Moving in with Malaika has very little to do with Malaika Arora. While reality TV is rarely real and drama is its essence, the Disney+Hotstar show starring Malaika is clearly struggling to strike a balance between drama and reality, with neither making an impact over the nine episodes that have dropped till now.
The non-stop advertisements
Given the overwhelming amount of product placements, Moving in with Malaika seems more of an advertisement channel than a reality show. Be it a home equipment brand or a cosmetic and skincare label, there are random shots of the products or entire montages on them. And even the guests on the show take part in promoting the products.
In Episode 8, titled ‘You are Beautiful’, comedian Bharti Singh, who is the special guest, asks Malaika if she can have the dry fruits kept on the table. This results in a longer than necessary shot of a dry fruits product. It feels like you are moving in with the products rather than with Malaika.
A shaky premise
While the format remains the same as any other reality TV show, the way it is presented gives the show an artificial look and feel. It’s not really about getting up close with Malaika in her home; it’s about some of Malaika’s closest friends dropping by, sitting on the couch with her and chatting about their history with each other, with some drama sprinkled in every alternate episode. In Episode 5, aptly titled ‘KJo on My Couch!’, Malaika tries to grill Karan, who turns the tables on her — like in a Koffee With Karan session — and asks her questions like “Currently, who is in your thirst trap?”
Reality shows and an overload of drama always go hand in hand. But Moving in with Malaika is not like The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, where there’s high drama leading to a rift between the four celebrity wives. Yet, it’s relatable since friends fight with each other and then feel terrible about it.
Moving in with Malaika does not have these moments, and the tiffs between Malaika and her friends just don’t ring true. Take Episodes 6 and 7, for instance. Bollywood dancer Nora Fatehi drops in and choreographer Terence Lewis wants to put Malaika and Nora together for a dance reel. The scene plays out with Nora getting upset over the constant comparisons between her and Malaika and walks off, leading us to believe that there is a rift between the two women. Soon we discover, it was all a joke.
These two episodes have Malaika and Nora discuss how the media pits them against each other, only to end with them dancing as if there’s a competition between the two. The show does the exact opposite of what it intends to do.
Back to Malaika’s roots
Only Episode 8 comes close to what the show’s title promised — getting to know the real Malaika a little. The episode starts with Malaika and her close friend Bharti Singh talking about the sexism that women face. While Bharti breaks down over the fat shaming she has had to face since her childhood as well as the online trolling, Malaika shares an idea for a campaign on body positivity (which turns out to be an opportunity for another product placement).
But the episode succeeds in showing a rare side of Malaika – a middle-class girl from Bandra making her way in the industry and standing up for herself and other women. Malaika is also vocal about the constant comments she has had to face over her divorce and her love life.