MIRZAPUR – SEASON 2 (2020)

Pankaj Tripathi as Kaleen Bhaiya
  • Release Date: 23/10/2020
  • Cast: Ali Fazal, Pankaj Tripathi, Divyendu Sharma, Shweta Tripathi, Rasika Dugal, Vijay Varma
  • Created by: Karan Anshuman and Puneet Krishna
  • Director: Gurmmeet Singh, Mihir Desai, Karan Anshuman

Old foes are annihilated and new rivalries are forged in this blood-soaked saga of redemption, hate, and payback

Munna Bhaiya (Divyendu Sharma) in the final episode of the first season of Mirzapur aimed a gun at Bablu Pandit (Vikrant Massey) and waited just long enough to have the undivided attention of all his loved ones before pulling the trigger and splattering his brains out in one swift move. “I was waiting for you all to look this way so that I could do this”, roared Munna as he blew Bablu’s brains out. His actions set Guddu Pandit (Ali Fazal) and Golu (Shweta Tripathi) on the path of retribution that made everything else in their lives immaterial. Ironically, the second season of Mirzapur ends with the very same lines that Munna used to bury a knife in the hearts of Golu and Guddu. But this time around, luck was on someone else’s side.

The second season of Mirzapur follows the lives of the characters after the gruesome wedding massacre and also adds a gamut of new entries who add to the drama, twists, and raises the stakes for the other characters. Guddu (Ali Fazal), his sister Dimpy (Harshita Gaur), and Golu (Shweta Tripathi) are trying to save themselves from being executed by the Tripathis. The word is out that Guddu is alive and even his corpse is worth lakhs in prize money. After some close shaves with death, the trio ultimately finds themselves a safe haven from where Guddu and Golu try to re-build their own criminal enterprise using the help of Lala (Anil George), who lost his son-in-law in the wedding massacre.

For Munna (Divyendu Sharma) and Kaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi), the wedding massacre is a thing of the past now. Kaleen Bhaiya is under constant duress from JP Yadav (Pramod Pathak), the brother of the Chief Minister (CM) who hates the Tripathis immensely and wants to see Munna behind bars. In order to save himself and Munna from ending up in Jail, Kaleen Bhaiya makes contact with the CM, forges a deal with him to ensure the CM’s victory in the upcoming election, and has JP Yadav taken off his back. The CM also assigns his daughter, Madhuri (Isha Talwar) to Munna’s protection as she begins her political career and goes across Purvanchal campaigning for her father. Hurt by his brother’s actions and unable to put Kaleen Bhaiya in his place, JP Yadav is left to sulk and starts looking for opportunities to overthrow his brother and become the CM himself.

Ali Fazal as Guddu Bhaiya

Guddu and Golu, in order to forward their opium business forge an alliance with Shatrughan (Vijay Varma) for the Bihar distribution and protection. Shatrughan’s father Dadda Tyagi (Lilliput) and his twin brother Bharat are against the idea of dealing in drugs while Shatrughan finds himself incapable of saying no to Golu for whom he has romantic feelings. This leads to some interesting confrontations and simmering drama in the Tyagi household. Sharad (Anjum Sharma), whose father Ratishankar was Kaleen Bhaiya’s primary adversary and was gunned down by Guddu, forgets his rivalry with the Tripathis and forges a bond with them to get his hands on Guddu and avenge his father’s murder. Sharad also plans to take over Mirzapur when the time is opportune. Kaleen Bhaiya’s wife Beena (Rasika Dugal), who was violently wronged by her father-in-law is pregnant and is planning her own assault on the Tripathis to safeguard her own interests and that of her to-be-born child. What is left to be seen is how she will go about it and who will gain out of her actions.

We get a healthy dose of all that we loved in the first season. The best thing about this season is that it gives us the much-needed retributions that we were waiting for for almost two years. The strength of the series is its memorable performances and investing characters. While the series deals with such dark themes as revenge, retribution, anger, treachery, police brutality, and every imaginable crime against women, the dialogues, the performances and the mannerisms of the actors never let the treatment and the mood of the series get too dark. Even in scenes that involve some gruesome torture or death of major characters, there is something funny or humorous to look forward to. Most of the humor is extracted out of the skewed perspectives of the characters and how they mouth out their feelings. The quirky dialogues and the utterly insane things that the characters say to each other in discussions or pass off as wise words are a constant source of laughs.

Ali Fazal makes this season his own with a stupendous act. I haven’t seen him act this well in anything before. Not only does he suit the persona of the bullish Guddu Bhaiya, but he also brings a sense of calm to the character that makes him even scarier. He has this blank look on his face that remains expressionless when he is unleashing ultra-violence or is threatening someone conveying a menacing feel. He shares a wonderful chemistry with Shweta Tripathi that accentuates the scenes between them to a loftier level. The dynamics of their relationship are unique and the oddity of it is brought out on multiple occasions and essayed effectively by both the actors. The final moments of the season where Guddu finds peace through retribution proves to be a fitting finale to Fazal’s spirited and inspiring performance.

Lilliput as Dadda Tyagi and Vijay Varma as Shatrughan/Bharat

Pankaj Tripathi is a class act and he reminds us of his excellence in every scene that he is a part of. In this season we get to see a side of Kaleen Bhaiya that we had not seen before. He spends most of the season scheming and sacrificing people so as to remain over water. He tries to use his daughter-in-law to get himself a position of power and when she defies him, we see him express his angst in a way that we had never seen him express before. At one juncture, he is posing himself as the father-figure that his daughter-in-law deserves, and in the next, he shuns her and reminds her that she is a woman and her rightful place is in the innards of the Tripathi Mansion and not outside it. This duality in his nature is one of the most affecting aspects of Pankaj Tripathi’s performance and I loved every bit of it. Divyendu Sharma as Munna carries forward his performance from the first season and moves ahead in full steam. I just loved how violently his character oscillated between being endearing (because of his sense of humor and oddball charm) and absolutely despicable for the things that he does in a fit of rage including shooting crippled old women.

The series has some noteworthy new additions in Priyanshu Painyuli, Lilliput, Vijay Varma, Isha Talwar, and Anjum Sharma. Every one of them does a fabulous job in their respective essays and adds a sense of likeability and charm to the characters. It is almost impossible to find any faults in their performance.

My only issues with the series were with the fact that many of the characters and the subplots didn’t hold much individual merit. While all the characters were well played, some of them had very little to add — in terms of drama and storytelling — to the series. I felt that the romance between Priyanshu Painyuli and Harshita Gaur was totally unnecessary and screeched the narrative to a grinding halt. The character of Dadda Tyagi, Shatrughan, and Bharat, though likable and important to the narrative are never developed well enough and remain underutilized. The manner in which this portion of the story culminated left a lot to be desired. The portion involving Sharad and his part in the drama were also underdeveloped. There were also prolonged periods when the pacing of the story suffered and I remember getting jittery in these parts.

Pankaj Tripathi as Kaleen Bhaiya and Pramod Pathak as JP Yadav

Overall, Mirzapur Season 2 will be lapped up by all those who enjoyed the first season. It has the same ingredients and is bolstered by some new characters that might not be essential to the narrative but will amuse you with their charismatic performances and impeccable comic timing. The series also boasts of moments of shocking violence and macabre that I didn’t expect its makers to put out the way they did.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

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