Oh goodie! Let’s all watch together and discuss in episode pairs! It’s legitimately good too. Not Made in Heaven good, but closer to it than most other things. Plus, tons of in jokes for industry obsessed folks like on DCIB.
We establish the basic characters, and the structure. In the present, famous star “Anamika” (Madhuri basically playing herself) is suddenly not in her room at home. No one knows where she is, and ultimately her husband calls in the police. In the past 6 months, we see the current private stresses and strains without knowing which of them may have lead to this disappearance. Or was it all of them?
Anamika Anand: Madhuri Dixit, playing herself. Middle aged and married and still the most popular actress in India.
Sanjay Kapoor: Playing Madhuri’s producer husband, crawled his way up from middle-class to marry the top actress, and now is obsessed with making her next movie a hit.
Manav Kaul: Playing Shahrukh Khan/Sanjay Dutt/Whoever. Top male star who was first launched opposite Madhuri, they clearly had a torrid affair back then but he was already married with a daughter. Now he is divorced and she is married to Sanjay Kapoor and hasn’t talked to him for 20 years until they go to ask him to co-star in her new movie to save the film.
Kashyap Singari: Madhuri’s devoted best friend/make-up artist
Suhasini Mulay: Madhuri’s demanding mother
Lakshvir Saran: Avinash, Madhuri’s troubled post-suicidal son
Muskkaan Jaferi: Amara, Madhuri’s shy smart daughter
Rajshri Deshpande: ACP investigating the disappearance
The first episode just establishes that Madhuri is torn in all directions and doesn’t have anyone to fully support her. Avi’s suicide attempt is a family secret, her affair with Manav is a marriage secret (I think Sanjay Kapoor knows it happened in the past based on how shook he is after their meeting), the stress over whether she can actually keep this movie afloat is a professional secret, a lot is happening.
What it does most well is treat everyone as humans. They are in a crazy world of fame, but they are ultimately trying to do the right things. Sanjay is the most “bad” person so far, and his actions are all focused on making his movie a hit which isn’t exactly evil. The two kids and Madhuri’s relationship with them is the most interesting part. It is clear that she is the center of their world and vice versa. And that is not innately a conflict with her job, that is, she still has plenty of time to be with them and pay attention to them, fame and stardom doesn’t make her a bad Mom at all. And doesn’t make them bad kids, they are both troubled clearly, but troubled in what seem to be ways unrelated to fame. Avi is depressed and a teenager, but Madhuri is starting to pull him out of his shell. Amara feels shy and unattractive, but Madhuri is trying to give her direction in life to bring her out of her shell.
Oh, and there’s one little hint, when we see a young male fan pretending to be crippled so he can meet her, which seems possibly like a red flag.
Two timelines keep moving. Sanjay comes off poorly. First, we get a flashback showing him twisting Madhuri’s arm in the middle of a fight in a way that makes it seem routine. Second, we see him meeting with a backer in the present day who is pretty clearly a gangster putting black money into the film. Third, we learn it is possible that Sanjay is embezzling from the budget, listing Manav Kaul as being paid when actually he was free. In other news, sweet little Amara continues to feel weak and ugly and is ripe to be befriended by Nutty Fan at a candlelight vigil. In the past, Madhuri is starting to get suspicious of Nutty Fan as she sees him in more and more places. In the present, Manav Kaul is interviewed by the police who flat out tell him that they know he was having an affair with Madhuri.
My favorite part of this, Madhuri starts an affair and we, the audience, are right there with her. She does it in a classy way, in an emotional elegant way, and we have already seen her as a warm wise loving mother, an absolute professional at work, and an ignored wife. We trust that she is having this affair because she wants it and she is clear eyed about how it will, and will not, affect her life. For instance, her kids won’t care one bit.
Second favorite part, the kids get interesting! Avi places a listening device in his Dad’s office, Amara gets active reaching out to fans. And they continue to talk to each other about how they can’t tell the police their family secrets, but they can’t trust anyone else either, so it’s up to them to investigate and figure out what really happened. Oh, FYI, suicide attempts are illegal in India so if they tell the police about Avi, he could go to jail and it could get really messy.
Overall, so far, my favorite part about this series is how remarkably well it is using Madhuri!!!!! The thing about Madhuri is, she can’t play “normal”. She will always be magic. So having her be herself, a gorgeous magical movie star, who is also a loving mother and a woman with a real heart and stuff, that’s perfect. After her last few roles I was almost worried she had forgotten how to act, but no, the problem wasn’t with Madhuri, it was with The World. In this role, watching her nurture her son and daughter, be slightly stiff with her husband, and then delicately flirtatious with Manav, it’s just amazing.
Okay, now y’all watch the first two episodes and then come back and talk to me about it!
I’ll keep posting mini little things two episodes as I finish them!