Masaba Masaba: Fiction, real or both?

You are a fashion designer who has their own label, named after themselves. Now, you go to a regular clothing store and see your design being sold there. When you tell the shopkeeper that it is one of your creations, the shopkeeper snubs you saying that it is imported stuff, that it’s a Masaba print. And on questioning who is Masaba, pat comes the reply from the shopkeeper that it’s a country in Africa.

The above is only one of the scenes from the new Netflix original series Masaba Masaba. A semi-fictional web series based on the real-life mother-daughter pair of Indian actress and television director Neena Gupta, and Indian fashion designer Masaba Gupta.

Masaba Masaba roughly follows the timeline of Masaba Gupta’s separation from her then-husband Madhu Mantena in August 2018 to her mother Neena Gupta’s 60th birthday celebrations in the month of May 2019; and all that happened in between.

But the million-dollar question is whether it all really happened. Was Masaba Gupta really snubbed in a shop, in her face, about her own creations? The following article delves into the reality behind the fact and fiction of the show, Masaba Masaba. It may contain spoilers.

The deed behind Masaba’s divorce

A blind item is a news story, typically in a gossip column, in which the details of the matter are reported while the identities of the people involved are not revealed. And that is how the speculations really started as far as Masaba Gupta and Madhu Mantena’s separation is concerned.

In Masaba Masaba, the same has been shown where Masaba and Vinay try to keep their separation under wraps but a blind item results in them coming out with the news through a post on Masaba’s Instagram, which has since been removed. There were also rumours of infidelity on the husband’s part, but Masaba had then cleared the air through a tweet.

Neena drives her own life

Apart from Masaba, the other driving force of the show is Neena Gupta. But, did the sexagenarian actress really ever learn to drive a car at the age of 60?

The actress had once actually said that she does not drive and she neither has a licence. Which means that what we saw in Masaba Masaba was for pure entertainment value.

Therapy is therapeutic

While Geeta Chopra – Life Coach residing in ‘Jannat Bunglow’ may have been an exaggerated act, Masaba did admit going for therapy in October 2019. She opened up in her following Instagram post about needing help in the past when she was feeling really low.

Even with the ongoing discussions about mental health, especially after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the illness itself and the need for therapy are still taboo topics in our society. By injecting humour into the narrative, Masaba Masaba presented a light-hearted take on the issue.

Neena makes a comeback …

… should have been the headline. Instead, a national award-winning actress had to ask for work on social media at the age of 58 when she wanted to work again became the news. And this is where the timeline of the show deviates a bit as this incident took place on July 28, 2017.

But the sweetest thing that followed was Masaba Gupta sharing the post with a heart-warming message of her own. Masaba Masaba depicted this scene in the reel in its full real-life glory.

From a cruise crash to a social media sensation

Masaba Masaba merged together two important and unique events of Masaba Gupta’s life. From when she unveiled her first cruise collection onboard a cruise ship in November 2017 to when she went live on Instagram to showcase her Sugar Plum collection on the opening day of the 2015 Lakme Fashion Week held in March.

Never before had a designer in India gone live during her fashion show, thereby showcasing her entire collection to her fans across the globe. In the web series though, the timelines, as well as the events, have been changed.

Masaba Masaba had an absolute disaster of a fashion show onboard the cruise liner, with tantrum-throwing and puking models. In reality, all of Masaba’s shows have been a resounding success. As far as the concept for an Instagram-only fashion show goes, the online platform can be said to be an important arm of Masaba’s label House of Masaba where she constantly shares her creations and her new line of products, collaborations, etc.

Badhaai Ho (Heartiest congratulations) to Masaba Masaba

Bollywood is known to not have ‘strong’ or meatier roles for middle-aged women and that is what made Neena Gupta demand work through the Instagram post. Out of the five roles she bagged soon after that post went viral, one of them was the Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film Badhaai Ho.

Her performance in Badhaai Ho won her critical acclaim and there was no looking back for this spunky ‘aunty’ who continues gracing our screens with her path-breaking roles.

Season Two, where are you?

It’s only been two days since the first season of Masaba Masaba released and already there is a clamour for Season Two. With interesting cameos, a reel Gia (the best friend) inspired from a real one, and a hilarious take on various issues, the first season ended on a cliff-hanger – both realistically and romantically.

And yes, it really did happen! The shopkeeper of a fabric store in Lajpat Nagar Market, in Delhi, asked Masaba whether she wants to check out the new Masaba print that has recently arrived. And when she countered the shopkeeper by saying that she is Masaba, she received the answer that there is no such thing as Masaba. It is rather a country where the prints come from.

In reality, the Masaba people are a Bantu people who inhabit Eastern Uganda. Apart from that, Masaba Masaba is peppered with the racial slurs that Masaba has to face. But again, it has been made light of – keeping in mind the show’s theme.

Watch this fun video on why Neena Gupta was ‘mom goals’ in Masaba Masaba:

Also read: 10 Indian comedy web series that will tickle your funny bone

More from The Envoy Web