Call My Agent: Bollywood
Director: Shaadi Ali
Writers: Hussain Dalal, Abbas Dalal
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Ayush Mehra, Aahana Kumra, Soni Razdan, Radhika Seth
Streaming on: Netflix
I have not watched the French Netflix original series Dix Pour Cent (literal meaning Ten Percent). Ten percent is the commission which the talent agents get on every deal their celebrity signs. Call My Agent Bollywood is the Indian adaptation of that series. So I can’t compare the two. But what I watched in the 6-episode season was far from impressive. The series is loud and tacky. There’s no intention to be serious on screen; which is fine. But the makers don’t seem to have taken making the show seriously either. The series is produced by Applause Entertainment who have produced a plethora of content for the OTT space including Scam 1992, Criminal Justice, City of Dreams, and Hostages.
Call My Agent Bollywood must have looked aspirational to make. But the series gets the basics wrong. The writing by an otherwise dependable Hussain Dalal and his brother Abbas Dalal is indifferent and Shaad Ali’s direction is shoddy. The best bits of the series come from the celebrity cameos which overshadows the performances of its lead cast. Everyone behaves overdramatically, cusses generously, but for what? The talent agents are the protagonists of the show but not much effort has gone into giving us an insight into their work profiles. The writers and director are only interested in scratching the surfaces. Everything is needlessly sensationalized and put together haphazardly.
Dia Mirza, Lara Dutta, Farah Khan, Sarika, Akshara Haasan, Jackie Shroff play fictionalized versions of themselves in their cameos. The most notable cameo is by Ila Arun who quarrels with Lillete Dubey for a part in a Tigmanshu Dhulia film. The use of tissue paper while talking about Tishu (Tigmanshu Dhulia’s nickname) is a funny touch. Ali Fazal and Richa Chadha add some quirks of their own in their cameos.
The creators are more interested in these frills that they forget to stitch together the skirt. The protagonists. Monty’s (Rajat Kapoor) abandoned daughter Nia (Radhika Seth) comes to work at the same agency. Amal (Aahana Kumra) is a commitment phobic lesbian. Her love/lust scenes with the agency’s auditor Jasleen are creepy. Ayush Mehra as Mehershad leaves some impression and so does Radhika Seth. Soni Razdan as Treasa the veteran of the agency moves around the office with her dog named after her ex-husband Pankaj.
The characters are weak and the drama is a façade. The subplots are unoriginal and dialogue is the most disappointing factor of the series considering Hussain Dalal is at the helm who has Happy Ending, 2 States, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Karwaan to his credits. The cinematography and production design is equally bad. The music is average and the costume is questionable. The series is at large patchy and forgettable.