Release Date: 24 May 2019
Number of Episodes: 11
Directed By: N Padmakumar
Written By: N Padmakumar
About the series
Thinkistan is a corporate web drama, set in the late 1990s in the backdrop of Indian Ad World. At a time when advertising was at its peak, Hindi was down-market and bias against it ran deep. The show follows how Hindi copywriters changed the game and reduced the dominance of English.
Thinkistan covers with many conflicts: North versus South, creativity versus corporate, old versus new and Hindi versus English.
The story revolves around two copywriters of a leading Ad Agency MTMC, a Hindi copywriter Amit from Bhopal who is hardworking. And Hema is an English copywriter who has left an engineering job because he was good with words. So, he tried his luck in advertising.
Hema is a mere intern and Amit is Junior Copywriter in the company. Yet, Hema receives a salary way higher than Amit’s. The series navigates various issues in the Ad World, most of which still prevail today. The plot finally sees Amit and Hema coming together with an idea. Which has the potential to revolutionize the ad industry.
What Doesn’t Work
- The absence of character development
- The Loose Screenplay
- The Bad Dialogue
- The unreal representation of work life
Thinkistan’s strength lies in its honest world-building. Viewers are quickly pulled in to the colourful world of Technicolor. It skillfully shows the world of advertising. We are exposed to the inner workings of the Ad world. We are also treated to the formation of several award-winning ad campaigns, like Fevicol, Liril soap and several others, in a fictionalized setting. Viewers are drawn into its quirkiness, revelling in the thrill of anticipation.
By the time one has binge-watched all eleven episodes, Thinkistan succeeds in making its way into the heart of the viewer. In the Instagram-influenced world of today, this one is guaranteed to bring a smile on your face.
Naveen Kasturia and Shravan Reddy’s effortless chemistry help their characters feel more natural. Their top-notch acting along with their charm woos the audience on first look. Other strong performances include that of Mandira Bedi, the creative head of the agency. And Vasuki Sunkavalli, the gay CD who often falls prey to office gossip owing to his sexuality.
N Padmakumar does a great job creating a narrative that the audience feels connected to. The older people feel drawn to it for the accurate recreation of the 90s. The young ones relate to the issues that still prevail today. The series feels authentic and binge-worthy. Padmakumar brings us a story that strikes a chord with the audience. He successfully manages to convey the message.
Thinkistan could’ve easily been the throwback series that thrives on nostalgia. But, it doesn’t. It banks on it yet bring forth a refreshing take on social issues. The way it handles homophobia in the workplace goes a long way in saying that homosexuality isn’t a trend. It has always existed and is here to stay.
Other issues highlighted are the openness of sexuality in the 90s. Language politics, the class divide, and sexism in the workplace are also shown.
For a series which is wholly developed on breaking barriers, Thinkistan barely scratches the surface. The viewer sees no real character development. Charming Hema is a flat character who runs on clichés and pun. Amit is old-fashioned, reads Premchand, and has closed thinking. Too much time and energy spent on world-building. The season proves unable to juggle plot twists and character growth.
The strong narrative feels held back by the loose screenplay. The erratic pacing of the story prevents it to shine. It feels patchy and the story fails to fill some loopholes. The issues that are touched upon are never followed up on. The only character that had the potential, Amit is the eternal underdog. The other characters aren’t built much or at all.
The dialogue feels average. It isn’t exactly something to drool over. There aren’t many great scenes. It holds back the great narrative from reaching its potential. Thinkistan feels like a story that one can like but not love. It won’t be your favourite. But it will make you feel connected.
One last place where Thinkistan lacks is glamorization of the workplace. The costumes feel more modern than they should be. There’s no word of the deadlines. No one talks about working extra And doing it for the sake of doing it. However, that’s a small bump. It doesn’t matter in the bigger picture. The series does take on serious issues in the later episodes.
It’s not perfect, but Thinkistan’s just getting started. We are waiting for Season 2!
Thinkistan is available for streaming on MX Player.
Read Also: Thinkistan’s season 2 Update