"What Women Want," an Indian multi-media talk show hosted by actress Kareena Kapoor Khan, is marketed as a platform to discuss real issues that women encounter or have faced in the past. While some episodes indeed touch on relevant topics, such as pregnancy and motherhood with Kalki Koechlin, the impact of patriarchy with Swara Bhaskar, and the struggles of actresses from past times with Sharmila Tagore, the show often falls short of delivering meaningful conversations about women's desires.
Many episodes of the show seem to prioritize celebrity promotion over addressing women's issues, and even when it does, done in quite a distasteful manner. Take, for example, an episode featuring Sara Ali Khan, supposedly about modern-day relationships. However, the conversation veered away from her dating struggles to focus on her weight loss with questions like “How has the male attention changed since you lost all that weight”, which didn't contribute to the show's intended theme but instead went in an entirely different direction, focusing on how male validity is important for a woman’s self-esteem and is strongly linked to the ideal standards of beauty.
In another episode with Kartik Aryan, the discussion about one of his notorious movie monologues based on a rant about how women make every passing second of their partner's lives living hell was reduced to a mere joke. The actor was simply asked to react to accusations of misogyny surrounding this monologue and movie, and he was unsurprisingly quite dismissive of any criticisms faced.
The show could have delved deeper into the real-life implications of such scenes or asked the actor about his stance on delivering similar dialogues in future roles. Unfortunately, the conversation drifted far away from that and lost its potential for addressing any important issues.
Similarly, an episode with Ranbir Kapoor saw him receiving praise for basic parenting tasks like changing diapers and burping his daughter. This episode reflected how men are often complimented for doing the bare minimum, and portrayed as heroes saving the world from grave injustice.
The disappointment with "What Women Want" lies in its failure to live up to its premise. While it is understood that the show may not be perfect in capturing the true essence of what women want, viewers expected rich and meaningful conversations. Instead, the show often prioritizes celebrity endorsements and fails to engage in the depth and nuance required to genuinely address women's desires and challenges.
"What Women Want" might benefit from a more thoughtful and consistent approach in its content, staying true to its intended theme. The show should strive to provide a platform where women's voices and experiences are genuinely explored and celebrated, and women from different walks of life can share their journeys. The name of the show should reflect its content, and only then can it truly claim to represent "What Women Want."