the stars of this show remain Kapoor’s villainous Shelly and Tillotama Shome as the irrepressible Indian intelligence agent who is determined to bring Shelly down. While this is patently obvious to anyone who survives the dreary, overlong last three episodes of The Night Manager, clearly the show’s makers didn’t see the light
In its first part, The Night Manager did a neat job of presenting us with a glossy, engaging action drama that’s dismissive of realism and focused on moving the story forward.
Had The Night Manager taken notes from the reception to the first part and tilted the pivot of its show to make it less about Shaan and more about Shelly and Lipika playing a chess game using real people, the show would have fared better. Shome’s was the standout performance in the first part and her Lipika remains witty, determined and merciless as she goes around demolishing stereotypes surrounding women characters.
Lipika is a worthy adversary to Kapoor’s Shelly because he’s as ruthless and sharp as her. Unfortunately, the writing doesn’t let these two characters face-off against one another.
Spare a thought for Sobhita Dhulipala whose character was reduced to seeming like an extra in the Ponniyin Selvan films and now in The Night Manager, she’s playing a woman who only gets to step out of the margins to either be displayed as a sex object or victimised. On the plus side, the second season of Made in Heaven is expected soon.
The four-month gap between the first and second parts of The Night Manager was a mystifying choice for a show that was running on momentum. The pause only serves to highlight the show’s weaknesses and leave you wishing the show had been more about the pregnant and unstoppable Lipika. Still, at least Shome has the comfort of knowing she had a significant role in the show