Showtime Review: Emraan Hashmi, Mahima Makwana and Rajeev Khandelwal call for lights, camera, action with a dramatic series

Web Series: Showtime

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi, Rajeev Khandelwal, Mahima Makwana, Shriya Saran, Mouni Roy, Vishal Vashishtha

Director: Mihir Desai

OTT: Disney+ Hotstar

Rating: 3.5 Moons 

Showbiz is one of the religions in India. While the audience is large, the competition within the industry is tough and dark. Exploring the internal politics, director Mihir Desai tells a tale of power, glamour and tangled relationships in Disney+ Hotstar's Showtime. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi, Rajeev Khandelwal, Mahima Makwana, Shriya Saran, Mouni Roy and Vishal Vashishtha among others, the series releases today.

Showtime takes the viewers straight into the world of Victory, a leading production house based in Mumbai. Raghu Khanna (Emraan Hashmi) is the head honcho of the company established by his father (Naseeruddin Shah). An egoistic Raghu chases stars, superstardom and glamour over quality which doesn't go down well with Mahika Nandy (Mahima Makwana), a journalist. Her world turns upside down when she is forced to review his recent release. Disagreeing to succumb to the news channel's demand to give a positive review for the badly made film, Mahika lands in trouble with the production house's biggies. 

Showtime emerges as more than just a clash between Raghu and Mahika. The grey areas in the film business are expanded and the audience gets a larger picture of the catfights, interpersonal relationships and the politics that unfolds behind the screen. It's to be noted that only four episodes of the season are releasing now. For the rest of the drama to unfold, one has to wait for a couple of months. 

Director Mihir Desai has his vision clear; to make a series that's scandalous with heavy usage of meta references. His canvas is large and spectacular. The story begins on an edgy note and takes twists and turns with a cliffhanger ending to every episode. While the series gets intriguing with every passing moment, one of the drawbacks is the number of episodes. The wait could be an issue.

Emraan Hashmi makes for a stylish Raghu Khanna. His swag, mannerisms and aura create the right impact. He steals the spotlight with an earnest and strong performance. It will be interesting to see what he has to offer in the coming episodes. Mahima Makwana is the strongest link in Showtime. The actress showcases a natural innocence and vulnerability before switching to the boss lady mode. The transition is effortless and commendable. Rajeev Khandelwal is charming as always and does a good job as superstar Armaan. His character arc has the potential to add spice to the story. Shriya and Mouni are underutilised in the first four episodes. 

Showtime has the potential to be a thrilling, engaging and grippy series. While the first four episodes set the tone right, the rest of the show could grow and scale to a different level. Until then, binge-watch and keep your excitement high.