Cast: Shruti Haasan, Satyajeet Dubey, Arjan Bajwa, Mithun Chakraborty, Gauahar Khan, Sonalee Kulkarni and ensemble.
Creator: Siddharth P Malhotra and Sapna Malhotra.
Director: Mukul Abhyankar
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Runtime: 8 episodes with around 35 minutes each.
Bestseller Review: What’s It About:
An arrogant (Arjan) is on a lookout for his next story. While facing the writer’s block he comes across a lady who is full of mysteries (Shruti) and decides to write her story. Lesser does he know that life isn’t getting better but taking a turn for the worse. Close by in his wife’s office a techie (Satyajeet) is planning revenge against the writer. How the events unfold and the twists they bring is the story.
Bestseller: What Works:
Second whodunnit genre show this week but definitely a better one. Bestseller adapted from Ravi Subramaniam’s The Bestseller She Wrote, is about revenge and how it fuels and flourishes people with evil minds to do anything in order to satisfy the fire within them.
This is one of those shows where you have to sit through a lethargic first half to be rewarded with some meat in the second half. That is the biggest drawback Bestseller suffers. About that latter. Adapted for screen by Anvita Dutt and Althea Kaushal, the show gets interesting in the second half. Anvita known for her mystic writing and aesthetics introduces them much later in the script.
It is when the show goes into the flashbacks is when it actually breathes. The story has much depth and darkness to haunt someone for a while. The second half scales some of it and that does make you realise how good the show could have been if that impact was kept alive throughout.
The music in Bestseller by Raju Singh deserves the credit to be intriguing. A trivia says how a small piece is made for a scene became the theme for the show and you can see his work only getting better. Never too much, always perfect.
Bestseller: Star Performance:
Similar trajectory is with Shruti Haasan who comes in her element in the second half of the show. The actor goes through a 180 degree transformation and manages to show a range. But by the time we reach this, its too late. The opening shot has her introduced as a north Indian girl. She speaks Hindi with a forced accent that sounds more south influenced than the north. Only Mithun can see that and I can’t think of any reason why everyone else couldn’t.
Talking of Mithun Chakraborty, the actor is borderline caricature of funny-smart cops. Remember Anil Kapoor from Race franchise? Well, Mithun is a serious version of him minus the obsession with fresh fruits. But the actor does manage to bring some life to a show that is almost bland in the first half.
Arjan Bajwa plays an arrogant, unapologetic man child. His character is written in a way so you can have no empathy. The biggest mystery is not how he will face the consequences of his wrong doings, rather it is why is Gauahar Khan’s character bearing him for years.
Talking of Khan, she is the most honest actor on board in my opinion. She plays her part with precision and becomes the character she is expected to. Supported by Satyajeet Dubey who is trying to make complete sense of the messy role he has been offered. Last seen doing the amazing work in Mumbai Diaries, he deserves better.
Bestseller: What Doesn’t Work:
Not much can be changed about the blueprint of the whodunnit genre. The most commons ways are, you begin clueless and learn as you progress with the story or the difficult one where you are told the biggest twist in the beginning and the journey to it is the story. Bestseller takes the difficult route. Now full marks for doing the tough move, but now the task is to keep the fire burning.
If the audience knows the culprit, motive and everything about them in the first four episodes, then the chase sequence that only delays busting the criminals looks stretched without reason. The plot holes that could have been camouflaged with a crisp execution become more visible than ever.
Mithun Chakraborty’s ACP from CID (a flex in hierarchy I fail to understand), after a point becomes the teacher navigating you through Dora The Explorer’s map in the entertainment lecture. He starts spoon feeding you the story making the viewer look like a toddler.
Sonalee Kulkarni, a prolific Marathi actor is reduced to her surname Ranade and not given much to do except laugh at her senior’s (Mithun) joke or variations in pronouncing her surname. I suppose salary is her motivation. But Sonalee deserved way more than this.
Bestseller Review: Last Words:
Bestseller is a show that could have been a brilliant thriller/Revenge drama, but the makers were too confused to shape it into one thing.
Missed out on Madhuri Dixit’s OTT debut show? Read out The Fame Game Review here.