Bestseller Season 1 Review: Amazon Prime Video's new Hindi series Bestseller is based on popular author Ravi Subramanian's novel The Bestseller She Wrote. From what I remember about the movie, it isn't one of the author's best, but nevertheless has an engaging plotline with flawed characters, themes of lust and deceit and some twists and turns, and therefore makes for an enticing proposition for an Indian OTT show or a Vikram Bhatt movie. Director Mukul Abhyankar doesn't go for a straight adaptation with Bestseller, instead uses its a somewhat loose inspiration. The result is errr... not exactly a bestseller! Bestseller: Mithun Chakraborty Shares the Inspiration Behind His Character in Amazon Prime Video’s Series.
Tahir Wazir (Arjan Bajwa) is a douchey Hindi novelist whose first novel did phenomenal business, but he just can't get over his writer's block to think about his second one. His wife Mayanka Kapoor (Gauahar Khan) is a hotshot ad director, and their marriage seems to have some chinks though they present themselves a happy couple.
Into their lives enter two people, who are about to rewrite their life story. Tahir meets Meethu Mathur (Shruti Haasan), a meek girl working at a cafe he frequents. She claims herself to be a huge admirer of his book, but he is more interested in the scars on her hand and that she is from Rajsi, the town where his first novel had based itself. Tahir wants to use her life-story as a sequel to his first novel, though not exactly in a scrupulous manner.
Mayanka is also attracted to the new enthusiastic intern in her company, Parth (Satyajeet Dubey), though she ignores the dangerous interest he has for her husband.
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You know it when the show loses half the game to win you over, when you can catch some of the major twists and turns early on. Sadly, that's the case with Bestseller, whose suspense isn't exactly hard to decipher early on, not that the series try to cover it up. When your mystery isn't strong enough, you depend on the screenplay to atleast make things arresting enough.
Here also, Bestseller stumbles upon one bump after another. None of the characters are close to being sympathetic and worth rooting for, not even Mithun Chakraborty's ACP Lokesh Pramanik, who arrives in the series with his subordinate Urmila Ranade, played by the amiable Sonalee Kulkarni, to investigate an attack on Meethu. While the veteran actor is okay in the role, it is the character that often comes annoying with his narrow-minded outlook and irritating jokes. Remember Anil Kapoor's character from Race 1 and 2? Lokesh is somewhat similar except less sleazy but quite misogynistic. Bestseller: Shruti Haasan Is Glad That She Got to Play a Character Which Is as Determined as Her.
Even the writing around the other characters is very shallow. It is incredulous to see some of them ignore the obvious red flags before them, especially Mayanka around Parth's obvious duplicitousness. Even the direction and editing are far from desirable. There is a major twist that happens towards the end of fourth episode, that pushes Bestseller into a familiar territory, if you have watched Saif Ali Khan's underrated thriller Being Cyrus.
The performances are also not exactly to rave about, but it isn't the actors' fault, as the series don't allow them to impress much. Shruti Haasan was very awkward in the first four episodes, not exactly convincing as the troubled character she is supposed to portray, There is a slight improvement in her performance in the episodes after that, in which you might say her earlier performance was a deliberate deceit with a twist around her character. But that deceit needs to be convincing enough as an act, not in her performance. Arjan Bajwa is decent, and so is Gauahar Khan, though at times, they do both go overboard. The talented Satyajeet Dubey is made to act as if he is given the character sketch of a vamp, annoyingly breaking the fourth wall with his monologing and self-smirking.
Bestseller lacks the intrigue and the bite to keep you hooked, even when it is merely setting up the mystery . The first season of the series is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 18, 2022 02:54 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).