Sima from Mumbai is 2020’s Ma Anand Sheela. If you didn’t understand that sentence, we’d really like to know what the hell you’ve got going on in lockdown that’s kept you from the most hotly debated reality show in India this year. If you haven’t watched it yet, (why have you clicked on this story?) definitely swallow it whole it before scrolling further.
1. Andrew Schulz & Akaash Singh – Flagrant 2
Ok, this shit reached Andrew Schulz. Via his Flagrant podcast co-host comedian Akaash Singh we imagine, whose sister-in-law (Rupam) appears on the show. “Culturally, Indians are so fucking cool,” Schulz declares up top, excited by the idea of finally being able to see Indians in a way that wasn’t written specifically for white people.
“This is the most authentically Indian show that I have ever seen in English,” Singh agrees. “A lot of woke brown people are offended by this show, [but] I loved that this show explains us without me having to explain us to white people.” WTF is a “biodata”, for example. “Mindy Kaling, everything she does is ‘brown people for white people’. Aziz [Ansari]’s Master of None… we all suck its dick, [but] it’s brown people for white people,” he says in exasperation.
The duo is impressed by Ankita, think highly of Vyasar, cannot believe that Akshay’s mom keeps checking her BP, and conclude with a near-fist fight when Schulz suddenly realises he wasn’t invited to Singh’s own recent Hindu wedding.
2. EIC feat. Kusha Kapila & Kaneez Surka
The EIC gang is joined by Kaneez Surka and Kusha Kapila for an almost two-hour-long live stream about the show, a fair chunk of which is spent on Pradhyuman. While Sahil Shah cannot get over the idea that Pradhyuman had his own face on a doorknob, and Azeem Banatwalla tries to work out where he’s seen him before (corporate gig?), Sapan Verma declares that he’s already found his connect: he’s “a friend’s friend’s cousin”. Between admitting they’d watch a second season and speeding through the problematic bits of the show, they also discuss the Nadia-Vinay plot twist (!), and make a master list of their own criteria for a spouse. Everyone on this panel is either already married or has been, so there’s plenty of hot takes and TMI (“I still pee in the shower”, “My wife and I sleep on twin beds”).
3. Varun Thakur, Neville Shah & Kautuk Srivastava – The Internet Said So
In which Neville Shah keeps wanting to talk about Nadia, but Varun Thakur is not done with dissecting Aparna’s story yet (or ever). Shah is in a hurry because he’s done the research on the “truth” that emerged after the show released: did Nadia get ghosted by Vinay or not?! Watch Shah pull up an Instagram post to defend him before the trio drops unforgivable puns about ‘Guyanese’ (Guy is Anees? R U FKN SRS?), Kautuk’s hilarious assessment of Pradhyuman’s conversation skills, Shah’s meltdown about miso paneer, Thakur’s wheezing fit at the thought of hookah addicts. It sounds like three guys having a bitch session after a party, and they’re all laughing so hard you can’t help but join the damn fools.
Just as you start to ease in, they slip in a surprisingly sombre bit about how the show is a reflection of some unfortunate truths—colourism, the audacity of Indian men, and… two murdered mosquitoes.
4. Srishti Dixit & Kusha Kapila – Behensplaining
We came to this episode of Netflix India’s digital show Behensplaining for Srishti Dixit’s choreography, stayed for Kusha Kapila playing Form No. 2355. Written by Pavitra Shetty, this episode is a high-speed checklist of the show’s highlights. It’s not a review at all, of course (and can never really be), but do we even care when it’s this quick and easy? (Do not insert a ‘that’s what she said’ joke, how old are you?)
5. Daniel Fernandes – You Started It (feat. Rohini Ramnathan)
Daniel Fernandes and Rohini Ramnathan are BFFs in real life, so this one was bound to have a bunch of inside jokes. In the latest (spoiler-filled) episode of Fernandes’ weekly podcast You Started It, the two friends discuss their favourite characters (Nadia and Vyasar, obviously), the messy politics of Indian courtship, and that time Ramnathan was the Sima From Mumbai in Fernandes’ life. The conversation quickly veers off into a series of tangents—including the country’s class and caste divide, the trauma that lurks behind the aspects of match-making that we laugh at, and the problems with Indian parenting.
6. Tanmay Bhat – Reaction Video
In which comedian-turned-YouTuber (can we call him that yet?) Tanmay Bhat hard-relates with Aparna in this annotated highlights video. Bhat has a blast, laughing out loud at ‘how is very good in the bed?’, and entirely collapsing when Sima asks after Aparna’s kittens while pointing at a portrait of her dogs. It’s 18 minutes of running commentary on the first episode, which had some of the show’s best bits, complete with liquid nitrogen-infused fox-nuts and miso paneer. “I wouldn’t say it’s a great show, but I think it’s a show that you just watch,” he signs off, as if anyone needed any further convincing.