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The Night Manager review: Aditya Roy Kapur and Anil Kapoor bring order to the chaos, but with a sudden jerk

Despite being an adaptation, The Night Manager does not let down, but the decision to divide it into two parts does.

The Night Manager review: Aditya Roy Kapur and Anil Kapoor bring order to the chaos, but with a sudden jerk
The Night Manager review

Last Updated: 10.02 AM, Feb 17, 2023


The show centres around Night Manager Shaan (Aditya Roy Kapur), who runs into circumstances that cause his life to take an unexpected turn and make the soldier within him come to life. After that, intelligence agent Lipika (Tillotama Shome) hires him to break into the inner circle of multinational billionaire Shelly (Anil Kapoor) and break the strange link he has made between the intelligence community and the dark armaments trade. To get into Shelly's huge business, Shaan has to get past the suspicious questions of his chief of staff, Brij (Saswata Chatterjee), and the allure of his beautiful girlfriend, Kaveri (Sobhita Dhulipala).


Whenever an international series is adapted for Indian audiences, the creators do their best to accommodate Indian sensibilities. The British series The Night Manager was all about blazing guns and smart men taking the screen by storm. Thus, having to make it here in India, the casting crack was of the utmost importance. Well, the makers passed with flying colours by bringing in Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur together. Having not watched the original series, the Hindi series was like a blank canvas for me as a viewer.


Shaan Sengupta (Aditya Roy Kapur) is the night manager at a hotel in Bangladesh at the start of the series, and he performs his duties with charm and suaveness. However, things go from bad to worse when, in order to save a teenage girl from her older husband, he fails to do so. In no time, the series shifts to the future, where Shaan is back as the night manager at a posh hotel in Shimla. Once again, with a twist, things change for him, and we are taken to the future in Sri Lanka.

In between these three locations and the many years between them, Shaan goes from being a night manager to a convict and more. The four-episode series fills in the blanks with the bigger animal of the game, that is, Shelly Rungta (Anil Kapoor). In the first episode, we meet Shaan Sengupta, the night manager of the Hotel Orient Pearl in Dhaka. He gets involved in the armaments business of billionaire Shelly Rungta because he goes out of his way for a special guest.

The precedent is set in the most haunting way, and you look forward to how things change for Shaan from there. Aditya takes up this great responsibility of shouldering the series in an amazing way, and you root for him while he goes beyond his duty to protect the guest.

In the second episode, as a result of his inability to get past the events in Dhaka, Shaan consents to a big shift that would profoundly affect both his and Shelly's lives. After getting a glimpse of what Anil Kapoor plays in the series, the second episode welcomes him grandly, and the walk indicates that the terror has arrived. The scenes between both of them will make you glue yourself to the screen, as they are a powerful clash of titans where you just worry who is going to break first, indicating that they are on opposite sides.

However, in no time, the night manager teams up with a RAW agent, Lipika Saikia Rao, played by the terrific Tillotama Shome. The tenacity with which she portrays the character makes you eager to see what her next actions will be in order to move the story forward. Shaan and Shelly wouldn't run into each other again if it weren't for her character. Having a catalyst played by such a good actor is the show's biggest plus.

The catalyst's twist brings Shaan and Shelly together in Sri Lanka, and we finally see the dysfunctional business family under the same roof. Although the third episode is filled with many layers, you might end up yawning at some instances as it just gets too stretchy for no reason. In order to make the most of his stay at Shelly's estate, Shaan makes friends with his son. Lipika, in the meantime, maintains a careful eye on Shaan and makes her own moves.

Suddenly, chaos ensues with so many characters coming together, and each one has a story to tell. We are reintroduced to Shelly's gang with much detail, including the incredible Saswata Chatterjee as BJ and also Ravi Behl. Take it the cliched way, the King is as strong as his henchmen are, and this simple formula, which is overused, makes for an arc to take the story forward. However, the lengths required may dampen interest in learning more about what will happen.

However, in the first three episodes, it's well-established that it's no child's play, but they should be fully involved. In the first episode, a girl is killed, which sets up the plot. In the third episode, Shaan befriends Taha, Shelly's son, to get closer to the Rungta empire.

Sandeep Modi, who has co-directed the series, makes the show grab all the attention with its casting coup and getting well-involved in the layering of the characters. This is well led by Sreedhar Raghavan's screenplay; he was recently the man behind the script of Hindi cinema's biggest blockbuster, Pathaan.

But on one side, we have Shome as a RAW agent with a deadpan humour and more plotpoints; on the other hand, they have zeroed down Sobhita Dhulipala just as an arm candy in an undeserving role. From the beginning, we see her showcasing her bikini line, and that's all she does throughout. In one scene, she says that she doesn't mind people seeing her naked, but she objects to people seeing her cry. I wish there was more crying to her character than making her dip into the water every now and then.

Coming to the major performances, for Anil Kapoor, this role is a cakewalk. We see the actor showing his side as the "merchant of death" and also as a vulnerable man, especially a father, for whom the family is everything. In a couple of scenes, we see him dealing with his inner conflicts, and those scenes stand out for the actor as they show various shades.

The "night manager" himself has delivered one of the best performances of his career with the series. Aditya takes over the role from the beginning, demonstrating how his background as an ex-Navy officer influences his later job as a hotel manager. The actor shines in every scene, be it while empathising with the children or plotting how to bring down the Rungta empire, and even during his confrontational scenes with Shelly, who knows this man is up to something.

For that matter, however slightly problematic the character of Saswata is as a homosexual man who is more of a predator, the actor nails it perfectly. Whereas I want a spin-off of Tillotama's character, Lipika, because the backstory of how she lives in a dingy man's world with the most supportive husband is of utmost importance.

Sobhita, on the other hand, is left out in the cold. In one of the scenes, we even see her reading John le Carré's novel The Night Manager, on which the series is based. Unfortunately, that makes the whole sequence stupider, just like how her character is written. She deserves better, and we certainly deserve better from her as an actor after Made in Heaven.

The biggest grouse I have with The Night Manager is that this is the first part with only four episodes, while the second part will be out in June this year. I mean, what's the point?! The show picks up right away in the first episode, and we are supposed to wait for four months to know how it ends? It's a heartbreaking decision that leaves the audience hanging.


The Night Manager doesn't disappoint despite being an adaptation, but the split into two parts will. Keep an eye out for Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur's handsomeness overload, which will be accompanied by stupendous performances.


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