Thinkistan review: The world of Indian advertising stripped bare

Thinkistan review: The world of Indian advertising stripped bare

The world of advertising looks very fancy from the outside but when you take a deep dive you realize it’s dirtier than one can imagine. MX Player’s new web show Thinkistan – featuring Mandira Bedi, Naveen Kasturia and Shravan Reddy among others - is set against the backdrop of the Indian advertising world as it focuses on the highly cut-throat industry and what people in it do to climb up the ladder. It captures the highs and lows of the Indian advertising world like never before but doesn’t quite make it engaging enough. Set in the 1990s, the show’s trailer looked intriguing and promised it will offer unadulterated drama while portraying the advertising world and keeping the Indian sensibilities intact. The series shows how the Hindi copywriters change the rule of the game reducing the dominance of the English media copywriters. The plot sounds exciting and the actors do justice to play their parts fittingly, but the show lacks those elements to make it darker. The show keeps the tone very light and the proceedings way too simple to be believed. Directed by veteran ad filmmaker N Padmakumar, the show manages to capture the essence of the advertising world aptly, but never makes up for its lighthearted tone with interesting characters. While the lead characters – played by Naveen and Shravan are a delight to watch in their respective roles – but the show feels lifeless when you take them out. When the focus shifts from the primary characters, there isn’t a single interesting character that makes you want to sit through the entire series without any complaints. Mandira Bedi is aptly cast but again ends up playing a role that doesn’t add much value to the larger picture. I really wish the show took a dark path and could have taken some inspiration from Newsroom to keep everything as realistic as possible. Thinkistan is stuck somewhere between being a Bollywood entertainer and a show that doesn’t take itself seriously. Despite earnest performances from the lead actors, it doesn’t make for a riveting watch. It does a decent job in its portrayal of the advertising world but doesn’t really shine in depicting a story that will keep us hooked to the edge of our seats. The production department does a neat job in recreating the 90s era to the tee and does justice to the setting.


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