‘Jubilee’ Review: A Dazzling Homage to the Dawn of Hindi Cinema

Vikramaditya Motwane’s ambitious series explores the style and scandal of Bollywood in post-Partition and post-Independence India.

Aditi Rao Hydari as Sumitra Kumari in 'Jubilee' (2023) (Ishika Mohan Motwane)

Meher Manda


May 12, 2023


9 min

In Bombay, Srikant Roy (Prosenjit Chatterjee), the head of reigning film studio Roy Talkies, is worried. His wife and co-owner of Roy Talkies, superstar Sumitra Kumari (Aditi Rao Hyadri), is having an affair with Jamshed Khan (Nandish Singh Sandhu), a talented theater actor that Roy hopes to launch as Madan Kumar. “Actors like Jamshed don’t come around very often,” Roy explains coolly as he deploys his right-hand man, Binod Das (Aparshakti Khurana), to escort his hero and heroine-missus home from Lucknow.

But Binod, who mouths along to dialogues from audition reels, has his own aspirations. When he returns to Bombay empty-handed, he tempts Srikant Roy to use his power to turn the simple-looking Binod into the next superstar.

Jubilee, over ten roughly hour-long episodes, concerns itself less with what happens onscreen than what happens off of it. Director Vikramaditya Motwane’s impeccably crafted period series about the tussle for power, success, and fame in India on the heels of independence and Partition pulls the curtains on the dog-eat-dog world of the Hindi film industry — whose echoes we can find in modern cinema to this day — without compromising on style or substance.

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