Jubilee Review: 'Lights, camera, action & blockbuster' for Prosenjit Chatterjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Aparshakti Khurana, Wamiqa Gabbi and Sidhant Gupta

Web Show: Jubilee

Director: Vikramaditya Motwane

Cast: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Aparshakti Khurana, Wamiqa Gabbi, Sidhant Gupta, Nandish Sandhu, Ram Kapoor, Shweta Basu Prasad, Arun Govil, Sukhmanee Lamba, Aarya Bhatta, Narottam Bain, Alok Arora, Suhani Popli

Episodes: 5 (part 1)

OTT: Prime Video

Rating: 3.5 Moons

All that glitters isn't gold and the proverb fits well when we speak of the world of glamour and showbiz. While the cinema industry has its perks and privileges, there are darker areas that are often hidden from the public eye. Adding a dash of drama and elements of crime to a story that allows you inside a film studio, Vikramaditya Motwane's Jubilee is all that you need for an engaging experience. 

Jubilee, a term often heard and used by film buffs, is used for films that completed a run of 25 weeks in the theatre. The story of this Vikramaditya Motwane and Soumik Sen-created web series takes us inside Roy Talkies, a famous film studio situated in Bombay. The narrative revolves around the primary characters who are associated with Roy Talkies in some or the other way. Jubilee orbits around Binod Das (Aparshakti Khurana). He is a Roy Talkies discovery and uses Madan Kumar as his screen name. He is in the good books of Srikant Roy (Prosenjit Chatterjee), the owner of the studio whereas his superstar wife Sumitra Kumari (Aditi Rao Hydari) has her own reason to dislike him. 

The first part of Jubilee, comprising 5 episodes, revolves around the rise and rise of Madan Kumar and his equation with those around him. It is a story laden with politics, dark secrets, greed, personal vendetta, love, sacrifice, struggle, and ambition. The series directed by Vikramaditya is a refreshing change from the content available for viewership. It is fresh, engaging, dramatic, intriguing, and all the more interesting. While we've seen enough shows made on work politics, Jubilee doesn't hold back its negative characters from taking a dip into the pool of darkness. 

Every episode of Jubilee is a new chapter that holds different surprises for the audience. It is no mean feat to balance multiple strong emotions at once but the show packages each one of them seamlessly and beautifully. The aesthetics of the series play an important role in building the right atmosphere. The setting of Jubilee transports you to the pre-Independence era. It brings back the models of cars used back then, recreates the interiors of homes that were trending in that era, and the simplicity of uncrowded roads and clutter-free footpaths. When we talk about the pre-Independence era, kothas (brothels) are a must.

The difference between various strata of society is shown beautifully. While Srikant and Sumitra's world is bright, colourful, and lavish, there are characters like Jay Khanna (Sidhant Gupta) and Niloufer Qureshi (Wamiqa Gabbi) to depict the other side. Deprived of basic amenities, it is their struggle that enhances the flavour of Jubilee. What happens when the two worlds blend along with Madan's world will be an interesting affair. 

For any spectator, Jubilee is gripping because in India, cinema and cricket are considered to be religions. Tapping into the mean side of glamour, the show holds a mirror to sentiments like jealousy, power, love and revenge. Each distinct emotion is dealt with equal attention and gets detailing like never before. The characters are so powerfully written that they seem real and humane. Be it Binod Das' shrewdness, Srikant's attitude, Niloufer's grace and strength, or Jay's defense mechanism and willingness to come out of the refugee camp, there's no way one could miss out on resonating with each person. The credit does go to Atul Sabharwal for writing it so well. 

Jubilee's greatest strength is its characters. Aparshakti Khurana comes out as a revelation. Known for his impeccable comic timing, the actor switches his tonality from light-hearted to grey and menacing for Jubilee. He communicates a lot through his eyes and body language. Right from expressing Binod/Madan's hunger for fame, cruelty, and shrewdness to the joy of performing for the audience, the range can be seen. Aparshakti will hold your attention for the right reasons. 

Wamiqa Gabbi casts her magic and how. She expresses herself beautifully and has the power to kill millions with her expressions and performance. Her mujra on Sunidhi Chauhan's song is one of the biggest takeaways. Wamiqa owns Niloufer and goes justice to it. She gets some powerful dialogues that change the course of the story. Prosenjit Chatterjee is lovable as always. There's a certain degree of calmness in his act which makes Jubilee a wonderful watch. Amid the drama, the touch of Bengaliness doesn't harm. As Srikant, he's quick, sharp, smart and great all at once. 

Sidhant Gupta is a star and that's what Jubilee reiterates. As Jay Khanna, a young aspiring filmmaker who is forced to leave behind his operations during the freedom struggle and pursue odd jobs to make ends meet, the actor shines and how. Sidhant proves that if he's given the right script, there's no looking behind. Jay is a character who will live rent-free in your heart due to the earnesty and masterfully Sidhant has pulled it off. Aditi Rao Hydari's Sumitra Kumari has enough potential and maybe she's the ace card reserved for the second part. Ram Kapoor is a delight to watch. He's quirky yet mean as finance Shamsher Walia. The actor is an asset to Jubilee. Nandish Sandhu is a surprise but it is assumed that a lot more will be unearthed in the second half.

Cinematographer Pratik Shah does a fantastic job with Jubilee. Aparna Sud and Mukund Gupta recreate the era with their efficient production design. Shruti Kapoor's costumes suit the setting of the series and could definitely fall into the good books of the fashion police. Editor Aarti Bajaj keeps the show crisp and engaging throughout. 

Amit Trivedi's music is next-level beautiful. Displaying a range of songs from mujra to cabaret and romantic numbers, he casts his magic once again. Kausar Munir is brilliant with the lyrics of the songs that match the situations. Choreographer Kruti Mahesh makes the songs better. Action designer Vikram Dahiya's choreography is good. 

Jubilee is an example of how a well-made show can hold attention for a longer duration. With a stellar cast and a visionary director on board, the series is a great watch. We hope the second part lives up to the expectations and takes it a notch above.

PeepingMoon gives Jubilee 3.5 Moons