Bestseller Review: Amazon’s First Misadventure

Indian shows based on a writer’s life are rare, and today I realized why! While Amazon’s latest Hindi series, Bestseller, promises thrill and suspense, it delivers the exact opposite. This is the second time I saw a series (the first was Hotstar’s “The Great Indian Murder”), and I literally have no other option but to criticize it.

Bestseller is based on the novel “The Bestseller She Wrote” by Ravi Subramanian that I haven’t read. My review is purely based on the series and not how good or bad the book was.

Bestseller Review Summary

If I had only one word to tell how ‘Bestseller’ is, I would choose “Abysmal”. There is hardly a thing except for Mithun Chakraborty that’s good about the series. Though the episodes aren’t lengthy, I would still suggest you skip it and enjoy the weekend watching ‘A Thursday‘ instead.

Synopsis

The series is directed by Mukul Abhyankar and stars Arjan Bajwa (Tahir Wazir), Shruti Hassan (Meetu Mathur), Gauhar Khan (Mayanka), and Satyajeet Dubey (Parth) in lead roles. I won’t call Mithun Chakraborty’s role a full-fledged one but, interestingly, he is the only good thing about the entire cast.

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Tahir Wazir is a celebrated novelist facing writer’s block. In his entire career, spanning over a decade, he has only delivered one bestseller. Tahir struggles to find a good story when he meets Meetu Mathur, his biggest fan and a budding writer.

Wazir decides to use Meetu’s story as his next novel, but redemption awaits him. There’s Parth, who has vicious plans for both of them. Bestseller depicts the overlapping life of Meetu, Tahir, and Parth. But is it any good or worthy of your time?

What Works for Bestseller?

Believe me, it took me a great deal of time to come up with some positives about the series. Here’s all I could extract.

Mithun Chakraborty

He is the only member of the film’s cast who is not a misfit. We all know that Mithun is a great actor, but the importance and need of such performers are blatantly visible when others working alongside are duds.

Mithun plays the role of a cop, Lokesh Pramanik, and aces it perfectly. He doesn’t do anything unique from what he has done over the years. Still, as I said, because other actors work like puppets, his performance as an intellectual actor grabs your attention.

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Short Run time

Well, I wouldn’t have continued watching Bestseller beyond the first episode had the length been any longer. It takes you somewhere around 5 hours to binge-watch the eight-episode long series.

With almost all episodes of equal length, you are at least assured of wasting a limited amount of time.

What Doesn’t work for Bestseller

Almost everything in Amazon’s Bestseller is out of place. From the cast to the story, nothing shines collectively.

Casting

The first thing I want to know is why they cast Gauhar Khan as Mayanka? She is just not the right fit. Her performance is substandard, to say the least. Maybe, the role was not meant for her. Her smile looks fake, her pauses look unauthentic, and her anger doesn’t seem to reflect any depth. Why was she cast?

Moreover, there’s Arjan Bajwa as Tahir, and he doesn’t look good either. Maybe, they could have gone with someone else or molded the character according to Bajwa’s personality. I have seen him act in other films, and there’s no fault in his talent. It is just that he doesn’t seem to deliver this time.

Shruti Hassan is decent, but initially, I found her accent superficial. She could hardly carry the character. What could have been an outstanding performance is now an average attempt. The same happened with Richa Chadha in “The Great Indian Murder”.

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You also have Satyajit Dubey as Parth, and he is not at his best either.

See, if you consider this a common series comprising independent creators, the performances are okay. But as an Amazon Original, I cannot digest the casting flaws. When you are a professional actor, the room for error is not much, and that little space has been overridden in the series.

Screenplay

This has to do with the initial episodes only. The screenplay gets better as the series progresses. In the beginning, you just don’t know what’s happening. Actually, the casting blunders are to blame for it.

I was expecting stellar performances, as usual. But it took me time to accept the average acts as normal, which made me believe that the screenplay is also on the southern side.

Flaws in the Story

A good story is a basic need for a series or movie to flourish. You may have a different opinion, but I didn’t like it. Therefore, I decided to think of a logical reason for my dislike.

The series is based on a novel by Ravi Subramanian that was released in 2015. Since then, we have had numerous fantastic movies and series. According to me, Bestseller would have worked much better had it come out before 2018. Back then, we didn’t have access to what we call today “great” content. Hence, we could have liked and showered praises on the series.

Also, at one point in the series, you see Gauhar Khan say that “the mail was also sent to someone named ‘Mehrotra’,” but till the end, you don’t get to know who that Mehrotra was. That’s an error, according to my judgment, because the content of the mail was such that only someone important would be given access.

Here’s another flaw, throughout the eight episodes, the series never explicitly reveals what Wazir wrote in his bestseller novel, “Raand, Saand, Seedhi, Sanyasi“. It only gives an overview of the content. You don’t get to know the details. I was waiting for a flashback that would pinch my heart and make me emotional, but that didn’t happen.

Illogical

We are living in 2021, and the series is set at the same time. Technologies are regularly evolving, and medical innovations are at an all-time high. Still, according to Bestseller, the Forensic department cannot ascertain how long ago someone died. I still can’t digest that.

Had the forensics found out even an approximate time of death, the entire plot would have changed. You cannot call this creative liberty, can you?

FAQ

Is “Raand, Saand, Seedhi, Sanyasi” a real book?

No, Raand, Saand, Seedhi, Sanyasi is not a real novel. It is a poem by the famous Indian poet, Kabir Das. The complete line is  “Raand, Saand, Seedi, Sanyasi, Inse Bacche to Sevai Kashi!”.

The rough translation of the line is “You can only reach Kashi (A town in India) and attain liberation after avoiding Widows (Raand), Bulls (Saand), Seedhi (the slippery steps leading to the Ganga river), and Sanyasi (Hermit)”.

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