'Call my Agent: Bollywood': A good idea gone wrong
The main problem with this series is its predictable nature. While watching a show of its kind, an industry outsider needs to be taken by surprise from time to time. Sadly, that rarely happens
Based on the French show Dix Pour Cent and streaming on Netflix, Call My Agent: Bollywood attempts to offer an insight into the Hindi film industry. Directed by Shaad Ali and with a star cast that includes Bollywood actors in cameos, the idea is cut out for enjoyable viewing.
The story hinges on a talent management agency that finds work for actors while also keeping them happy. Its owner who has his share of secrets dies early in the series (Tinnu Anand).
One of the employees is a senior agent who cannot stay away from her pet dog for a split second (Soni Razdan). Another agent (Aahana Kumra) is an ill-tempered lesbian who is manipulative like everyone else and expects loyalty from her lover.
The third agent (Ayush Mehra) lives in a bungalow and takes too much stress in life for someone who also owns a BMW. Rajat Kapoor appears as another senior agent with a daughter from an extramarital relationship. He, too, is capable of playing games to swing deals his way.
Razdan is insufferable in her role. Mehra fails to charm as his character should. Kumra struggles to do justice to her poorly written character, and it is left to Kapoor to hold the series together with a solid performance. The veteran actor has his moments, but the writing lets him down on more than one occasion.
The special appearances make the difference between trying to suffer an unwatchable series and enjoying the odd sequence. The actors play themselves, which results in spontaneous performances on most occasions.
Lara Dutta is particularly impressive as a mother who cannot stay away from her child. She must decide whether or not she can accept a job for which she has to go on an outdoor shoot in Chambal, leaving the kid behind.
Dia Mirza disappoints as an actor who loses a dream role because the maker wants somebody younger. Lillete Dubey and Ila Arun as senior actors who hate each other are good. Jackie Shroff as a former star who must step out of his comfort zone to act in a Nandita Das film is likeable.
The main problem with this series is its predictable nature. While watching a show of its kind, an industry outsider (read, the viewer) needs to be taken by surprise from time to time. Sadly, that rarely happens.
So, should you watch this Netflix presentation? If you follow the films of actors who have played themselves here, you might decide to stream it. That said, few viewers will watch the entire series, and hardly anybody will binge-watch it – except those who need to write a review!