Review: 'The Night Manager' exhibits style with substance thus being a worthy adaptation
Balancing cultural significance with sleek and stylish treatment of characters amidst an intriguing storyline is just what you want to be hooked on.
The Night Manager
Adaptations can always be tricky but when the cultural relevance of the adapted setting is taken care of, the battle is half-won. The Night Manager on Disney+ Hotstar, which is adapted from the book of the same name by John le Carre, arrives with a stylish ensemble of actors who look their best while doing some dirty work. Having had the opportunity to watch the series in its entirety, here is what I thought about it-
The Cultural Relevance
The book and more so, the popular UK series that starred Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie going head-to-head was sleek, stylish and rather British as well. For the show to be working in an Indian setting, the adaptation needed to be sleek yet Indian-ised, stylish yet relatable and most importantly, played as round a taut screenplay. Directors Sandeep Modi and Priyanka Ghose do a fine job of balancing that never having you feel disjointed or alienated from the core storyline. There is ambition, scale and larger-than-life characters in a picturesque setting almost throughout the 4 episode runtime but the directors and writer, Sridhar Raghavan make sure to keep you glued in the storyline constantly. The progression of Night Manager and former Navy Lieutenant Shaan Sengupta (Aditya Roy Kapur) as we witness a few time jumps is done with intricacy, as it sets up things.
Easily Aditya Roy Kapur's Best
As an actor, Aditya Roy Kapur's career graph hasn't been the most alluring one to witness. Apart from the humongous success of Aashiqui 2 and a hit in Malang, Roy Kapur has witnessed a struggling career not just in terms of the box office but in terms of his acting chops as well. However, one can easily say that The Night Manager is Roy Kapur's best acting performance so far. It isn't that the actor gets to really explore his acting capabilities per se but he still gets to be nuanced, subtle and yet impactful. Apart from the obvious jaw-dropping physique that he has, he gets to dive into the smaller moments of facing anxiety and trauma owing to a huge incident that shapes the story. Roy Kapur might not be refined yet but the graph of improvement is evident.
The Hope for a better Continuation
The Night Manager takes a different route than so many other web shows in India. Interestingly, the show is a seven-episode series but you will only be able to see four episodes on 17th February 2023 and the rest of them will arrive in June 2023. This piece of information is important for you to understand as a viewer beforehand because at the end of the fourth episode, you will be feeling a sense of abruptness and wanting for more. And that is also my hope of getting a much better graph for actor Sobhita Dhulipala aka Kaveri in the show. The actor is one of the most underrated and refined performers and here in the four episodes, she is limited to skin show and being the glamour quotient. But I don't mark that as a negative entirely having seen the precap for the next part. Even then, to be seeing Dhulipala doing her earnest best with a minimal development in her character in these first four episodes became a matter of hope.
The Dysfunctional Mafia Family
What The Night Manager does expertly well is dive right into the dysfunctional factors of a mafia family. Apart from having the side of Roy Kapur's Shaan being held hostage by Anil Kapoor's Shelly Rungta, the entourage of Kapoor's character is what turns out to be a well-knit case of character development. One of his trusted men is cheating on his wife while the other is a carefree, alcoholic gay man who is rather irritating for a few out there. These facets work well in terms of putting cracks in the Rungta clan and also make for engaging viewing when the overall pace of the show dips quite a lot in the third and fourth episode. It helps that fine actors like Saswata Chatterjee and Ravi Behl are playing these characters and especially Chatterjee as the humor relief and gay alcoholic is absolutely fantastic.
If you have seen or read the original Night Manager, you know that the character of the arms dealer kingpin is important but the overall plot is centered around the Night Manger himself. That continues with the Indian version but because you have a personality like Anil Kapoor playing the arms dealer honcho, you add a lot more of him and it helps that the superstar's screen presence is enough to keep you engaged.
The Night Manager, with its four episode Part 1 is designed to leave you craving for more and while that is okay, considering the second part will arrive in less than four months, the commencement of this thriller begins on a satisfactory note. Balancing cultural significance with sleek and stylish treatment of characters amidst an intriguing storyline is just what you want to be hooked on.
Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)
Divya Sharma 2 months ago I liked the series and waiting for the part 2