The new Netflix series Bhaag Beanie Bhaag was set to meet high expectations from the start – right from the impressive cast to the inevitable comparisons to the Emmy-winning The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.
While the jokes fall flat and any comparison between the Emmy-winner and this show stop very early on, the show often highlights real conflicts of the modern woman on the run – be it away from a life mapped out for her, or towards her dreams.
Bindiya “Beanie” Bhatnagar (Swara Bhaskar), the protagonist, is a woman in her late 20s, having lived her life on a conveyor belt of what was expected of her, in quiet contentment. While she recalls having dreamt of being an entertainer and making people laugh from a very young age, she spends her young adulthood doing what is “normal” – getting an MBA degree, landing a corporate job, and dating a suitable boy. She dabbles in stand-up comedy every now and then, but insists she isn’t a “comic comic”. It’s just a hobby.
While she seems content, there is a clear hint of regret and resentment in her as she lays out her narrative to the audience – “Jab family samosa vale ho, toh salsa ke sapne nahi dekhne chahiye,” she justifies.
The resentment and regret finally boil to the surface when her boyfriend, Arun, proposes to her. Visions of domesticity, wifely duties, and motherhood, haunt Beanie. When Arun shows her the four bedroom (one of which can be turned into a nursery, as his mother points out) house he’s purchased for them, she sees the visions of a future she doesn’t want solidifying into reality, and as the title of the show suggests – she runs.
While Beanie is running away from her fears, she is also running towards her dream – that of finally becoming a professional “comic comic”. She runs away from her engagement party, and in the same night also quits the job she hates, and heads straight to the stage of a comedy club.
As she embarks on a journey to turning her life-long passion into a career, here are a few takeaways from Beanie’s journey of what we should and shouldn’t do when chasing our dreams.
Dabble in your passions – invest time and effort, no matter how small, into them
Even when Beanie gives up on her dream of becoming a comic to pursue a “respectable” job, she never gives up on comedy. She continues to perform at open mics whenever she can. Even when treating it as just a hobby, she is constantly in touch with this passion. By going up on stage again and again through the years, she inevitably becomes a good enough comic to get noticed by the important people in the business.
If you have a dream or a long-harboured passion, but are insecure about turning it into a career and don’t have the courage to commit to it, keep investing some time and effort in it, no matter how small.
Stay connected with what interests you. Develop your skills in the area. Get an objective understanding of whether you’re good at your “dream”, whether you need to hone your skills to turn the dream into a reality, and if it is something you’ll continue to be passionate about if you undertook a full-time career in it.
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Keep your support circle close – but don’t let others’ judgements or opinions threaten your goals
After breaking her engagement, quitting her job, and attempting to begin a full-time career in stand-up comedy, Beanie finds support in the form of her best friend, a fellow stand-up comic, and – in an unconventional turn for an Indian show – her mother. Beanie’s mother assures her that she just wants her to be happy, and does everything in her power to pacify her less understanding father.
However, even her mother draws the line when she watches Beanie joke about sex in one of her open mics. Her parents subsequently let her know that she isn’t welcome at home.
Pursuing a dream isn’t always a dream. The work it takes to pursue your dreams can be as hard as the results are uncertain.
It’s important to have a support circle to build you up through this uncertain period. Additionally, don’t let other people’s judgements and scepticism become your insecurity.
Have a plan – but don’t be afraid to sometimes fall off it
Once Beanie commits to a career in stand-up comedy, she gives herself a time frame of 3 months within which to understand her strengths, weaknesses, develop her skills, and make money through her dream.
Her self-SWOT analysis includes lists, multiple post-its, constant experimentation with her jokes, handing out feedback forms in comedy clubs after her performance, and refusing to take her eyes off her goal for even a minute.
While setting an organised plan for yourself – with clear deadlines, objective self-analysis, and small tasks to progressively get through – it is necessary to also set healthy boundaries.
Even when it feels like everything depends on you being able to achieve your goals or prove yourself, don’t burn yourself out in the process of getting there. You also risk sucking the happiness out of what was once your passion if you don’t let yourself breathe every once in a while.
When Beanie is losing herself in inspecting feedback and following her plan with a tunnel vision, a friend forces her to take a break and let loose. She spends a few hours not thinking about her plan, playing cricket on the beach, and comes out of the day happier, and filled with more creativity.
Take a break. Don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you fall off the plan momentarily or progress towards your goals at a slower pace.
Remember, at the end of the day, chasing your dreams essentially means chasing happiness. In prioritising achieving your dreams, don’t risk it no longer being your dream once you achieve it.
Know when to run and when to stay put
Beanie runs away from her engagement party and from a future she cannot deal with. When she bombs at an open mic, she runs away from the stage. The titular “Bhaag Beanie Bhaag” often fills up the screen right as she’s walking away from something she knows won’t be good for her.
However, when it truly matters, she stays put. She gets back up on a different stage despite bombing on the previous one. When she cannot use a set she’s prepared for a paid gig at a wedding, you expect Beanie to bhaago, but instead she walks up to the stage and gives spontaneity a try.
Sometimes, you need to channel your “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” to cross the finish line. Sometimes you need to channel a “Run Forrest, run” to put some distance between you and what isn’t good for you.
And sometimes, you need to channel a ‘Bhaag Beanie Bhaag”, where you run towards your goals, and away from what isn’t good for you, without running away from the fear of failure. You fail, fall, and get back up. The pace may seem more like a slow stroll than a chase, but you will be living your dream by the end of it. And what’s even better? It’ll be just as great as you imagined it would be.
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