By Deep Guha
The Family Man Season 2 has arrived, and it is one of those rare shows that hit every beat with deadly precision.
Directors Raj & DK, along with their crew, have done an impeccable job crafting the series. While it greatly handles the “universe-building”, it doesn’t get lost in the shadows of the shows previous season. Instead, it surpasses it with flying colours. The story is well threaded, there are no loose ends. The action sequences are beautifully shot, the dialogue is on-point and not exaggerated. And the Police station assault scene is the cornerstone of the series. The scene is meticulously staged and choreographed. It gives us a sense of how far action choreography has come in India. It is built on tension thick as pea-soup, speed, tactical cinematography(I don’t know of any other way to frame it), and emotional fallout. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best guerilla-tactic fight scenes ever filmed for an Indian show.
Raj, DK, and Suman Kumar deserve all the praise there is because the writing of this show has set a bar for Indian productions to follow. And it will be a tough job to surpass them.
The Family Man Season 2 successfully covers multiple fronts. It plays out as a political thriller, espionage-television, and at the very core, a heartfelt family drama. It manages to balance everything perfectly. And I MEAN perfectly. And it can be said that the series has created a league of its own.
Season 2 covers how a string of rebels are trying to take back what they think is rightfully theirs. There’s a lot of political explaining going on here. The Sri Lankan government wants these rebels dead. From false newspaper headlines to tactical ambushes, nothing is off the table. But the heads of this rebel hydra, Bhaskaran(Mime Gopi), Subbu(Srikrishna Dayal), and Deepan(Azhagam Perumal) successfully escape the ambush, with the help of a suicide bomber.
Then we move on to Srikant(Manoj Bajpayee). We see how Srikant has left his old job after the Orion Chemical incident(in the previous season), something that still haunts him. He is now settled as an IT guy in a start-up. He eats expensive dishes and treats his friend JK. But at the same time, he is struggling to not be a ‘minimum guy’ and trying to do everything for his family, but is still falling short. The dinner table conversation actually sums how Suchi is torn between her inner thoughts and his kids are growing up and coming into their own.
Suchi(Priyamani) is seeing a counsellor(which Srikant doesn’t know of) and is having a rough time dealing with her marriage, presumably because of what went down between her and Arvind in Season 1. Dhriti(Ashlesha Thakur) is a budding feminist in the making(But Srikant is most impressed with her English speaking skills). Atharv on the other hand has grown close to his father, in a particular way though.
Although Bajpayee’s character is in a new habitat, he clearly has a serious case of FOMO(according to Talpade). He constantly thinks about TASC’s missions and continuously reaches out to his old ‘work friends'. And in doing so, he contemplates his decision to leave TASC. There are many instances throughout the series, where Srikant wears his vulnerabilities and guilt on his sleeves. And this only makes his character more relatable and grounded in reality. The writers and directors have succeeded to infuse the character with the ticks of the everyday Indian.
The series also gets bold in subtly addressing China’s neo-colonialism policies and how our country(in the series) reacts to them. But that’s going to earn them brownie points, nothing more. The fictional international relations portrayed in the series is quite streamlined and plays a major part in pushing the plots forward. It paints the bigger picture and makes us realise what is at stake. PM Basu, portrayed by Seema Biswas, brings the gravitas and audacity to the role that is mostly invisible in other TV shows that have Ministerial characters. Vipin Sharma as Sambit on the other hand does as much as he can with whatever he’s given. It’s a minor role but his portrayal of a ‘yes man’ to Basu will stay with you.
As the series moves ahead we are introduced to new characters. But among all of them, it is Raji(Samantha Akkineni), Muthu Pandian(Ravindra Vijay), and Chellam Sir(Udhayabanu Maheshwaran) who take the cake.
Samantha’s Raji, who probably is the break-out character of this season, is the antithesis to Bajpayee’s Srikant. The former isn’t privy to personal life. She lives and breathes for the revolution she wants to usher, at any personal cost. The latter on the other hand has to do his duty and protect his loved one at all costs. But the thing that is common in them both, is the conviction they have for their line of duty. And that is the thing that makes them dangerous. Raji’s careful and calculated oscillation between being a submissive working girl(a coverup so that she isn’t flagged by the authorities), and a ruthless rebel who can kill a human with her bare hands is a testament to Samantha’s acting chops and adds to Raji’s mystique and character.
Shahab Ali returns as Sajid from season one, and his character has struck the right chemistry with Samantha’s Raji. The tension, although, is not romantic, but of mutual respect, as they both are agents of chaos hellbent on righting the wrongs of their world.
JK(Sharib Hashmi) and Muthu have outstanding chemistry between them from the moment they meet. The confrontation of two cultures has not been this funny in any other property, and it is because they don’t encourage stereotypes, but break them. The pair is a hit. But it is Chellam sir who steals the show. He owns every scene he is in and trust me, the memes that he inspires will continue to remind us of this fact.
The lack of preparation at some key moments in the series(tactical and intelligence wise) sometimes bothered me, but everything cannot be fully perfect and most of it doesn't harm the flow of the narrative. Overall, the series has delivered everything that it has promised. It isn’t rushed, nor is it stretched too much. Almost everything is as it should be.
The Family Man Season 2 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.