“Bestseller” is a show that is genuinely entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. In this 8-episode series, the story makes very little progress in the first two episodes, which are more about what we can expect from the characters.
What To Expect From The Cast & The Characters?
We see Tahir Wazir, played by Arjun Bajwa, who wrote a best-selling novel a decade ago, struggling with ideas for a new novel. And yes, he doesn’t respect the work of his “successful wife,” Mayanka Kapoor, played by Gauhar Khan. For once, when such an equation between spouses is represented again on-screen, we would like to see a husband who is at least okay with his wife’s success, if not happy for her, because the narrative of the disgruntled and insecure husband is getting tiresome when played with so little nuance.
The other most important character is that of Meetu Mathur, played by Shruti Hassan. She is a fan of Tahir Wazir and has come to Mumbai to meet him. She is someone with a difficult and traumatic past, but has been portrayed as extremely naive and wide-eyed. And the other character is that of an intern in Mayanka’s office, Parth Acharya, played by Satyajeet Dubey, who is supposedly so brilliant at his work that he is given a permanent job within the first few days of his internship. If only it were that easy. But Parth seems to have ulterior motives and is shown as an orchestrator of some of the events that take place during the “Bestseller” series. Often, when shows portray a character like Parth, it is important to maintain the ratio of mystery to clarity. The audience must at least have enough to be able to make theories, even though they could be wrong. We get none of that with Parth until quite late in the series, by which time there is a certain level of frustration regarding his character.
What Is ‘Bestseller’ Like?
Talking about the characters and the actors, you find it hard to like anybody other than Gauhar Khan or Mithun Chakraborty, who is introduced in the third episode as Lokesh Pramanik, the cop. The entire cast is given unbelievably bad dialogues, and it gets worse when you realize that it is a show about writers. Shruti Hassan talks in a certain way during her scenes, and her dialect changes when she starts narrating the story. While that is understandable to an extent, it should have been better introduced or explained.
The series is based on the book “Bestseller She Wrote” by Ravi Subramaniam. We can’t claim to have read the book or know how faithful the show is to it, so our judgment of the series is devoid of any comparison to its source material. So, we are referring to the writers of the show when we say that they have created a fantasy of the publishing business, whether it be in terms of how much money writers make or even how much they work. And they have interwoven this fantasy with a “thriller” sprinkled liberally with some very bad dialogues.
“Bestseller” is well within the category of content that is so bad that it is good. Trust us when we say that we binge-watched it. But the bits that made us laugh were clearly not intended to, and the parts that were supposed to make us feel uncomfortable or on edge just did not seem to have that effect. And we cannot get over the snobbery of one very presumptuous dialogue that goes along the lines of: “today’s generation haven’t read a book and aren’t aware of any literary writers.” This show is a case of writers doing their own community a disservice. I think we are past the point where we need the dialogues to have “hidden meanings” or “be deep” just to move the scene. It is something that worked when content was new and fresh, not now when there is such a saturation of it, and this is literally what everybody is doing. But we have to mention that this is probably why we like Gauhar Khan and Mithun Chakraborty in this show—because they were the only ones able to make them sound remotely convincing. But the notes of the manic pixie dream girl that Shruti Hassan’s character had made us facepalm. She deserved better.
For all the criticism we have for the “Bestseller” show, we will agree that there was an element of surprise in its ending. But again, it needed better writing and a much better build-up. It is always sad to see wasted potential. But yes, if there is a “Bestseller” season 2, we will watch it, not because we want to see a progression of the story, but because, again, of its “bad enough to be good” nature. We would recommend the show for some good, light Sunday binging, not for the purposes of being “thrilled” or having seen exceptional content. And maybe watch it alone, because it’s difficult not to make fun of it if you have company.
“Bestseller” is a 2022 Indian Drama Thriller series directed by Mukul Abhyankar. Season 1 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.