Streaming on Netflix 29th October 2021
For those who are not aware Shaad Ali’s Call My Agent is a remake of a French show with the same name. Since I haven’t seen the French one I will be looking at the Bollywood version as a standalone one. Call My Agent is a series which had the potential to be a solid satire on how the Filmy universe of Bollywood works. However, what we get instead is a half baked product which never becomes more than the sum of its parts. The series also ends with a hint of season 2 coming, but the makers need to come up with a tighter script next time around.
The Bollywood version of Call My Agent revolves a company called ART and the team of agents headed by Soumyajit Dasgupta (Tinu Anand). Rajat Kapoor plays the senior most agent in the company. He is a hustler by nature; He has a daughter from an undisclosed family in Goa. The daughter is played by Radhika Seth. Soni Razdan is the second senior most agent. Aahana Kumara plays a volatile woman with a colorful love life. Ayush Mehra plays the other important member of ART. There are also a host of cameos from Dia Mirza, Jackie Shroff, Akshara Hasan, Sarika, Nandita Das etc.
The most interesting bits of Call My Agent are the long list of cameos from the stars. My most favorite one is that of Dia Mirza. She plays an actor in 40’s who faces the tough choice of getting cosmetic surgery or losing a Hollywood role. In that episode Shaad Ali covers topics like ageism in the industry. In a non preachy manner the director addresses some important issues.
Another interesting cameo is the one of Lara Dutta. In this episode we see Lara Dutta being in a fix about starring in a multiplex film that requires her to be on the set of the ravines of Chambal.
The chief reasons why these cameos work is because they seemed to have enjoyed playing these parts.
Out of the agents only Ayush Mehra and Aahana Kumara work well in their parts. The chemistry between these two characters is far more believable than Aahana Kumara’s lesbian track. Her lesbian affair with Jasleen ( Anuschka Sawhney) is more awkward than enjoyable.
The biggest flaw of Call My Agent are the characters of Rajat Kapoor and Soni Razdan. Rajat Kapoor is sorely miscast and his body language isn’t appropriate for the role of master negotiator he is supposed to play. Soni Razdan is supposed to be a veteran in the company but we never see her handling any stars. She is mostly restricted to observing and giving advice.
Another problem with Call My Agent is that it stays superficial and never digs deep. You get a huge hangover of Madhur Bhandarkar recent films and that is never a good sign.
In a nutshell Call My Agent is a case of looking glossy from outside but shallow from inside.