The Exchange – new web series on Netflix – The Exchange is Inspired by true events in 1980 Kuwait. It is an interesting peek into the times of war, economic melt down that affected the entire world, and more importantly into the not so well known life & culture of Kuwait of the times
These were the times when women were fashion conscious but society was patriarchal. And, here are two women, strong, smart, mathematics geniuses are fascinated by the world of stocks and finance. How they enter the male bastion and make it is the story that has been crammed into six episodes. While the story does hurry up the journey making it look too easy, there are many sensitive moments that get us involved in the story of Munira & Farida. One comes across as a rebel, unmarried, free spirited who feels every opportunity even when it comes from male ego is a chance to prove herself. Farida on the other hand is a divorcee, single mother, more calm & composed.
While Munira deals with the toxic male dominated household with father ignoring her for the brothers, and mother always putting her down -Farida has just come out of a bad marriage and divorce throws many challenges in addition to a teenage daughter who is miffed with her for having to move to a public school. For her job becomes a way to survive until she realises that her flair for numbers and intuition work well at the stock exchange where she joins Munira.
Both share a love hate relationship. The Exchange is more about how these young girls make everyone around them take notice of them beyond their clothes and how they swim through the out and out male dominated space that does not even provide a female rest room – makes for an engaging watch.
Towards the end, one does get a feeling that the screenplay could have explored the nuances and made the drama more layered – which is surely an opportunity missed in showing the empowered women of the region – an other side to them – it does feel like a good start. This is perhaps the first time we get to watch drama from Kuwait.
If you are watching the webseries in English, skip the subtitles.
That said, Mona Hussain & Rawan Mahdi excel in their lead roles, two more reasons to watch the series.