OTTplay Logo
settings icon
profile icon

Showtime review - Emraan Hashmi and Mahima Makwana's series goes on a stereotypical stroll through Bollywood's glitz without the grit

In Showtime, Emraan Hashmi and Mahima Makwana navigate through Bollywood's sparkling facades, unveiling the industry's intricate dynamics and glittering illusions.

Showtime review - Emraan Hashmi and Mahima Makwana's series goes on a stereotypical stroll through Bollywood's glitz without the grit

Last Updated: 03.48 PM, Mar 08, 2024

Showtime story:

The ageing film magnate Victor Khanna (Naseeruddin Shah), formerly hailed as the 'Godfather of Romance', is feuding with his charming and arrogant son, Raghu (Emraan Hashmi). Raghu has become a sellout and made soulless movies, tarnishing his legacy, according to Victor. Surprisingly, an unwell Victor tries to salvage Viktory's reputation by shockingly passing the studio on to a complete stranger, a young idealist named Mahika Nandy (Mahima Makwana). Mahika and Raghu start fighting like cats and dogs over who gets to inherit Viktory Studios' legacy. The dubious legacy sets off a collision of modern thought with more conventional methods, creative aspiration with business realism, and outsiders taking on the Bollywood elite. They go to war, putting their studios' survival ahead of their personal lives and relationships as they compete for stars, money, and projects.

In the middle of all this chaos, a surprising new character shows up, hoping to take advantage of their animosity. The series unveils a compelling story of aspiration, self-sacrifice, and ethical compromise against the turbulent backdrop of Bollywood. This piece delves into the complexities of the profession, providing a personal portrait that exposes the flaws and difficulties that lie beneath the surface, going beyond the superficial gloss and glamour. 

Showtime review:

We've seen the world of Bollywood on screen, with the makers creating characters based on real-life people. With films such as Kaagaz Ke Phool, Rangeela, and Luck By Chance, filmmakers have introduced their own perception of the film industry in an attempt to break people's misconceptions about it. However, if you think that the industry is filled with manipulative and bratty people, Karan Johar-backed Showtime proves you right.

The series starts with negativity, which persists throughout the four episodes in the name of glitz and glamour. Emraan Hashmi plays Raghu, a film producer who is a sellout in every possible way. To teach him a lesson, his father gives away the studio he is a part of to a young girl, Mahika (Mahima Makwana), who was not known until that very day. On the other hand, we see Armaan (Rajeev Khandelwal), a superstar who doesn't care about the job he is doing because he feels the world revolves around him.

Showtime intertwines these people and tries to create a spin on a story that just doesn't fit the bill. Despite having an ambitious screenplay showing what Bollywood is all about, it felt like the previous season of Koffee With Karan, where everything felt superficial. The film industry makes you believe that these things happen, which is quite unrealistic. The show's creator, Sumit Roy, co-wrote the screenplay for both Gehraiyaan and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. He also wrote the screenplay for Showtime with Mithun Gangopadhyay and Lara Chandni, who co-wrote Bandish Bandits

As they all come together in the four episodes, they reach a point where the remaining additions create a thrilling anticipation before the real story unfolds. Oh yes, before I forget, this is just the first part; the series has not ended, and the second part will be out in June.

This actually takes away the whole fun, which just began towards the end of the episode, and makes people have to wait another three months for the conclusion. In the very first episode of the series, Mahika must praise a bad film in her review because the production company bribed the media house. However, her journalistic ethics don't let her do it, and she slams the production house for being a sellout. Several instances have required us to give positive reviews, even when we disagree, due to the strong occupational hazards that some face, potentially leading them to yield.

On the other hand, Rajeev Khandelwal's entry scene as Armaan the superstar shows him resting in his vanity van despite knowing that he is too late to be at work. There's no denial of the fact that punctuality leaves the building for many actors, and waiting is just another normal day for the crew, who have been working hard to get things done on time. 

But what felt most forced was the war between Emraan and Mahima's characters, which is too unrealistic for the basic premise of the show. Studio politics continue to dominate, and it seems likely that this trend will persist. The portrayal's articulation feels outdated and unreflective of the 2020s. The music constantly reminded me of Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, taking me back to the 70s or 90s.

With four episodes, dialogues also get into the gangster mode, which we have seen in films based on Bollywood, crime, and the underworld. The dialogues penned by Jehan Handa and Karan Shrikant Sharma confused me about the Showtime era.

Showtime seemed eager to unveil Bollywood's closely guarded secrets by involving viewers in a guessing game centred on the main actor of the plot, especially with Rajeev Khandelwal's character, who wants to become an action star but also has his soft side with keeping all the props from his films there with him. Moreover, he also tries his hand at some organic farming, and ultimately, there's infidelity in the picture. Well, your guess is as good as mine!

But the layers of Rajeev's character make him an exciting watch in the show. There's some charm in the actor's portrayal of both a good actor and a bad person, which reflects well on the screen. On the other hand, Emraan Hashmi, as Raghu, seems like no surprise to take the cake by showcasing grey shades, which he does effortlessly. On screen, the actor appears to relish playing a grey character with flair, often taking matters into his own hands, ultimately leading to their downfall with ease.

Mouni Roy, portraying a starlet aspiring to become a solo lead in a film, has a few moments to shine where she displays her vulnerability, but leaves us wanting to know more about her character. Shriya Saran, an actor, is on a path to defy the notion that female actors don't have a shelf life. Well, we have to wait and watch!

Mahima, on the other hand, is a parallel lead in the series, and she tries to own the screen, but there's something that doesn't sit well with her presence opposite other towering personalities. It felt like she performs under pressure both in real life and reel life. However, at some point in time, it feels caricaturish, just like when she tells Paparazzi that she is surprised to see them at the airport. Well, if you know, you know!

Showtime just gets slightly meatier towards the end, and it seems like an intention for viewers to get excited for the second part. Well, we will wait patiently; no pressure! But the reviews are not going to change what's already been created, right?

Showtime verdict:

The glittery attempt by Showtime to reveal Bollywood's inner world inevitably veers dangerously close to stereotyping, leaving us in a state of clichés and caricatures. The show settles for the tired cliché of glitz hiding grit, thanks to actors that waver between sincere and over the top. The plot is as predictable as a Bollywood dance scene, despite the script's promise of a star-studded unveiling. 

Get the latest updates in your inbox