Bad Boy Billionaires: India review — A patchwork of old media reports

The story

Investigative docuseries exploring the dreams and aspirations of India’s self-made business tycoons layered with greed, fraud and corruption. The three-episode trio comprises liquor baron Vijay Mallya, diamantaire Nirav Modi and ‘Saharashri’ Subrata Roy.

The review

We do not approve of being identified as the citizens of the land of snake charmers any more, but we undoubtedly fall prey to the charm and wealth of the mighty rich to idolise them and start worshipping. Until they are dragged out of the temple of trust and brought in front of Lady Justice (Astraea).

Bad Boy Billionaires: India documents meteoric rise and fall of three such ‘worshipped idols’: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, diamantaire Nirav Modi and ‘Saharashri’ Subrata Roy, who are now at the mercy of law and public wrath. Expectations ran high since this docuseries was announced, legal litigations further added to the curiosity of Indian viewers. What would it reveal something that we were deprived of until date? Would the Bad Boy Billionaires: India, show us something, which have not been brought to the public domain? Simple answer to this would be NO.

The docuseries appears to be a smart compilation of all that was earlier in print or shown on various news channels with regard to these three business tycoons. Just as everything has to start on a good note, the docuseries too starts with ‘The King of Good Times’ followed by ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ and lastly ‘The World’s Biggest Family’, obvious to the viewer which episode belongs to whom.

Where Mallya is shown having fetish for luxury and high end cars right from his childhood in terms of remote controlled cars and other accessories. Muddy roads and Lambretta are the symbol of Subrata Roy’s initial days. Just like a polished diamond cut off from the rest, Nirav Modi's episode begins from a diamond polishing market in Surat. In contrast to Mallya and Roy episodes, ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ has its own little glitter.

Lots of people associated with this trio are showcased from time to time, even those who not just burnt their fingers, but several families' dreams and aspirations too by getting too close to these ‘Bad Boys’.

Mallya is seen addressing the media outside Magistrates Court in London, the tycoon is heard saying, “I want to disapprove this narrative that I stole money. I want to pay back the money, employees included.” Nevertheless, when you look at the lavish 60th birthday party thrown by him at his Kingfisher Villa in Goa despite suicide by the wife of one of the Kingfisher airlines employee over non-payment of salaries for several months. The King seems to look like a demon.

When Nirav Modi says that to be a jeweller it is all about trust and the very next moment you realise he did not even pay his models and the one he did pay, he did it by giving fake diamonds. You realise that in today’s world, trust is a rare commodity amidst several fake souls around.

One frame that caught my attention and spoke thousand words was that of a SAHARA hoarding right in between a slum and an upcoming skyscraper. As if it wanted to convey that through Chit Fund collected from the poor aspirational, the patriarch of ‘The World’s Biggest Family’, was building his own tower of dreams.

Wish the team of Bad Boy Billionaires: India had done extra research and given us something we had not seen or known before. Despite this lacuna, this docuseries is bound to get its desired viewership. After all, these three were actually enjoying and glorifying the misery of Indians.

Title: Bad Boy Billionaires: India

Platform: Netflix

Director: Dylan Mohan Gray

Rating: 3 stars

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