- Platform: Prime Videos
- Release Date: 03/06/2021
- Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Priyamani, Samantha Akkineni, Sharib Hashmi
- Creators: Raj and DK
The first season of “The Family Man” came in 2019 and it blew me away with its thought proving portrayal of important and harrowing issues plaguing our society and how efficiently Raj and DK dealt with those issues to leave a haunting impact on the viewers. When the first season of a series is that good, it becomes difficult not only to top that in the subsequent seasons but also to ensure that that you give your audiences something to think about and ensure that they walk out of your series with a completely novel experience. The makers also had to ensure that they retained all that the audiences loved about the first season and played to the strengths and traits that the audiences identified with. With all this and a lot more to deal with, Raj and DK bring us the second season of “The Family Man”.
Since the incidents of the first season, Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee) has left his job at TASC under NIA and has settled into an uncomfortable 9-5 corporate job at an IT company. His wife Suchitra (Priyamani) has left her job too and decided to spend more time with their children. Despite Srikant’s best efforts, the rift between the couple seems to be widening and we know the reason for it; but not Srikant. He soon starts missing the action that he has been a part of for so long but decides to shun the thought and put more effort to rekindle his relationship with Suchitra and make a career out of his excruciatingly annoying job at the IT firm.
Sadly, a furious verbal exchange with Suchitra that starts from idle chitchat frustrates him so much that he decides to get back on TASC and embrace what he truly is. His return to the force coincides with a looming threat on the life of the Prime Minister that has involvements of Srikant’s old foe, the ISI, and a new and sinister threat from the LTTE and its ruthless and unstoppable assassin, Raji (Samantha Akkineni). The rest of the series is about how Srikant juggles between his two distinctly different avatars and how he is able to matter in both.
The second season of “The Family Man” scores brownie points over the first season in every department. The fact that the first season is always burdened to establish certain characters is undeniable but sans that the second season is quite easily a lot fast-paced, investing and a thrilling adventure that creates a whole new story and antagonists and makes them just as effective and fearsome as the first season. The LTTE angle was not an easy territory to venture into as it had to be dealt with authority, realism, and also keeping in mind the sentiments of the people of the country. Raj and DK create a story that I believe takes inspiration from the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and the 9/11 attacks and yet feels refreshingly original and real.
The pieces are moved at a breakneck speed and yet somehow the story remains within the grasp of believability and understandability and never ventures into a zone that either makes it drag or makes certain portions inconsequential. This is something that happened quite frequently with the portions involving Suchitra and her affair with a colleague at the workplace in the first season. This time around, the focus is on Suchitra and her failing relationship with Srikant because of the guilt emanating out of her adultery in the first season. This is easily a more interesting and investing segment to watch when we are not watching Tamil rebels and ISI crooks planning and executing actions to murder the Prime Minister of the country.
I just loved the fact that Srikant’s children have an important and affecting bearing on the narrative. The portion involving his daughter and a youth who tries to woo her and later is discovered to be a serious threat is very well done. It is kept subtle and pushed just enough to makes us nervous. Even the many heated arguments between Srikant and Suchitra are done exceptionally well. The audiences are bound to side with Srikant in these sequences as we can see the man make a genuine effort to become a husband and a father who is present. In doing so he loses a big chunk of himself and is abused and cornered by a weasel at the workplace. Still, he endures it all for being the man that he trying to become. To see that same man mistreated by his wife for no fault of his is utterly frustrating. This adds to the grip of the series as we are interested to see which way the story of Srikant and Suchitra is headed.
The central plot of the series about the assassination attempt is wonderfully executed. It progresses at a violent speed with something new happening in almost every sequence. The fact that Samantha Akkineni is blistering as the assassin only makes these portions that much more effective. There will be those who will raise fingers at her odd mannerisms and somewhat over-the-top rendering of Raji but I felt that she couldn’t have done a better job with the role. I could sense her pain and also understand where her aggression and loyalty for the LTTE leadership were coming from. Once that happens, the audience is bound to be conflicted between whether or not to support her character and root for her instead of Srikant. This was one of the best Samantha Akkineni performances that I have seen in years.
Manoj Bajpayee and the entire returning ensemble cast do a fantastic job. Bajpayee is someone who can breathe humor into some of the most serious scenes that he is asked to enact. The best example of this is his interrogation of his daughter’s schoolmates and the dinner date that he has with his wife. I couldn’t stop laughing in these two otherwise serious scenes and it just goes on to show the kind of duality that the man is able to bring to an otherwise straightforward character. He does so with his mannerisms and dialogue delivery. His rendering makes Srikant a memorable character and that has been the case from the first season. In this season, however, he has dialed up his performance a few notches making the character even more likable.
I loved the action sequences of the series and the fantastic cinematography. The action sequences not only gain heavily from how well they are shot and edited but also from a telling physicality that the makers could infuse in them. Samantha looks the real deal and the kind of punches that she is shown landing leaves a horrifying impact. There are elaborate shooting and chase sequences that are done with such authority and innovation that they remain with you long after the series has concluded. The background score that is important in a series like this is barely noticeable and that is something that they could have done better.
The Family Man Season 2 is an entertaining and thrilling offering that I believe will please both fans of the first season and also those who wanted something more from the first season. Great performances, terrific action, and an elaborate, well-structured, and intriguing story are its greatest strengths. Raj and DK always play to their strengths.
Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)