The Fame Game Review: The Incandescence of Madhuri Dixit
The Fame Game, a new Netflix series starring Madhuri Dixit Nene that is currently streaming, aspires to be an investigation of the dark side of celebrity. That explains the change in title from Finding Anamika to The Fame Game, which is less fascinating and psychological. According to the creators, the new title will delve into the cult of celebrity. And who better to host such a show than Dixit Nene, one of Bollywood’s biggest “superstars” from the past. Despite being produced by some of Hollywood’s top insiders — Karan Johar is a producer — The Fame Game has very nothing to say about the dark side of celebrity. At times, it reads like fan fiction, as if outsiders are projecting what they hear on the news. It should provide a deeper degree of insight, but it frequently falls into clichés and superficial views.
It doesn’t help that The Fame Game is a dud on nearly every level. The discourse is either meaningless, awful, or superficial. To express their magnificence to the audience, characters talk well of others. Actors recite lines as if they were being read from a script. This is also a hallmark of poor directing, which shows itself elsewhere in the form of sequences that are exaggerated for no reason. I kept expecting deeper, wiser discussions, but they never materialized. Why am I watching this if fictional characters are having ordinary conversations? TV writers work on their screenplays for weeks or months, and their interactions must feel more authentic than what we say in real life. I’ve seen six of the eight episodes that Netflix made available to critics, and it’ll take a miracle for The Fame Game to improve from here.
Sri Rao, who co-wrote the “catastrophically idiotic” 2016 sci-fi romance drama Baar Baar Dekho, is recognized as the show’s creator, writer, and showrunner, therefore he bears the brunt of the responsibility. The Fame Game episodes are directed by Bejoy Nambiar (Wazir, Shaitan) and Karishma Kohli (Mentalhood, the fluffy Karisma Kapoor comedy-drama series). After Shaitan, Nambiar was acclaimed as a new-wave filmmaker, but since then, he’s been on a downhill spiral. Hindi dialogue authors include Amita Vyas, Shreya Bhattacharya, and Akshat Ghildial (Badhaai Ho, Badhaai Do). Given their involvement on other Indian originals, Vyas and Bhattacharya appear to be Netflix in-house writers.
Aside from its conceptual flaws, The Fame Game has structural flaws as well. The new Indian Netflix series is a missing-persons detective thriller, which necessitates creating an environment and a mood for its universe that the audience will be immersed in. It largely consists of a split timeline, with present day running in parallel with flashbacks that begin six months prior to the incident. However, tone consistency does not appear to be a subject that these authors have been taught. Because five minutes in, The Fame Game exploits the former Bollywood musical queen with the million-dollar grin to offer us a song and dance sequence that isn’t in line with what the show is supposed to be. It’s a completely made-up fan service inclusion, and it’s happened before.
“The idiot director doesn’t know what they’re doing,” a character complains early in The Fame Game’s first episode. They just keep blowing the budget out of proportion. I provided them with everything they needed, including costumes, sets, and locations. “They have so many workshops and then offer a mediocre film?” The character in that sequence is discussing a film they’re working on, but it’s precisely how I felt about the new Netflix series. With the exception of the acting workshop, that is. Because there was plainly none of that.
The Anands are the focus of The Fame Game. Dixit Nene portrays Bollywood actress Anamika “Anu” Anand (née Vijju Joshi), the family’s main breadwinner who is clinging to her celebrity since she believes she has nothing else. Her husband, Sanjay Kapoor (Sanjay Kapoor), shows little compassion for her, and her mother, Suhasini Muley (Suhasini Muley), professes to do everything for them but is biting, caustic, and believes she does not receive the respect she deserves. Both have financial issues that have exhausted Anamika’s finances, which she is unaware of. Amara “Amu” Anand (Muskkaan Jaferi), her younger sister, aspires to be more than “Anamika’s daughter” and wants to be in the spotlight like her mother. Avinash “Avi” Anand (Lakshvir Singh Saran), her disturbed sad son, lashes out at everyone in his life who tries to help him.
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Information source: NDTV