Mem Bou: A Confused ‘Firangi’ Bengali’s Tryst With Her New Family
<i>Mem Bou</i>, a Bengali Sitcom, decoded. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Mem-Bou-1226241524114563/?fref=ts">Mem Bou</a>)
Mem Bou, a Bengali Sitcom, decoded. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mem Bou)

Mem Bou: A Confused ‘Firangi’ Bengali’s Tryst With Her New Family

I am a non-Bengali, surrounded by Bengali colleagues with oblique understanding of the Bengali language. I’ve tried to get my head around Bengali music, for its sheer beauty, but failed miserably with the lyrics.

I assumed I’d have a similar experience once I was done waiting for Mem Bou to buffer. But ahem...what I encountered was a surreal representation of stereotypes stocked together.

The Story, Decoded

This is Mem Bou and she is hopeful that her husband’s orthodox Bengali family will accept her.

Mem bou’s first experience at her new home. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Mem-Bou-1226241524114563/?fref=ts">Mem Bou</a>)
Mem bou’s first experience at her new home. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mem Bou)

This is a bhabi who is scandalised after she witnesses a foreign mem entering her house.

Nahin nahin! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Mem-Bou-1226241524114563/?fref=ts">Mem Bou</a>)
Nahin nahin! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mem Bou)

Her hubby/boyfriend who will OBVIOUSLY NOT have the guts to support his videshi mem.

Uh-oh! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Mem-Bou-1226241524114563/?fref=ts">Mem Bou</a>)
Uh-oh! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mem Bou)

Dadi cleansing the bad omens that the ‘firangi’ brought with her. Not surprisingly, it is Durga Puja time.

Will cleanse my heart out! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Mem-Bou-1226241524114563/?fref=ts">Mem Bou</a>)
Will cleanse my heart out! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mem Bou)

Won’t be an easy battle, my friend.

Sorry bro! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Mem-Bou-1226241524114563/?fref=ts">Mem Bou</a>)
Sorry bro! (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mem Bou)

Here are a few of things that I did NOT understand:

1. If the creative directors realllyyyy wanted to portray a fusion family wedding-drama, why didn’t they pick a real foreigner? Puffing a regular girl’s face with dollops of powder and casting a Snapchat filter on her eyes feels tasteless, no?

2. Isn’t having a fair bahu with blond hair and blue eyes the ultimate aim of every khaandaan in the country? So, why the unnecessary brouhaha?

3. We understand the country’s fascination with white skin and blue eyes (stemming from a major colonial hangover), so why regurgitate something that we practice so frequently? At least reverse genders? How about a gora ladka and desi ladki, the drama would perhaps be more fun, right?

4. Foreigners can also mean Africans, Latinos, Mongolians, and East Asians, why only fixate on being fair and lovely?

Conclusion: Stereotypes can be understood in any language: Bengali or no Bengali, you will crack up while watching this!

Do not miss out on the second teaser, it is more epic that the previous one.

Cannot wait for the episodes to air! Not.

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