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Thinkistan’ Review: Language Politics Driving Nuts In A New Avatar

Preeti Singh

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Thinkistan Web Series

Thinkistan Web Series

Starring Shravan Reddy, Naveen Kasturia and Mandira Bedi, the series, Thinkistan, streaming on MX Player gives a way new form of premised language conflicts. The entire story goes around a few dodged up conflicts that comes associated with language conflicts like: North versus South, creativity versus corporate drudgery, old versus new and not to forget the Hindi versus English.

The idea of the show has been brought up in a pretty compelling manner through the contrasting experiences of two recruits in an advertising agency- the English-speaking Hema (Shravan Reddy) and the Hindi-speaking Amit (Naveen Kasturia). The series, Thinkistan has been directed by N Padmakumar and is a story that sets around Mumbai in the late 1990s. Actually, the ’90s were the landmark decade for Indian advertising but, with the spread of satellite television, in order to find more comprehensive consumers, the advertisers switched on to “Hinglish” advertising era, combining Hindi and English.

Hindi and English even though, peacefully co-exist, but the relationship conflicts between the two tongues in post-colonial India have been played well in the series. Thinkistan too, depicts the linguistic chasm between Hema and Amit through their disparate fates at the MTMC agency. Privileged and city-bred Hema joins MTMC, quitting her corporate job to chase has creative satisfaction and his transition goes pretty smooth as he gels well with the prospects of being the future of the agency.

Amit, meanwhile, makes his journey from Madhya Pradesh to Mumbai chasing big dreams and no money. He plays as the eternal underdog, watching his junior’s rise up from the sidelines. Hema is fashionable and charming while, Amit remains to be an old-fashioned one. Amit is the better-rounded character, who has undergone tough domestic life and always need extra hard to get noticed. The series has however, spent a lot of time on Hema’s glorification. Hema has been shown talking in clichés and puns, which wows his advertising peers but, remains a tedious task for the viewers. The show springs back to life with Naveen Kasturia’s Amit is on screen, but that is comparatively low.

It can be rightly said that yes, Thinkistan has spent a lot of time fleshing out the Indian advertising world. N Padmakumar, an advertising filmmaker, who also directed the movie A Billion Colour Story in 2016, has carefully crafted his tribute to his original profession. MTMC has several colourful characters. There’s the self-important top boss Varun (Shashank Karmarkar), who is frequently cut short by Mandira Bedi’s Anushka, who plays the agency’s creative head. The brilliant copy writer Ashiq Jabeer (Satyadeep Mishra) is equally fluent in Hindi, Urdu and Hindi, and his sexual preferences remain to be the subject of office gossip.

The show features a lot of old yet memorable advertisement and worthy attempts has been made to touch upon the weighty themes of homophobia and gender discrimination, but with a little less weightage.

Due to the diverse efforts wasted on world-building, the season’s 11 episodes have proven inadequate in juggling the plot twists and characters. Several things have been undercut by the patchy dialogue and the lackluster plot and talking about the pace, it goes a bit erratic, too.

More than the story of Amit or Hema, Thinkistanproved to be a love letter to the advertising world. Perhaps unintentionally, the series also ends up highlighting the social divisions of today.

She is an aspiring writer and has been into our the domain of content writing since a year. She joined CT as an intern and soon took over full-fledged writing for Bollywood. She contributes news articles for CT and intends to write on diverse issues on Bollywood.

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