The Fame Game is about a dysfunctional Bollywood family now streaming on Netflix.
The story orbits around ‘Who is Anamika Khanna? Where is She?’ The successful star who is ageing in an industry that is ageist, with a super ambitious mother who is the definition of what being a controlling mother is, the husband who takes advantage of her success, troubled children who don’t quite know who they are or what they want: we’ve seen variations of these themes in countless films yet at the right tempo, this plot is explored by creator Sri Rao. The show is a slow burner yet keeps the viewer engaged to want to know more.
The eight-part season one of ‘The Fame Game’ goes back and forth in time from past to present times, it tells the story of a star who disappears, as we get to know more about the people in Anamika’s life: spouse Nikhil More (Sanjay Kapoor) is a bankrupt producer, mother (Suhasini Mulay) likes to gamble with a stacked deck, son (Lakshvir Saran) has no idea who he is, and all daughter Amara wants is to be is her mother. Superstar Manish Khanna (Manval Kaul) shares a complicated history with Anamika and keeps ducking his demons, even as he tries circling back to her. Amongst the cops assigned to the case is a woman dealing with her own set of personal issues (Rajshri Deshpande).
Madhuri Dixit is such a good actress, her on-screen presence, persona and natural ability to connect with her viewers is what kept audiences interested, even in moments tempo of the show fell flat. It’s always a pleasure watching Madhuri on-screen and we are so happy she has made her debut on Netflix too. She looks as amazing as she did in the 90s onscreen. She single-handedly carries the show. Sanjay Kapoor’s portrayal of a down-and-out producer does justice to the role. Manav Kaul in the role of superstar actor Manish Khanna plays the part well. Muskkaan Jaferi and Lakshvir Saran in the role of daughter and son are great on-screen. Playing the detective was a great choice for Rajshri Deshpande yet, her character remained two-dimensional even with a personal narrative. The writing started strong and ended strong but become slow in the episodes between, that’s the trouble with the writing, the narrative gave Madhuri Dixit’s character texture and room to breathe, and emotions yet paired with a supporting cast of talented actors who were given two-dimensional roles to simply exist as opposed to having an impact on the narrative. The story develops subplots without giving them proper endings or depth.
There are many scenes that are beautifully written that indicate how amazing this show could have been throughout. It does show us the ugliness that exists behind the spotlight and the harsher realities of the world when you are famous, not only famous but famous and ageing in a patriarch, misogynistic industry. The build-up of ‘The Fame Game’ is slow yet engaging making it binge-worthy, Madhuri Dixit carries this narrative, with her great onscreen presence and acting prowess. If the other characters were written with more substance, it would have been more engaging.