Streaming on Amazon miniTV, the miniseries attempts a witty take on the dark underbelly of the entertainment industry, but fails miserably
Last Updated: 06.09 AM, Jan 20, 2023
STORY: Three friends reach Mumbai to help one of them chase his dreams of becoming a Bollywood superstar. Who knew what they were getting into was going to be messy and chaotic, not to mention meaningless.
REVIEW: The four-episode comedy series misses the mark because of several reasons, but fundamentally due to an ill-conceived script. A rather hackneyed take on the struggling actors in Mumbai, Roomies in Dreamland isn’t telling you anything that you haven’t already read about or seen in movies before. Honestly, this joke-packed drama is only fitfully funny. A Rusk Studios presentation, the Amazon miniTV series is the first instalment of the Roomies franchise, although you’ll find versions like Roomies in Scamland and Roomies in Mafialand on YouTube. Roomies in Dreamland follows the journey of three friends who are also roommates - Rituraj (Nikhil Vijay), Vichitra (Swagger Sharma) and Sampark (Badri Chavan). Their lives get entangled with that of Bollywood superstar Robin (Jaaved Jaaferi) after they land in ‘mayanagari’ Mumbai.
Hoping it’ll pave the way for him to become a Bollywood actor someday, Rituraj accepts a role in a B-grade Bhojpuri film and reaches Mumbai in a jiffy. With him come his friends Sampark, who will instantly remind you of Kunaal Roy Kapur’s character Nitin in the 2011 action-comedy Delhi Belly, and thrill-seeker Vichitra, who has dreadlocks and wears harem pants throughout the series. Call them Rituraj’s entourage, but the manner in which the three of them end up in chaotic situations every time is no less than any adventure that Bollywood masala movies dish out.
After reaching tinseltown, the three friends now share a dingy room in a chawl. As the filming of the movie begins, they meet Robin, who cracks his neck and changes into a different character every time - sometimes a don, then a havaldar. Once a popular hero, his stardom is slowly fading away - something that he struggles to accept. Rituraj’s dream to become a Bollywood star means he should stay strong and resilient no matter what, even if he needs to work in the shadow of Robin. While Vichitra’s ‘adventures’ see no bounds, kind-hearted Sampark falls head over heels in love with Gulabo, another struggling actor in town, whom he met at the ‘Aangan Tedha’ dance bar. One thing leads to the other and the mayhem continues.
Through its course, the series touches upon a plethora of issues that mar the world of Indian cinema and those who aspire to be associated with it no matter what. The narrative takes a witty dig at the dark underbelly of the entertainment industry - from drug abuse to casting couch and the role that administrative authorities play in them. While it’s interesting to follow the journey of the central characters in the series - the way they navigate their way in this chaos - the script fails to pin the audience’s attention on a particular theme. Idiosyncrasies and random humour can only take you so far.
Jaaved manages to pull off as the most memorable character in the series, thanks to his comic timing and quirks. The other lead actors are promising, but in a plot like this one can only dream to explore their acting prowess to the fullest. The series, although sloppy, is a celebration of friendship and why it matters even more when you are chasing your dreams.
VERDICT: A comedy of errors, Roomies in Dreamland has its heart in the right place, but the web series falls short of what it takes to make an impact. Lacking depth and nuance, the characters struggle to reach their full potential. What was expected to be a wild and wacky run for the audience turns out to be only fitfully funny.