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YouTube sensation Bhuvan Bam shines in his OTT debut Taaza Khabar on Disney+Hotstar

Taaza Khabar is a six-part web series co-starring Shriya Pilgaonkar, Deven Bhojani, Nithya Mathur, Prathamesh Parab, Shilpa Shukla, J.D. Chakravarthy and Mahesh Manjrekar

Ratnalekha Mazumdar Calcutta Published 13.01.23, 12:47 PM
Featuring Bhuvan Bam, Taaza Khabar is directed by Himank Gaur, who had earlier directed the YouTube star’s Dhindora

Featuring Bhuvan Bam, Taaza Khabar is directed by Himank Gaur, who had earlier directed the YouTube star’s Dhindora Instagram

Taaza Khabar is Bhuvan Bam’s statement that he is ready for the Bollywood big league. The YouTube sensation, who has been creating funny videos and comedy sketches called BB Ki Vines from his room since 2015, gets into a full-fledged acting gig with the Disney+Hotstar show directed by Himank Gaur. Here’s what worked and didn’t work for us.

Bhuvan Bam as Vasya


Vasant Gawde aka Vasya is a guy from a chawl who collects money from people at a pay-and-use lavatory for a living, and Bhuvan nails the part. The YouTube content creator is the heart and soul of the show as Vasya, who knows the value of money from a young age.

We love how Vasya treats his girlfriend Madhu’s profession (a sex worker) like any other job and his well-meaning nature, which brings the twist in the tale — a sort of superpower that he gets, owing to his good deeds, where he can pre-empt the future and escape his ‘shitty’ (quite literally) life. But money and power gets to Vasya’s head, and Bhuvan’s transition from a sanitation worker to an arrogant nouveau-riche fellow is very believable.

Fantastic casting but characters fall flat

Helmed by Bhuvan Bam’s very own BB Ki Vines Production, the supporting cast of Taaza Khabar has talented actors like Shriya Pilgaonkar as Madhu, a sex worker who aspires to have her fashion label; Deven Bhojani as Mehboob, who runs a traditional bakery; Nithya Mathur as Mehboob’s sharp daughter who aspires to study abroad; and Prathamesh Parab as Peter, Vasya’s best friend who works at a Chinese restaurant.

Shilpa Shukla as the brothel madam, J.D. Chakravarthy (yes, Satya!) as a gangster with political ambitions who is obsessed with Madhu, and Mahesh Manjrekar as a betting kingpin are the icing on the cake. All these characters are fuelled by their need to make it big in life but the writing makes them pretty flat. Despite this line-up of actors, there’s no element of surprise.

Exciting concept but predictable plot

Vasant helps an elderly woman out of the poop she’s lying in at the lavatory he works at, and after coming back to her senses, she rewards him with a boon — he would be notified of events in advance, so he can use them to his advantage and get out of his poverty. Taaza Khabar’s main idea is invigorating, but it becomes a victim of shoddy execution.

The plot doesn’t thicken beyond a point, though you’d expect a screenplay written by Hussain Dalal (dialogue writer in Brahmastra) and Abbas Dalal to be tighter. The characters are established in the initial episodes that move smoothly, but with a sudden jerk after the third episode, there’s a rush and you almost lose track of the story and connection with the characters.

A guy who can foresee the future bets on cricket matches — déjà vu Emraan Hashmi-starrer Jannat. Taaza Khabar touches upon all the cliches of a rags-to-riches story. From the nouveau riche protagonist swaggering past the Mumbai sea point overlooking the skyscrapers to a man going after another to avenge the injustice done to his mother, there’s nothing that you have not seen before many times over.

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