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Call My Agent Bollywood review: Disappointing waste of premise

Rating: 1.5/5

‘Call My Agent Bollywood’ follows a group of agents who attempt to handle the tantrums of Bollywood stars and save their company. It is a remake of French series ‘Dix Pour Cent’.

Story

Monty Behl (Rajat Kapoor), Treasa Mathews (Soni Razdan), Mehershad Sodawala (Ayush Mehra), and Amal Ahmed (Aahana Kumra) work as agents at ART in Mumbai, each responsible for handling different clients.

After the shocking death of the company’s founder and head, Soumyajit (Tinnu Anand), his wife seeks to sell all of the company’s shares as they now belong to her. The four begin to think of ways to ensure their future.

The entry of Nia (Radhika Seth) throws Monty off, as he is clearly hiding something. She seeks his help at first, but looking at his reluctance, decides to become Amal’s secretary for the time being.

The four also take up the clients that belonged to Somyajit, leading to chaos.

Performances

The acting is over the top for the entirety of six episodes for some reason. Apparently, to give the French show an Indian touch, you need unnecessary dramatic reactions and every character acting unnaturally.

Probably the only saving grace in terms of performances isAyush Mehra, who looks convincing even with the exaggerated dialogues and scenes.

Some of the celebrity cameos, which include the likes ofJackie Shroff, Ali Fazal, Lara Dutta, Richa Chadha, Ila Arun, Dia Mirza and Farah Khan, have more screen time and presence than Soni Razdan’s character, which is supposed to be one of the leads.

Positives

The premise, although exactly the same as the French series, provides great promise as it serves as an opportunity to critique the Bollywood industry.

Some of the celebrity cameos are decent and a scene where Somyajit’s clients remember him is hilarious, perhaps the only worthwhile humour infused with the show.

Negatives

The creators of the show take a ridiculously lazy approach and just decide to translate every dialogue and scene from the original show, with only minimal change in names and references.

If this show has been made for an Indian audience, why wasn’t there enough change in the writing and dialogues to make it more relatable?

In so many scenes, you’re just left wondering why the characters are reacting so unnaturally, and the answer is because it was the same in the French show.

Give the same premise to talented writers, and you would get a much superior show which actually critiques Bollywood and not the Indian version of the French industry. Why would they have the exact same problems? It’s baffling.

And this is also why the dialogues don’t land. They sound like a cringe Hindi dub of a Hollywood show, making it even more disoriented.

There is a colourful office set and constant background sounds to repeatedly remind the viewers that this is a lighthearted comedy show, without actual funny punchlines.

Every time things look bleak, you hear the instrumental title track in the background to add to the drama, just like many lacklustre Bollywood films. Wait, isn’t this is a critique of Bollywood?

The LGBTQ portrayal looks absolutely fake, again, because it has been lifted from a French show. It’s shocking to see the creators thinking people in India would behave exactly the same as those in France.

The original is nuanced, which makes it much more believable. Call My Agent: Bollywood looks like a comedy show that aired on television decades ago. You would be forgiven to have believed the likes of TVF has changed the comedy genre forever.

Worth it?

‘Call My Agent: Bollywood’ is a lazy remake. Only watch if you’re not looking for anything stimulating or want to be introduced to the original and just want to see the attempt at a recreation.


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