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DVD Review

DVD cover

Mumbai Calling...
Season One


Starring: Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nitin Ganatra and Daisy Beaumont
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 20 July 2009

British born Indian Kenny Gupta is dispatched to Mumbai to turn around the fortunes of a call centre acquired in a take over deal. Things do not go to plan when Kenny is confronted by lothario manager Dev, who is more interested in his own profitable sidelines than the business...

Mumbai Calling is a comedy series set in an Indian call centre. Of the three main stars (Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nitin Ganatra and Daisy Beaumont) Ganatra is by far the best actor and funniest performer. I've been a huge fan of Bhaskar's for years, but he seems to stumbles around a little unsure of who his character is here.

The first two episodes are pretty unfunny. It's not that the show isn't packed with jokes, it's just that most of them are way too predictable, not quite as funny as they could be, or "borrowed" from other shows. The most obvious example of this is in the third episode (which is actually one of the show's best episodes) where Terri talks about going to see Macbeth. When Benedict Harlow (Richard E. Grant) asks her who with (meaning who was playing Macbeth), Terri reveals she saw it with her mother. Very funny, but a gag first used by Alan Partridge in the original radio series.

I also found that the whole Kenny/Terri relationship was a little odd. The attraction from Kenny came across as a little creepy, and it's never really developed properly - making the final episode a little odd. If the two had hung out a bit more, going to eat together and talking of what they miss about England, then a more natural flow would have developed to their relationship.

I think one of the problems is that the characters don't seem to have been fleshed out properly before the series began. The end result is that each writer takes the characters and has them acting how they think they should, but when viewed across the series there's a little too much irrational behaviour from them all.

Extras are pretty impressive. The Making of Mumbai Calling (1 hour, 07 min, 24 sec) is a fantastic feature. This takes the usual extras thrown onto DVDs and mixes them altogether. So, we have an ongoing commentary with Nitin Ganatra (who played Dev) and Allan McKeown (executive producer) which drops in outtakes, deleted scenes and other behind the scenes footage. There's also some footage of the set which was filmed by Tracey Ullman, McKeown's wife, so that all the cast and crew could congratulate their son on passing his driving test. For some strange reason, Ullman keeps referring to Johnny as Allan's son, making it appear that she's not his mother - which she is.

Sadly, the much talked about failed pilot is not included as an extra - that would have been interesting to have seen.

Mumbai Calling... is far from being a total disaster, but equally it's way off being a series that will be remembered in years to come. At it's best, it's a pretty average show.


Darren Rea

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