Web Review: Amazon’s Bestseller is superbly entertaining thriller

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Mithun Chakraborty and Sonalee Kulkarni play investigating cops in Bestseller. Photo: Moe’s Art

As presented, the series is superbly entertaining, with Mithun Chakraborty as ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Lokesh Pramanik in his element as a witty, humorous and even sardonic cop with an instinct for intuition. Though he enters as late as the third episode (of eight), he rapidly steals the show and converts a fairly dry and complex narration until then into an entertaining thriller. His past is full of trauma, and that makes his extroverted character even more appealing.

Not having read the novel (Bestseller She Wrote by Rajesh Subramanian),  I cannot but call the basic premise as we understand it here a shade far-fetched: a failed author, Tahir Wazir (Arjan Bajwa) who is also having problems with his marriage, takes recourse to a known real person’s story to write a bestseller, ‘Raand Saand Seedhi Sanyasi’. And he pens the book with clear indications of who the real persons are, with minor changes!

One day, when he is again facing a creative block for his next work, he encounters a crazy fan, Meetu Mathur (Shruti Haasan) of his bestselling book. As she is from a small town, he keeps her in a 5-star suite. But she is suddenly attacked by a masked stranger and injured.

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This attack marks the need for a police investigation and so, Lokesh comes in with his assistant Urmila Ranade (Sonalee Kulkarni). As one discovery leads to another, matters again come to a head when Tahir and his wife Mayanka (Gauahar Khan) both end up in passing extramarital flings. And at an award function in Rajasthan where Mayanka receives the honor, her associate, Sanjay Shekhawat (Viraf Patel) is murdered.

A whole web of intrigue ends finally in Meetu’s death in a burning car. But Lokesh, now retired, smells something fishy.

The show has no scope for a sequel and, considering current trends, is one more welcome aspect as the saga is rounded off. It is backed by to-the-point lines, though very little is subtle and the overall ambience and tenor decidedly filmi. Mukul Abhyankar keeps the proceedings engrossing and we cannot complain about the technical aspects either.

The performances keep us engrossed too. As said before, Mithun breathes life into his eccentric and witty role. Gauahar Khan shows that she is much more than just a pretty face and (past) item girl—she is perfect as Tahir’s successful but hurt wife. Shruti Haasan’s chameleonic change, sometimes instant, from the meek Meetu to a strong woman of the world (which is not really a spoiler) is fabulously done. Satyajeet Dubey works well as Parth, the new recruit in Mayanka’s company, and Arjan Bajwa is good too as Tahir. Sonalee Kulkarni, from Marathi cinema, does well in a hackneyed role of Lokesh’s sidekick, though she has little to really do.

Though the series takes time to really get going, it connects very well after that point (the third episode—do have the patience as the background is laid!) and Bestseller becomes a patently riveting watch afterwards. The end is perhaps predictable, but how we get there keeps us interested enough.

Rating: ***1/2

Amazon Prime Video presents Alchemy Productions’ Bestseller  Produced by: Siddharth P. Malhotra  Directed by: Mukul Abhyankar  Written by: Ravi Subramanian, Althea Kaushal & Anvita Dutt Music: Raju Singh  Starring: Mithun Chakraborty, Shruti Haasan, Gauahar Khan, Arjan Bajwa, Satyajeet Dubey, Sonalee Kulkarni, Rajesh Jais, Mayank Paresh Padia, Chandana Sharma, Shanaya Rawat, Suchitra Pillai, Viraf Patel, Vaishnavi Karmarkar & others

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