From the makers of TV classics such as Birds of a Feather, Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Lovejoy, comes this new seven-part comedy series, Mumbai Calling which, on first glance, was very funny; not hysterical, but funny enough to make me want to watch it again.
The best part was played by EastEnders actor Nitin Ganatra as Dev – he also plays Masood in ‘Enders – who, in his attempts to first find his depressed boss Kenny, then delay the arrival of an assessor from London’s head office of Teknobable and to hire a new ‘bendy’ PA for his boss gave him some hilarious lines and scenes.
The storyline was that Kenny Gupta, played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, had been sent out to India to turn around a failing call centre that’s run by Dev and the arrival of Terri Johnson, the as-it-turned-out female assessor from London’s HQ only added to their problems.
The call centre is staffed by twenty-something operators who deal day and night with irritable UK residents and try to sell them a variety of products, most notably mobile phones – which led to an hilarious rant from one of the phone operators – but in last night’s episode, they took hundreds of calls about flooding in Manchester caused by massive drain blockages. This lead a totally uninterested Dev to tell one of his harassed colleagues that he didn’t want to hear about torpoodoes and other very funny one-liners.
It also led to ITV issuing a disclaimer at the end of the show that this scene had nothing to do with the real-life Floodline and was entirely fictional. But that’s actually where the show scored a hit really; it could well have been real life. Despite the obvious cultural references and puns that only worked because those being stereotyped did the stereotyping – in this case, Indians in a call centre – it was just how one might imagine a call centre in India to be like, and we’ve all been frustratingly on hold for a million years to one haven’t we?
Sanjeev Bhaskar as Kenny really wasn’t anywhere near as funny as Nitin as Dev and without Dev, the show would without question be a flop. He was what kept it going and what kept it funny; Kenny really seemed somewhat irrelevant in last night’s show but maybe as time goes on he’ll become funnier.
If you missed it, it’s well worth catching up on ITV Player although, at the time of writing, it’s not yet available on their menu, but I would imagine it will be at some point in the next couple of days. In the meantime, you can see a variety of scenes and outtakes here.