Former defender Shaan Sengupta is now working as a night manager in a five-star hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Life throws him another operation when a teenage girl asks him for help to save her. The episode leads to him getting his hands on a large syndicate. The turn of events has Shan reverting back to being an undercover officer as he now tries to take down the villain.
The Night Manager Part 1 review: What works
It’s all about how the creators present their characters when it comes to projects about some secret agent who does a job that is far from what he belongs to and gradually returns to his day job of fighting the bad guy. It’s a trajectory that’s been used since ancient times, and if someone tries it now, there has to be something new to make it work. The Night Manager, an adaptation of the British show starring Tom Hiddleston, is smart about how it uses the entire first episode of the season as an introduction to what’s to come.
Now, the biggest question surrounding the show is whether it differs from its original or not. To answer your question, even though it requires the schedule of a British show, Shridhar Raghavan’s (Pathaan) adaptation with the help of Sandeep Modi manages to give it a new vibe. The treatment and chronology changes in the Indian version and this helps in building the new world. This is Modi’s second adaptation in the same month after Netflix’s Class and it shows his knack for borrowing things and artfully making them his own.
The Night Manager is smart in the way it chooses to reveal a lot in the first episode, but it also keeps a lot more under wraps. At its core is an espionage thriller that hunts down a white-collar villain who sells illegal weapons to war-torn countries. The writers go to great lengths to fit this story into the land the series is set in. The writing links this fictional story to the unfortunate Rohingya genocide that subsequently led to unrest in Bangladesh. It takes effort to explain to the audience what the situation was. While neither character has a direct connection to the crisis, it serves as a good backdrop for the show.
Part 1 is more of an introduction to tell you about this setup. This is an interesting set of characters and the teams do a great job of casting them. A man with no family or anyone to lean on, he is there to bring down the syndicate, the big bad guy is evil but not visibly evil, he is on the edge of what is happening around him because he lives in a bubble that he rules . An R&AW agent who is pregnant but doesn’t stop her from joining the operation. There are also enough light moments to give the viewer a breather. The best is when the dog’s name is Loki and Shaan (Aditya) says, “Mein Loki jitna cute to nahi hoon, par tumhara friend ban saakta hoon” or when Sobhita reads The Night Manager by the pool. I see you Sandeep!
Review of The Night Manager Part 1: Star Performance
Aditya Roy Kapur has finally managed to find a project that makes him experiment. It’s a great choice because Aditya’s charm works in favor of the narrative in more ways than one. There is a visible mystery in how the character is built and Kapur keeps it alive with his performance.
Anil Kapoor joins him as Shailly aka Shailendra Rangta and together they make an interesting antagonist-protagonist pair. Kapoor, who is venturing out to play a bad guy for the first time, doesn’t overdo it at all. The writing rather underestimates him. Anything bad you see about him in the first part of the first season is two phone calls away. There’s nothing that makes him a visible villain once he’s in the frame. An interesting way to build an idea and play with it. I hope they continue to put it to good use.
Can we take a moment to celebrate the powerhouse of talent called Tillotama Shome? The actor plays a role completely different from her filmography and reaps every bit of her. Most of the humor comes from her, but at no point does she let you take her less seriously. She plays a pregnant woman at work, but thankfully that’s never the focus of discussion about her character. Keep an eye out when he’s in Sri Lanka for a budget undercover operation. Her face is sunburnt, a small detail but so much that it adds to the subtlety.
Sobhita Dhulipala has an interesting part in hand which is just a tease in the first part and promises to have a lot more in the second part. She wears all the wrong clothes on all the wrong occasions and maybe that is used as her trait if I’m not reading too much between the lines. I wish the four episodes had revealed a little more about her. She borderline looks like eye candy and nothing more for this world right now.
Saswata Chatterjee plays a gay character who is interesting but has a lot of stereotypes and cannot be ignored. Although it becomes a bridge between the real world and his bubble for Kapoor, more research should have gone into its creation.
The Night Manager Part 1 review: What doesn’t work
That the part the former chooses to save a lot for the latter. The four episodes serve as an introduction and preview of what’s to come. The fact that this is the first season and a show that has yet to build a fan base for itself. It’s a risky decision that deserves a second part if you keep the audience waiting.
While Anil and Sobhita are great actors, their dynamic together doesn’t fit as organically as it should. Also, what is