangs (Bani J.), a physical fitness trainer, Anjali or Anj Menon (Kirti Kulhari), a lawyer and a divorcee with multiple pasts (!) who is also now a single mother, Riddhi Patel (Maanvi Gagroo), a rather spoilt or pampered kind of a brat from a filthy-rich business family, and Damini (Sayani Gupta), an investigative journalist all continuing their friendship. The dosti has withheld umpteen storms, is generally unconditional and also has most of its collective activities centered around evenings in a bar where Jeh (Prateik Babbar) is an essential part of the camaraderie.

This time, the plot(s) is (are) wafer-thin, and by episode 6 or so, become totally predictable. But for an escapade to Italy, where the makers seem to think that exotic locations will compensate for the rather formulaic happenings, we now can almost predict when a new or old flame will appear and reappear in the story to ignite or revive passions, which are usually kissing or lovemaking as if the world was ending the following day. Obviously, a very liberal use of the “F” word is also used, generally for situations not connected in any way with the bedroom.

Riddhi, having lost her father, is now close to her mother, Sneha (Simone Singh), but does not approve of what she feels is her ‘moving on’ to seal a bond with widower Rajan (Sushant Singh). She generally acts as a bossy and temperamental brat even with her friends and old flame and childhood buddy Mihir (Rajeev Siddhartha).

Damini, having failed as an author, with mediocre success as a scribe, latches on to debonair young Dhananjay (Rohan Vinod Mehra), scion of a political family, as his brand ambassador and succeeds, but fails miserably in her relationship with Jeh. She even goes to bed with Dhananjay but cannot consummate her ‘relationship’ with Jeh because of a past trauma unconnected with him.

Anj is confused both at home and in office, with ex-husband Varun (Neil Bhoopalam) and ex-flame Shashank (Sameer Kochhar) being the purported reasons for this, alongside daughter Arya (Jiya Lakhiani). As for Mangs, the Sikhni who flaunts her Punjabi origins and physical fitness, she is anything but mentally fit. Sexually preferring her own sex, but for a passing fling with Sean (Jim Sarbh), she dumps her latest, Meher (Shilpa Shukla) and cannot go back to her old flame, the star Samara Kapoor (Lisa Ray).

There! You got it? The graph as well as the series stagnates. So what pulls FMSP 3 out of the abyss of triteness? Simply the same aspect: the fragile lead characters. By now, we are so familiar with all of them that they all seem to be well-known to us, as if we are looking at flawed people we know personally, who we can foretell will keep landing in soups.

The lead actresses and old (as in previous seasons) supporting cast all get deeper into the skin of their reel personae, and I would single out Maanvi Gagroo, Bani J., Prateik and Simone Singh as the finest of the lot. Neil Bhoopalam is deliberately given greater over-the-top shades and does them well, while Sayani Gupta and Kirti Kulhari too are impeccable. Rohan Vinod Mehra gets my vote as the best of the new entrants in this season, followed closely by Shilpa Shukla and Jim Sarbh in no particular order. And a distinction is deserved by Sushant Singh, the man who usually plays dark or negative roles. In a sober, positive avatar, he is perfectly poised and delivers a fantastic performance, showing that his versatility needs to be tapped very seriously by the industry.

At that level, the writing is decent and the director needs to be complimented.  The lyrics in English are perfect though there are too many songs. And the cinematography (Sanket Shah) is heavenly, from Mumbai to Italy.

The series is a one-time watch merely because we are visiting reel friends. If only it had more pith, meat, juice…nasha. We feel there are only two shots out of four this time!

Rating: *** 

Amazon Prime Video presents Pritish Nandy Communications’ Four More Shots Please Season 3 Produced by: Pritish Nandy & Rangita Pritish Nandy Created by: Rangita Pritish Nandy  Directed by: Joyeeta Patpatia  Written by: Devika Bhagat & Ishita Moitra  Music: Bay Music House  Starring: Sayani Gupta, Bani J, Kirti Kulhari, Maanvi Gagroo, Lisa Ray, Jiya Lakhiani, Neil Bhoopalam, Prateik Babbar, Simone Singh, Amrita Puri, Rajeev Siddhartha, Sameer Kochhar, Jim Sarbh, Sushant Singh, Rohan Vinod Mehra, Shilpa Shukla, Akshay Bindra & others





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