Updated: November 10, 2021 10:08:38 pm
In a bid to build on in-house IP, Netflix recently released the Indian adaptation of the popular French series Call My Agent. Starring Rajat Kapoor, Aahana Kumra, Ayush Mehra and Soni Razdan, Call My Agent: Bollywood was panned by critics for its loud tone, subpar writing, and for being generally inferior to the original.
The show is about a fictional talent agency based in Mumbai, and the trials and tribulations that the central characters go through as they try to please their celebrity clients and also remain one step ahead of their colleagues. Bollywood is depicted as a cutthroat world in the show, with actors such as Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal playing fictional versions of themselves in exaggerated scenarios. For instance, real-life couple Ali and Richa are shown to be at each other’s throats on a location shoot, while squabbling rivals Ila Arun and Lilette Dubey wash their dirty laundry in public at a prayer meet for a recently deceased friend.
In a new interview with Film Companion, real-life Bollywood manager/agent Manpreet Bacchhar fact-checked the series. Bacchhar has worked with actors such as Irrfan Khan, Yami Gautam, Vijay Varma and more.
“In the show Call My Agent Bollywood, some of the things we see the characters doing is actually management, but they call themselves agents and the rootedness of the Bollywood desi way of functioning is what the show missed out on,” she said, adding that in India, “We have a very secretarial thought process.”
Highlighting one scene in particular—from the first episode of the six-part series—she said that there is no chance that what was shown could actually happen. In the episode, Dia Mirza fails to turn up for an ad shoot, as she is busy practicing the martial arts for an upcoming project, but her manager finds out about her no-show hours later.
Bacchhar said, “In fact, in the first episode of Call My Agent Bollywood, we see that Dia Mirza hasn’t turned up for her ad shoot and the agent/manager walks in 5 hours later and finds out. This would never happen. There is no way your talent hasn’t showed up and everyone’s calmly waiting.”
In her career, Bacchhar said, she has done everything from cutting a star’s toenails to purchasing underwear for them. But it’s all worth it, because the ‘job is supremely exciting’ and ‘there are a lot of perks’.
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