Moving in with Malaika: A series of product placements and drama do not make for a reality show
After 13 episodes, actor-model Malaika Arora’s show Moving In With Malaika is all drama and little reality.
Wednesday December 28, 2022,
4 min Read
In episode 10 of Moving In With Malaika, Vinay Bijlani, Malaika Arora’s cousin, cracks a lame joke on her. Alluding to the show, he asks her, “What’s this new movers and packers business you have started?”
Even without this lameness, you can’t help but wonder what the purpose of this reality show really is. Before I started watching it, I wondered whether it was about showing off her new gorgeous home. A couple of episodes in, it was neither home nor heart.
Netflix's The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives started the trend of giving us a larger-than-life insight into the lives of these movie stars and their families—the style, glamour, pizzazz, et al. Moving In With Malaika continues the trend but you have to wonder, how “real” is this “real” Malaika?
Nevertheless, I persevered to watch it every week, refusing to give in to my scepticism, sometimes, two episodes at a time. And after 13 episodes, I am still not convinced about the path it’s taking. It seems like a road to nowhere.
Malaika Arora has everything to make a great show. Her ballsy attitude and her choices in life go beyond what she is still known for—dancing atop a moving train for Chaiyya Chaiyya in Dil Se.
But where is all this feistiness in Moving In With Malaika? One has to strain hard to find out in between the in-your-face product placements, mock fights with friends, a stand-up act, and a cameo appearance by Malaika’s boyfriend Arjun Kapoor.
Okay, let’s give her stand-up act some credit. Coached (mentored) by comic Sumukhi Suresh, Malaika calls her stand-up comedy “extravaganza”, MILF, only to declare that it means, ‘Man, I Look Fabulous’. While the double-entendre is not lost in translation, it did not even elicit an ‘Ooh’ from me.
We know you are fabulous—fit, sexy, beautiful—but funny? Err, let’s agree to disagree. Nevertheless, it took some guts to stand before an audience of family and friends—including a sister—and take some “fabulous” potshots at them. Repercussions be damned, or let’s wait for future episodes where she and her sister Amu (Amrita Arora) are at war?
Then there’s an episode where she takes her 20-year-old son Arhaan and her nephews for an adventure that includes a super-long trek and an obstacle course where an overenthusiastic person keeps asking them, ‘How’s the josh?’. The boys are tired, but Malaika is all about, ‘What’s this yeah?’ and they fall in line. Then, to counter Arhaan’s statement in a previous episode that Amu might be his No. 1 person, she is sure now Mimi (as Malaika is called by her nephews) is his favourite instead.
When fashion designer Vikram Phadnis comes calling as part of a group of friends on game night, he drops some truth bombs.
“Be honest. You like all the noise around you. There is enough noise about you. You get out of a building, the way you walk, it’s noise. You attend a function, your outfit, there’s noise. Either you love that noise, or you are creating it yourself because you know it’s relevant.”
Malaika is unflustered. She replies, “I am not doing anything to bring anything on. I don’t do anything of that sort, I am somebody who has never tried to gain attention, and you know that. I have never done that.” It’s not sassy, but it’s enough to see through the layers of glam and get a peek of the real Thane girl, as she calls herself.
Let’s not go too much into the one where she is “pranked” by Nora Fatehi and then they come together to do a Chaiyya Chaiyya reel together. The one with comedian Bharti Singh and the initiative on body-shaming is more noteworthy, and is a ‘real’ experience in the show that forgets drama for a while.
And then, the brands! There’s a Lakme festive look, a Dyson hair curler, and Happilo dry fruits—so much advertising that it can get on your nerves.
Meanwhile, Amu is pissed off by Malaika roasting her during the stand-up act. She calls it out during a family brunch and leaves in a huff. She doesn’t want to attend Malaika’s Christmas lunch and so Malaika meets up with her best friend/former sister-in-law Seema Khan to complain, “Why are we judged for everything we do?” However, it’s heart-warming to hear how fiercely protective they are of their children.
There’s more drama. Amu is not travelling during Christmas. And Malaika’s feeling bad. Even the “spreading of Christmas cheer” seems to be a little forced with yet another brand placement.
At the end of episode 13, all we can say is, will the real Malaika Arora please stand up?
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta