The Fabulous Bollywood Wives Talk Energy Facelifts, Kim Kardashian, and More

I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm Obsessed (yes, with a capital "O") with Netflix's The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. While we're used to the concept of reality TV in America, it's not every day that you get an inside glimpse of Bollywood's inner circle. India's closest comparison would be director Karan Johar's talk show Koffee With Karan, where he brings on celebrities and asks them burning questions. So, it's no wonder that Karan himself saw an opportunity and decided to create something similar to the likes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. And perhaps it's that same elusiveness of Bollywood stars that made people even more interested in watching the show.

The eight-part Netflix series centers around the lives of Maheep Kapoor (wife of Sanjay Kapoor), Neelam Kothari Soni (wife of Samir Soni), Seema Khan (wife of Sohail Khan), and Bhavana Pandey (wife of Chunky Panday). The group have been friends for over 25 years, and the show follows them as they juggle their families, careers, and friendships — you know, like most reality TV shows. Right off the bat, I was intrigued with the opening song because it gave me major Real Housewives vibes; I was waiting for each one of them to recite their tag lines. Watching the show also really made me miss Bombay, but every time they said "bro" and "looking fab," I felt like I was right there hanging out with my friends instead of sitting in my house in the States. (Yes, those are very Bombay terms for those who were wondering.)

However, a lot of people felt that the show's name was misleading because it didn't include "A-lister" Bollywood wives like Shah Rukh Khan's wife Gauri, Amir Khan's wife Kiran Rao, or Abhishek Bachchan's wife Aishwarya Rai, who also happens to be a major actress. Still, I thought the cast was thoroughly entertaining because the four women have a history — it made the show feel a little more authentic. Plus, it wasn't like there was a shortage of celebrity cameos on the show. Both Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan made appearances in the last episode, and it was so fascinating to see them all interact and relive old memories. Other stars like Arjun Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Malaika Arora, and Jacqueline Fernandez also came on the show! It truly showed viewers how interconnected Bollywood really is.

I also appreciated that they brought up the topic of nepotism because it runs strong in Bollywood. Maheep explained it in a matter-of-fact way when she said that if her daughter has the opportunity to enter the film industry because of her family ties, why shouldn't she take it? Her husband also commented, saying that if nepotism were strong, he would have a million roles by now, instead of his career taking a backseat after the '90s. They both have points, however, a lot does need to change within the industry. But that's a conversation for another day.

"We're all so close that I am always correcting and protecting them."

Maheep seems to be the show's main character, connecting the friend group and serving as their overprotective mama bear. We watch her focus on getting her daughter Shanaya's acting career off the ground. "As soon as I conceived my children, I was like that with them. I was obsessed," she told me. "I got married to have children, so let me make that very clear. This is me — I'm an obsessive mother. I think that comes out with my friends like Seema also. We're all so close that I am always correcting and protecting them. It just comes naturally to me, it's an instinct that I have to protect the people that I love."

Seema is the chill best friend—who isn't afraid to admit that she constantly DMs Kim Kardashian—and is refocusing her attention on her namesake Indian clothing line. Obviously, I had to ask the question on everyone's mind: Has Kim responded to one of her DMs yet? "Unfortunately not, I'm still waiting for a reply," she said. "I'm checking, but it's not happening. Kim, if you're reading this, please reply to my DMs!"

We also watch as Neelam, the prim and proper one of the group, preps for her Bollywood comeback. Neelam was a successful actress back in the '80s. She even had an iconic TV show called The Neelam Show. When asked if she would revive her hit show, she revealed that she would consider it, depending on the format. Another thing everyone seemed to be intrigued with was Neelam's accent. I wasn't that confused by it, as I've moved multiple times in my life and growing up between places like Dubai, Bombay, and New Jersey has made my accent a little bit of a mish-mash, too; my husband makes fun of me because I say the phrase "I can't" in a British accent. Like Neelam, I also went to a British school for a few years as a kid. "I just have to say one thing: people should do a little bit of homework," Neelam told me. "I was born and brought up in Hong Kong and Bangkok, where I went to British schools, so that's why the mixture and the khichdi (an Indian rice and lentils dish). I mean, listen, it is what it is. This is my accent."

"I thought maybe only my age group would watch the show and relate to it, but the beauty of it."

As for Bhavana, she's the calm, spiritual one of the group, and the series follows her journey into the fashion industry as she preps for the opening of her store LoveGen. She also acts as a momager to her daughter Ananya, who is a Bollywood actress. "Ananya told me, 'Mom, everyone in my age group, even boys, have really, really liked the show,' which was quite surprising. I thought maybe only my age group would watch the show and relate to it, but that's the beauty of it." One quirky aspect of the show that stuck with me and felt like the Real Housewives was Bhavana's love of energy facelifts. The procedure is done by a transformational healer or a life coach who transfers energy from the Earth to the face. It apparently reverses the signs of aging, and of course, I had to ask her if she genuinely believes this. "I feel like it definitely helps with an external glow, but what it really works is the inside of you," she exaplined. "Unless you are happy from the inside, it's never going to show on your face. You may do 100 things on your face, but unless there are peace and happiness inside, it will never show. In some ways, energy healing and facials not only work on the external, but also the internal. I believe in it completely, and I feel something that makes me feel good always makes me look better."

Keep reading to see the rest of my Q&A with the cast.

What Were Your Thoughts When the Show First Came to You?

What Were Your Thoughts When the Show First Came to You?

Maheep: "When the show came to us, I was petrified. I thought it was a joke. I wasn't taking it seriously. Karan [Johar] just said, 'Listen, I'm going to do this show.' Then, Gauri [Khan] called me up ten days later and said, 'He's very serious about it. He's going to make this happen.' I was petrified, and I thought to myself, "Am I ready for this?" More than what people would say, I was scared that they would make fun of me. What is this reality show going to be like? My final thought was if my children were not on board, there was no way that I was going to do it, but they were so excited. Now that I have done it, I feel liberated. It's almost a sense of growing up because it doesn't matter what people say."

Seema: "[The show] kind of just fell into our laps. It wasn't a talked-out process or plan. When it started becoming a reality, I felt disbelief that this was actually happening. It was very daunting at first because I've never been in front of a camera or done anything like this in my life. The more I thought about it, the more I brought it up. I wanted my kids to be okay with it, especially my son Nirvaan since it would directly affect my kids. Nirvaan said to me, 'Listen, nobody gets an opportunity like this, and you don't say no to Dharmatic and Netflix.' And, I thought to myself, 'If nothing else, I'll have a story to tell.' I actually did it just for fun, it wasn't really work because these are my best friends. Now that it's released, I feel like it was the right decision because we've had some great laughs."

Bhavana: "When this show came to us, I was very confused and apprehensive. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it and put myself out there, but I discussed it with my family, and they were all very encouraging and positive about it. They said I should definitely do something like this, especially since I would be doing it with my closest friends."

Neelam: "When the show came to me, I was extremely apprehensive of doing it because of my reservations of facing the camera again. I had basically chickened out of it just before the shoot. Now that it's out and we've gotten so much love, I would have been a complete fool not to do it. I'm so glad that it actually happened, and I eventually said yes."

If You Could Choose Another Friend to Add to the Cast, Who Would it Be?

If You Could Choose Another Friend to Add to the Cast, Who Would it Be?

Maheep: "Without a doubt, Gauri because she's been a friend for like 25 years. It works when there's so much comfort between us, and that's why the show works. We've got this understanding. We can make fun of each other or have fights, and it's not taken seriously because there's so much history. It's like fighting with your mom."

Seema: "It would be Malaika [Aurora]. I think she's got a great dynamic with all four of us, especially with me. I've been close to her for so many years. Arhaan [Malaika's son] and Nirvaan are brothers. We've got history. We are a family. When we are together, we're a riot."

Bhavana: "I think it would be Gauri [Khan]. She's a close friend, and we've all been friends for the last 25 years. She, of course, made a cameo appearance in season one, but I would love to have more of her because she also knows each one of us inside out."

Neelam: "I really wouldn't choose anyone else, but these three."

Have You Seen The Real Housewives Franchise or Keeping Up With the Kardashians?

Have You Seen The Real Housewives Franchise or Keeping Up With the Kardashians?

Maheep: "I've seen a few episodes from different Real Housewives franchises [as] a reference point to try and understand what was expected of me. I've seen a lot more of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I find them very entertaining. I'm not so obsessive like Seema, but I was watching it like it was homework."

Seema: "How can you ask me this question about Keeping Up With the Kardashians? Isn't it pretty clear that I'm a fan? Yes, I have watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and I am obsessed with them. I haven't really followed The Real Housewives. I've seen a bit here and there, but I definitely am keeping up with the Kardashians."

Bhavana: "I've watched a little bit of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but I'm not as big a fan of theirs. I used to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and I've watched a couple of seasons quite some time back, but I haven't really watched much after that."

Neelam: "I have not watched The Real Housewives, but I have watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

What Do You Have to Say to People Who Think The Show Is Scripted?

What Do You Have to Say to People Who Think The Show Is Scripted?

Maheep: "I need the Oscar because I am not an actress. I was fortunate enough to have the experience of shooting half a movie when I was young, but with youth comes a sense of arrogance and overconfidence. Now, looking back at my life, I feel relief because I was a terrible actress. I could not have pulled off this show if I was given a script. There's no way, I would have just fallen flat. Let me do things at my tempo. Let me just speak and do what I want. A reality show suits me the most. Trust me, it's not scripted."

Seema: "Give me an Oscar. If you think this show is scripted, then I deserve an Oscar. I should be walking the red carpet, considering that I have never faced a camera in my life or had any form of training. The only reason I did it is [because] it's not scripted. That was the criteria for me to show up on day one. If they said 'action' or 'cut,' I would be out the door."

Bhavana: "It's not scripted. We were definitely given situations like you're going out to lunch or dinner, but what spoke at those [events] was never ever given to us. If you guys think it's scripted, then all I have to say is I think I'm the most talented actor to be able to say my lines and act like this."

Neelam: "There's a very thin line between people thinking it's scripted and real. As for our show, it's not scripted. But honestly, I don't blame them. If I were to watch a reality show, I, myself, would be rather confused if it's scripted or if it's actually real."