Review: The Night Manager (India) Part 1

Bollywood gives some blockbuster hits every year, but it is OTT shows that have been pushing the boundaries of storytelling in India for the last few years.

Naturally, the Night Manager excited me, amongst many others. A cast with top actors gave me hope, because it meant the show had a huge budget, and perhaps some of it went to the director, the writers, cinematographers, and others who adapted the novel by John le Carré.

But my tryst with the Night Manager started way back in 2016. It was a 6-episode mini-series staring my childhood favorites Loki and Dr. House.

The show had what many others lacked. Class, subtlety, breathtaking cinematography, no cheap thrills and an aura of intrigue. And you don’t have to take my word for it; 26 award-wins say so.

The Indian counterpart of the show starts in a 2017 Dhaka, amidst the Rohingya genocide crisis. An underage guest asks the Night Manager (Aditya Roy Kapur) at the hotel for help. Help to escape an abusive marriage. Trying to preserve his work ethic, the manager refuses at first before giving in. What seems like a noble act gets him involved in a world of dirty arms-dealers (Anil Kapoor) whitewashed as philanthropic businessmen.

The Indian series lacked a little bit of the suaveness of English one, but I would still see it setting a new benchmark in desi OTT content. Shobhita Dhulipala (and Aditya Roy Kapur to some extent) seemed to occupy the screen more for glamor, the show is held Tillotama Shome’s hunger and resilience, Anil Kapoor’s charm and Saswata Chatterjee’s fear inducing aura.

All in all, I wouldn’t miss this show. And I’m eagerly waiting for Part 2 to drop in June this year.

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