Shantaram review: Not that bad if you stick with it

Based on Gregory David Roberts’ novel of the same name, ‘Shantaram’ follows the story of an Australian fugitive who seeks redemption in 1980s Bombay. The series is now streaming on Apple TV+.


Lindsay Ford, formerly known as Dale Conti, escapes the Pentridge Prison of Australia in an attempt to give his life a hard reset. With a new identity, he boards a flight to Bombay.

Prabhu, a resident of a slum in Bombay, helps him get familiar with how things work here. Meanwhile, he also makes new friends at Reynaldo’s, an unofficial free zone where all the illegal activities are carried out.

Lin tries to stay away from the limelight as much as he can. The only person he feels vulnerable with is Karla, who has this mysterious aura around her.

Lin’s constant urge to help everyone and blame himself for something he did accidentally results in him making some really bad choices.

These choices soon lead him to cross paths with Bombay’s crime lords, who desire to use him, and reporters, who are looking for a spicy story to cover.


Charlie Hunnam’s dedication to the role of Lindsay Ford can be seen in his eyes. He literally lived this character.

Hunnam has definitely given time to learn some of the words of the native languages of Bombay, including Marathi, and the pronunciations aren’t that bad for a character that hails from Australia.

When it comes to the cast members that are portraying the citizens of Bombay, the creators should’ve chosen them wisely. Almost none of them carry the right accent.

Antonia Desplat as Karla Saaranen pulls off her character’s mysterious traits effortlessly. Even the viewers will feel attracted to her.

Alexander Siddig as Abdel Khader Khan comes out as the typical gangster who has his own moral code. So, there is nothing unique added by the writers here.

Shubham Saraf as Prabhu stands out the most when it comes to the supporting cast. The character wants to be helpful, and Saraf desperately tries to portray Prabhu as that innocent friend who is there for you.


The show is more centered around the city, and it builds a universe of its own. Even the minor characters have some importance and their own story to tell. Towards the end, these characters manage to create a place in a viewer’s heart.

The storyline puts forth a political environment in Bombay that is cutthroat.

Furthermore, the show carries a decent pace that is neither fast nor slow. Each and every scene is lived and felt by the viewers. This pace works well for the mainstream audiences that are here for the thrills.

Over the course of twelve episodes, the show perfectly establishes its conflicts and culminates in an action-packed finale full of emotional farewells.


The sets are horrible for a show that suggests the city it’s portraying is its heart. The show is introducing 1980s Bombay to the viewers. In order to do so, the creators should’ve chosen some iconic locations that define the city.

Many of the viewers would turn away upon witnessing these sets, which are not close to 1980s Bombay at all. Only the slums of Sagar Wada and the markets around Reynaldo’s come close to what some parts of the city looked like at that time

The show is quite lengthy, with twelve episodes, and at times it repeats some of its scenarios.

The lead character, Lin, is quite irritating and hard to like. Even toward the end of the series, he doesn’t learn from his mistakes and tends to make the same choices again.


Shantaram, with its horrible sets and an ordinary storyline, is bound to disappoint viewers at first. The viewers need to give the show some time if they want to immerse themselves in the world that the show is trying to portray.

Once there, they will find it hard to get out of it. The character work is brilliant, and the universe built itself is engaging and worth watching.

Shantaram review: Not that bad if you stick with it 1

Director: Bharat Nalluri, Iain B. MacDonald, Bronwen Hughes

Date Created: 2022-10-14 00:00

Editor's Rating:

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