Netflix released a 3-part documentary series of Bad Boys Billionaires last week covering high profile cases of Vijay Mallaya, Nirav Modi and Subroto Roy (the last one on Satyam’s Ramalinga Raju is still pending to be released due to court case). For someone from a non-financial or non-capital market background, this can be an exciting watch as to how business fortunes unfold and how fall from grace happens rapidly.
I did not find it particularly exciting due to the following reasons:
(a) The legal tangles in India have suppressed investigative documentaries in the financial domain. We are likely to get such episodes only when people have been jailed, arrested, absconding or died. This Netflix documentary is no exception. All 3 have been proven to be on the wrong side of the law.
(b) The documentary becomes a collage of newspaper clippings or interview bytes of these 3 people. There is absolutely nothing new in terms of facts or figures. The narrative tells us what we already know. No startling new information comes out. It’s a boring voyeuristic pursuit of these celebrated lives till they were making headlines in the past.
© All 3 episodes are predictable from start to end. They start with flashes of “the end” before the episode falls into a predictable rut. The commentators (journalists, ex-colleagues, writers, critics, family friends and victims) reflect the public perception of the offenders. One side speaks and questions, the other side debunks and sympathizes.