Bestseller is the second series after Decoupled to portray authors as a beastly, self-centred lot. It is presumably an in-joke that the show is itself an adaptation of Ravi Subramanian’s 2015 novel The Bestseller She Wrote.

The Amazon Prime Video series revolves around a cocky and unscrupulous author’s dangerous entanglement with a fan. Wazir (Arjan Bajwa) finds in Meetu (Shruti Haasan) the perfect antidote to writer’s block and the ceaseless taunts of an anonymous troll. She is the kind of simpering woman who appeals to egotists like Wazir.

More importantly, Meetu has a tragic past that Wazir can exploit for his next potential bestseller.

Chasing a whopping one-crore advance and the promise of a film adaptation, Wazir decides to take advantage of Meetu’s back story. Wazir’s wife Mayanka (Gauahar Khan), a hotshot advertising company owner, is perturbed by his dishonesty and growing closeness to Meetu. Mayanka ends up leaning in the direction of Parth (Satyajeet Dubey), a precocious intern at her workplace.

Arjan Bajwa and Gauahar Khan in Bestseller. Courtesy Alchemy Production/Amazon Prime Video.

A mysterious attack on Meetu draws the attention of the police. Lokesh (Mithun Chakraborty), a seasoned and wise-cracking Criminal Investigation Department officer who has wandered off the sets of the television serial CID, starts sniffing around Wazir’s affairs. Despite having cyber-crime expert Urmila (Sonalee Kulkarni) by his side, Lokesh amiably bumbles about since a threadbare yarn has to be stretched to eight episodes.

Bestseller has been adapted by Anvita Dutt and Althea Kaushal and directed by Mukul Abhayankar. The show recommends that you should never judge a book by its cover. Each episode ends with characters looking directly into the camera and promising that another chapter of intrigue and revelation is round the corner.

Despite no shortage of twists, the series is woefully low on suspense and takes far too long to state the obvious. Bestseller pins its hopes on its pulpy premise and its themes of intellectual theft and the ethics underpinning fiction writing.

Gauahar Khan and Satyajeet Dubey are the most memorable actors in the cast. Khan brings the right edge of worldly sophistication and brittle humanity to her ambitious advertising executive.

Dubey, as Mayanka’s resourceful assistant, ably handles her workload and whatever else the narrative heaps on him. As mugger-in-chief, the ostentatiously bewigged Mithun Chakraborty is the main and only source of entertainment.

Bestseller (2022).

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