To some of you, the Amazon web series Four More Shots, Please might be old news. (After all, it did premiere in January) But as someone who is constantly on the hunt for new lesbian, bi and queer material, this week was the first I’d heard of the Mumbai-based series, which is also Amazon’s first produced project with an Indian female-led ensemble. When I did some digging around after I watched the series, I found that there hasn’t been much US coverage of the show.
So what’s Four More Shots, Please all about? The series explores the lives of four young Indian women living in Mumbai that have formed a deep friendship. The quartet hang out at a bar . Damini (a journalist), Anjana (a lawyer and the only mom of the group), Sidhi (the youngest of the group who has an overprotective and marriage-obsessed mother) and of course, Umang (an out bisexual personal trainer).
Umang’s story (played by actress and model Gurbani Judge) is what naturally pulled me in to the series, but it was the appearance of actress Lisa Ray (I Can’t Think Straight, The World Unseen) that sold it for me. Ray plays Samara Kapoor, a huge Bollywood star who hires Umang to train her for an upcoming role as an MMA fighter. Samara is all too aware of the fickle movie industry and worries this role might be one of her last if she doesn’t show she’s still in fighting shape, so to speak. It doesn’t take long for Umang and Samara to hit it off (Umang has always had a crush on the actress) and an age-gap romance unfolds. Unfortunately for Umang, Samara is deeply in the closet and would prefer to keep their relationship under wraps.
For Umang, that feeling cuts deep and echoes back to her previous love, Pinky, who is now married to her brother. When Pinky and Umang’s mother arrive to celebrate Diwali, Pinky reveals that she’s unhappy in her relationship with Umang’s brother and still has feelings for her. It’s a lot to process for Umang, who is falling hard for Samara. When someone publicly outs Samara and Umang’s relationship, Umang finds herself fighting for acceptance all over again.
Four More Shots, Please pays serious homage to Sex in the City, even using a device similar to Carrie’s fourth-wall breaking narration. It’s four women, trying to live their best lives in the big city. It feels familiar and new all at the same time. It’s funny and touching. Umang’s friends support her sexuality, and while there are still conservative voices at play in Umang’s world, (India’s high court only just decriminalized homosexuality last year) she’s who she is – an out and proud, tattooed queer woman. She even stands up to her conservative family in a huge way near the end of the season. One thing that I hope changes when the show heads into season two, is that Umang’s story gets as much screen-time as the other three women. I didn’t clock it, but watching the series in full, it definitely feels like Umang gets the short end of the stick when it comes to screen time and development. For now, I’m raising a shot of tequila, hoping next season brings us more Umang.