Raj & DK high of espionage sport , Samantha scores large and Bajpayee stellar like all the time


Nonika Singh

If The Family Man’s first season was one of your favourite series of the year 2019 there is no reason you will not be hooked to the second one. Raj and DK team is once again at the top of the game as they deliver a taut and suspenseful peep into the world of undercover agents on the tail of terrorists. Indeed, the protagonist of the first one, Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee), is very much alive and kicking. Only he has had enough of his cat and mouse games and turns to the computer mouse as he lands a corporate job. But once an agent always an agent. Soon he is drawn back into the vortex of terror games.

Raj and DK move into a new territory this time. Sri Lankan Tamil rebels it is. With many dialogues in Tamil they create this world with exactness and detail and the canvas gets bigger with some of the action happening in foreign locales.

Yes, one could argue the logic behind bringing forth Sri Lankan Tamil issue at this point in time when most of us believe that the issue is dead and buried. With an extended disclaimer at the start of the series you can simply deem it a fictional narrative.

But the uncanny similarity to the world around us can’t be dismissed. Like the first season this one too humanises not just undercover operatives but even those on the other side. At the end of the day they all are family men or women even if family members as in the case of Raji (Samantha Akkineni) are not around.

Samantha rises like agility personified and she acts with her body. If her action sequences are superlative, so is her acting prowess. Her anguish is writ in the ice-cold expressions and zeal in every sinew of her body. Of course, the need to paint her darker than she is a point one can take issues with. But the subject of Tamil Eelam is handled with sensitivity and with no value judgements attached, except perhaps that violence can’t be the answer or solution to thoryn issues.

Like the previous season, it harks upon the collateral damage; innocent lives being lost and normal people being branded terrorists. But the series doesn’t make grandiose political statements, only a hint here and there as Srikant tells JK Talpade (Sharib Hashmi), “We work for national security, who occupies the chair is immaterial.”

Manoj Bajpayee as Tiwari, beleaguered as much by a failing marriage as threat posed by terrorists, like always is stellar. So is his partner JK and their chemistry is as sparkling as ever. Besides Samantha, who is lethal and intense, a bunch of actors of South Indian cinema especially Ravindra Vijay as Muthu, make their presence felt. In its own way, the series bridges the North-South divide as also mocks North Indians’ understanding of South. For, don’t we see the diverse South Indian states as one big conglomerate and under one umbrella?

The writing is sharp and packs more than a punch without going over the board. But for the complexion bias in portraying Tamilians, there are no stereotypes here.

Yes, a couple of plot twists, especially the kidnapping angle are on the expected lines but even in those, the makers create enough ‘heart in your mouth’ moments. Thrills abound as the thriller takes you from one episode to another often in a non-linear fashion. The manner in which the makers interweave certain sub-plots of the previous season is commendable. Yes, a few characters from season one Arvind (Sharad Kelkar) get a short shrift. But new ones like Seema Biswas as the country’s determined Prime Minister add enough zest. Like the start-up owner who keeps hammering Srikant ‘don’t be a minimum guy’, the series goes in for the maximalist approach but without compromising on the micro. It paints the big picture with subtle and not-so-subtle reminders of what it means to be constantly under the radar to ensure the country doesn’t go down.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, catch the riveting spy games as the Season 2 rises many notches above binge watching content and even promises a third one. Cheers to our very own espionage franchise.

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com



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