Art & Entertainment

'Showtime' On Disney+ Hotstar Review: This Emraan Hashmi-Rajeev Khandelwal Starrer Is All Bark And No Bite

Outlook Rating:
2.5 / 5

Starring Emraan Hashmi, 'Showtime' is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. Is this series worth watching? Or you can choose to skip it? Read the full review to find out.

Disney+ Hotstar
'Showtime' Photo: Disney+ Hotstar

Any story that revolves around the glitz and the glamour of Bollywood is bound to grab eyeballs. People want to see what happens behind the scenes. They want a raw and unfiltered version of the world behind the shimmer. That’s exactly what Disney+ Hotstar’s new show – ‘Showtime’ – aims to do. The show takes you to the backstage of Bollywood and tries to peel the layers of the glamour. With a star-studded cast, the show has become the talk of the town. In case you are planning to watch the show, here’s everything that you need to know.

‘Showtime’: Story

Situated in Mumbai, the movie revolves around a production studio – Viktory. One of the biggest production houses in Bollywood, Viktory has its secrets. The owner of the studio Viktor Khanna (played by Naseeruddin Shah) does not trust his son Raghu Khanna (played by Emraan Hashmi) to run the production house. In the same company, they work at loggerheads with each other. Things take a turn when Raghu Khanna’s movie – ‘Pyaar Dangerous’ – is given a terrible review by journalist Mahika Nandy (played by Mahima Makwana). She also reveals that she was bribed by Raghu Khanna’s men to give the movie a good review.

However, that’s not all. Following this sensational review, Mahika is called by Viktor Khanna to his office. He meets her and before he takes his own life, he puts the studio in Mahika’s name. It is revealed that Mahika is his granddaughter. The story revolves around how Raghu Khanna manages to stand after this fall and how Mahika manages the power that has suddenly been vested on her shoulders.

‘Showtime’: Performances

The show belongs to Emraan Hashmi. He has got into the skin of a power-hungry producer well. After Viktory is taken from him, he still manages to keep his arrogant attitude up because that’s just how he is. Not once did he feel out of place, it felt like Hashmi was playing the role of someone whom he had observed quite well, and that too in close quarters.

After Hashmi, if anyone else deserves mention it is Rajeev Khandelwal. He plays the role of superstar Armaan Singh who is just too much in his head. He embodies every other superstar that we all have heard of. His role feels stereotypical, but he manages to make you laugh with his antics. But apart from that, he has also nailed the parts where he has to act shrewdly to make his mark more evident in the industry.

Coming to Mahima Makwana. Just like her character in the series, she has a lot to prove. In her scenes as a journalist or as a producer, you can see that she is trying too hard. Her attempts are quite evident and while on one hand it’s a good thing, on the other it just draws you away from her character. She is unconvincing in certain scenes, especially those where she delivers a monologue to get things done. That was agonizing to watch.

Mouni Roy is as bland as she can get. As the show progresses, you know she has a lot to say but she just cannot make you side with her. Even when she is distraught after her fight with Raghu, her sadness and agony just do not come on the screen.

‘Showtime’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Written by Sumit Roy, Lara Chandni, and Mithun Gangopadhyay, ‘Showtime’ is an amazing piece of work. It brilliantly captures the nuances and the not-so-glorious side of Bollywood and the film industry in general. What works well for the series is the use of references. There’s a model trying to build her career, actors who have tantrums, a power-hungry producer, a superstar who lives in a house named Jannat, a scandal, a controversy – you name it, the show has it all. These references do not allude to just one person in the film industry. Every character is a mix of all the gossip and the rumours you must have heard online. The writers have taken the pain to chalk out every character with meticulous detail and that needs to be appreciated. 

The show is well-directed and edited. Considering how some episodes move past the 40-minute mark, there is no skip-worthy moment. You want to relish the show and watch how people are battling their downfall. It has the factor that lures you in. Just like the glitz and glamour of Bollywood. The music that has been used only adds to the drama. The camera work is stunning because it captures the grandeur of Bollywood.

What doesn’t work for ‘Showtime’ is the fact that it feels surface-level. Yes, we have all read about gossip like this on social media but what more? The show is pulpy and salacious. And that’s just about it. There is nothing that will make you go ‘aha’ or ‘woah.’ While it does pull you in, it lacks the factor to have your attention for longer than 10 minutes. It is just meaty but there is no substance, there is nothing new that no one does not know about.

‘Showtime’: Cast & Crew

Director: Mihir Desai, Archit Kumar

Writers: Sumit Roy, Lara Chandni, Mithun Gangopadhyay

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi, Rajeev Khandelwal, Mahima Makwana, Mouni Roy, Shriya Saran, Vishal Vashishtha, Vijay Raaz, Denzil Smith, Neeraj Madhav

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar

Episodes: 4 (30-45 minutes)

Release Date: March 8

‘Showtime’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook's Verdict

The trailer and the pre-release buzz of ‘Showtime’ had fascinated me. I had hoped for something that bites into the ugly side of Bollywood and presents it without the drama. ‘Showtime’ aims to highlight the dark side of the film industry, but it becomes exactly what it wishes to call out. There is enough masala, tension, and drama – but just no substance, just like Raghu Khanna’s ‘Pyaar Dangerous.’ In case you want a mindless one-time watch that you can play while you are doing your weekend chores, ‘Showtime’ is a perfect pick. There are no revelations, nothing too dramatic. It will work if you watch it with zero expectations. I am going with 2.5 stars.