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Industry (Season 1)

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
4 Star popcorn reviewss


I have been a Bombay(yeah, yeah Mumbai) boy all my life. Mumbai isn’t just a city but indeed an emotions, with different parts of the city exuding different vibes. And amidst all the vibes of the city, one of my favourite ones is of Versova, a small part at the coast of Andheri. A few kilometers away from Lokhandwala(which by the way has a completely different vibe), Versova is a bustling home to the hustlers from the Film Industry. And every time that I make a trip to that part of the city for networking, I am witness to its unique vibe of multiple discussions happening around the film industry, and more so about its process. It is ain’t for nothing that people from all around the country visit Mumbai to try their luck in the big bad world of the Film Industry. And barring a few, not everyone makes it big. Yet every time that I make a trip to Versova, there is a sentiment of hope amongst the people that I meet, that one Friday would change their life forever! And many continue to live in that hope(you could look at this either way, a harsh reality or a kingdom of dreams).

It was in 2009 that Zoya Akhtar had debuted with a wonderful film Luck By Chance which was an honest and brutal take on the film industry. I had absolutely loved that film back in the day, but surprisingly so I happened to revisit it a few months ago and found the take to be relevant and far too close to reality. This is because at this juncture of my life, I happened to be a small speck of the industry as well(yes, reviewers are at the fringes, and rightly so), and by interacting with quite a few folks from the industry, I did know that the satirical take on the industry was indeed true. Days ago when I did get to know about TVF entering this space with their new release titled ‘Industry’ streaming on Amazon miniTV, I was definitely curious and quite looking forward to watch the show. So then does the first season of Industry manage to impress, let’s find out.

Story & Screenplay

Industry is almost a loveletter in a satirical form to the times of the Film Industry, unfolding through the lens of a writer who is looking for that one big film(like millions of others) to pave way for a brighter future. The story here is an honest and accurate portrayal of the Film Industry residing in the bylanes of Versova. It is heartfelt yet satirical to a point that you can gauge the humour sprouting from the multiple conversations that transpire between the characters in the drama. But more importantly, the drama offers a searing commentary on the mishaps and the disparities that are prevalent in the industry, almost as an underlying layer. The screenplay standing at 5 episodes ranging from 30 odd to 50 odd minutes is engaging while unfolding like a dark comedy of sorts, even as you witness the hustle (and struggle) of multiple characters in the fray here.

The drama opens a decade prior with a glimmer of ambition on the part of the protagonist who visits his place of worship Mannat(SRK’s residence) before venturing into his kingdom of dreams to become a writer. The first meeting of his makes it crystal clear on the whereabouts of the industry who has an air of pretence around it. The drama switches to the current timeline wherein the protagonist is now more experienced but still an unknown entity in the film industry having ghost written 25 stories but credited with none. The struggle is clear here even as he boasts of knowing the whose who of the industry, even when his own shop is under the scanner. The way forward for him is to pitch his newly written script, a sexist script supposedly masked as a piece on feminism, while having a co-writer with whom he forges a warm bond.

The proceedings are engaging even as the writing delves into various prevalent themes of the film industry be it that of nepotism, with a star kid repeated offered main leads despite clearly being an under par actor. Or the aspect of typecasting featuring a ‘TV actor’ who is often looked down upon and refrained from making a transition to the big screen. This, even as the plight of the writers of the industry is showcased, often having scripts changed only to suit the other parties. And not to mention rejection, day in and day out. But all of the sequences unfold through a sense of black humour that engulfs the proceedings and ties the screenplay together. So different incidents revolving the protagonist are met with subtle bouts of humour even as he has to manage and massage the ego of his stakeholders, in order to green light his script. All of it, does account for a rather brutal and honest portrayal of an industry whose glitter and glamour is visible to the common eye of the public. On a side note, I did also enjoy the heartfelt bond that a few characters share with each other, even though not all stand the test of time.

Amidst periods of loneliness, there is also an underlying layer of perception that the writers wish to highlight through a couple of characters. The sense of grey might be enough to write those characters off, but as the drama continues to unfold you get to see a different shade in multiple characters including the protagonist who is willing to sacrifice his morals and values to climb up the ladder of success. This, even as walls continue to close in on him with respect to the situations he finds himself in, while being slowly but steadily neglected from his script. If ever there was a criticism about the writing here, it would be related to the convenient end that the show has to offer. The scene involving an exchange between two characters needed a couple of scenes before it, to bridge the gap and completely establish the final act which gave me an impression that the writers were given a deadline to complete the show within a stipulated number of episodes. But overall, the screenplay is well written and makes for a thoroughly engaging watch.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are conversational but far too close to reality, that made me go ‘Aisa Hi Hota'(this is how the folks actually interact with each other). The music and BGM has alwats been a strong point for a TVF production, and the BGM is pretty good here although I wouldn’t say it was completely well used or utilized. The cinematography here ensured that Versova played an important character on the show. The vibes of the different cafes and restaurants were effectively captured(and it did help that I had visited most of them on my frequent trips to that part of the city) and it added a layer of authenticity to the drama.

The editing was a little choppy at certain instances that gave me an impression of a sudden introduction of a plot in the middle of a different conversation. But overall, it didn’t hamper my viewing at all. Director Navjot Gulati definitely understands the pulse of the ‘industry'(and why won’t he, rather silly of me) but his ability to translate it on celluloid was another challenge. And he passes with flying colours here! His world building and characterization were on the dot, and accurate to the core, something that invariably contributed to the aesthetics of the drama. The direction was brilliant here.


The performances are wonderful by the ensemble cast. The whose who of the film industry have cameos and all of them play versions of themselves in a rather sporting manner. Jyoti Kapoor and Gunjan Hariramani have their moments to shine, as do Parleen Kaur as Ravina, Hridaan Saraswat as Majid and Himani Sahani as Priyanka, all of whom were first rate. Satchit Puranik as K, Ajay Sharma as Jayesh and Rajendra Sethi as Jaggi are hilarious to the core. Prithvi Hatte as Ira(a spin-off of a famous producer, perhaps partly) does an excellent job here. Samarth Shandilya as Arjun may not be a character quite affable to begin with(remember he was introduced by the protagonist who had a certain impression of him), but his character arc is such that he ends up being supremely earnest and sincere. Chunky Panday as Rakesh is clearly having a ball(don’t miss the homage given to him at the start) and he is excellent to witness here.

Jitendra Singh Rajput as Romil is another character isn’t exactly endearing to begin with, but slowly the restraint and honesty in his performance wins you over. Siddharth Mishra as Rupesh is quite good too and definitely makes his presence felt. Lakshya Kochhar as Rocky is hilarious as the nepo kid who cannot act(and to top it, his mother is a film critic too…hint hint😅). But the arc of his character was rather interesting, where the writers show that he is fighting his own demons. Towards the end, his vulnerability is for everyone to see in a nice little character arc that he portrays with conviction.

Asha Negi as Sanya is excellent here showcasing her vulnerability of trying to transition to the film industry from television. The kind of atrocities that she has to bear with is expertly showcased through her character in a wonderful little act. Ankita Goraya as Gayatri is quietly charming but subtly assertive with her character. You will find shades of Konkona Sen Sharma from Luck By Chance with respect to her characterization although in a slightly different setup. She gets the dialect of her character bang on, that gave me an impression of a hustler who is only aspiring to make it big in the industry. Her sincerity is on full display in quieter moments of quick glances towards the protagonist while not refraining to confront him when he is wrong too. She was excellent to witness here. Gagan Arora as Aayush aka Viceroy of Versova is in stellar form here. He does showcase his resilience and ambition rather well in a performance that has so many layers to it. The sympathy of the viewer is never quite with him, but there are moments wherein you are gutted at the atrocities thrown at him too. And he maintains a fine balance with the emotions in his character that accounts for a brilliant outing by him.


The first season of Industry is a brutally honest and accurate portrayal of the film industry that almost unfolds like a dark comedy. The same accounts for subtle bouts of humour while presenting a searing commentary on the plight of the industry through several meta-references along the way thereby making it a brilliant watch. Available on Amazon miniTV and Highly Recommended!

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