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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Movies » The Night Manager Review: Thrilling, And Yet...

The Night Manager Review: Thrilling, And Yet...

February 17, 2023 10:22 IST
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The Night Manager has no surprises, observes Deepa Gahlot.

For those who may have read the book by spy thriller maestro John Le Carré and watched the 2016 series, The Night Manager based on it -- though with significant changes -- the Hindi version might seem bland.

This one is a bare bones version of the original, which works up to a point but without Le Carré's careful plotting with political details and nasty inter-agency rivalry in the UK, it is reduced to just another thriller about a man going undercover in a criminal network.


The much-altered first episode (the Hindi adaptation is done by Shridhar Raghavan) is undoubtedly done well.

Set in Dhaka with the Rohingya crisis spilling into street violence, the emotional quotient ramped up by changing the whistle-blower from a world-weary mistress to 14-year-old child bride (a lovely Arista Mehta) of a brutal Bangladeshi tycoon.

Shaan Sengupta (Aditya Roy Kapur), who is the night manager in a luxurious hotel, is caught up in the dangerous intrigue, involving an Indian arms dealer, Shailendra 'Shelley' Rungta (Anil Kapoor), and the Indian intelligence elite, with obviously corrupt officers, reluctant to nab him.

The only one willing to stir that hornet's nest is Lipika Saikia (Tillotama Shome).

Haunted by the Bangladesh fiasco, Shaan finds himself in a snow-bound Shimla hotel, and this time, comes face-to-face with Rungta and his entourage that comprises his sexy girlfriend (Sobhita Dhulipala, cast for the Elizabeth Debicki-like ability to look dumb, pouty and get into clingy costumes), gay sidekick (Saswata Chatterjee) and background heavies.

Shaan spies on them and sends intel to Lipika, who, without authorisation, cooks up an elaborate plot, which is meant to land Shaan in Rungta's Sri Lankan empire.

The motivation does not seem strong enough, but Shaan risks his life for the mission, befriending Rungta's cute-as-a-button son in the process.

Rungta and his aide are not quite sure of Shaan's identity, despite the thorough background check, which has been doctored by Lipika.

The presence of stars and a generous budget is allowed for shooting in lavish interiors and picturesque locations.

The series, with Sandeep Modi as showrunner and co-director with Priyanka Ghose, gets the superficial trappings of the plot but not the complicated circuitry that makes the Le Carré novel tick.

So it is left to the actors to fill in the gaps.

Anil Kapoor is underutilised and minus that Hugh Laurie menace in his eyes, but he has the ability to charm the viewer without trying.

Aditya Roy Kapur, all chiseled and handsome, does not have the look of a broken man searching for purpose (just a tiny tick in Tom Hiddleston's eye conveyed a lot).

It is left to Saswata Chatterjee and Tillotama Shome to chew up their scenes -- he is equal part clown and guard; she has the over-eagerness of a woman, who has to crash the boys' club everyday to eat at their table.

For aficionados of the espionage genre, there are no surprises.

Also, a large chunk of the plot has been left out, for a Season 2, so audiences will have to wait till June for more of the action and drama before the mission is accomplished.

The Night Manager streams on Disney+Hotstar.

The Night Manager Review Rediff Rating:

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