UNDEKHI – SEASON 2 (2022)

  • Release Date: 04/04/2022
  • Platform: Sony Liv
  • Cast: Surya Sharma, Harsh Chhaya, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Anchal Singh, Ankur Rathee
  • Creator: Siddharth Sengupta

“Undekhi is laced with all that I loved about its first season but is extremely frustrating in the end”

— Ambar Chatterjee

I had a great time watching the first season of Undekhi. It was a tense, thrilling, tightly written, and wonderfully acted series that I could finish in one sitting even though it had 10 episodes. The first season left its audiences on a cliffhanger with the few remaining positive characters of the story trying to make their way out of the primary antagonist, Rinku’s (Surya Sharma) nefarious reach. I was eagerly waiting for the second season of Undekhi to know how their respective stories would culminate. After sitting through an entire season that was overwhelmingly kind to the antagonists, I wanted the second season to give our few remaining protagonists some payback on the marauding Atwals.

I was excited to see how Teji (Anchal Singh), the newly married bride of the Atwal household would exact her revenge on the family after she vowed to settle scores with them for threatening her father so brutally. I was also interested to know how the story of DSP Barun Ghosh (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) who had traded the life of Rishi, for the Adivasi girl Koyal’s (Apeksha Porwal) would develop after Rinku had willfully broken his promise and tried to murder Koyal injuring her grievously in the process. It would be hypocritical if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that I was interested to see how Rinku and Papaji (Harsh Chhaya) would get what they deserved from the very first episode of the series.

The second season of Undekhi does almost everything right but still left me frustrated for the utter lack of closure. The story goes nowhere and key characters are shown doing things that make no sense. Basic elements of these characters are changed to an extent that leaves them unrecognizable. I will get into my criticisms of the series but before that, I would like to draw the attention of my readers to everything else that made this series worth the 300 plus minutes that the makers wanted us to invest in it.

The screenplay of the series is engrossing. It might feel like a contradiction of what I have written above but it is curiously true in this case. Even though the story goes nowhere, the individual events that make up the narrative are captivating. The proceedings were able to keep me engrossed from start to finish even though it did little in terms of pushing the larger narrative forward. There were a few portions where the otherwise breakneck pace of the narrative dropped and some uninteresting character moments forced my fingers to fast forward certain bits. Having said that, the drama was still emphatic and the characters were developed just enough to make us care for what was happening with them. This made the proceedings interesting and made us a part of the narrative even though there was little in terms of plot development and closure.

The performances in the series continue to be brilliant. Surya Sharma can be credited for being the single most enterprising actor in the entire series and in many ways singlehandedly pushes the series forward with his stellar act as the evil Rinku. He changes gear between being pure evil and someone comically frustrated with things going haywire constantly for him in the most organic manner possible. Every time, he fixed a particular situation, something or the other happened that resulted in the entire situation getting completely out of control once again. I loved how Sharma was able to evoke the frustration of Rinku and wonderfully portray his many outbursts on the incompetent men that he is entrusted to lead. There were even moments when he didn’t utter a single word but his expressions and mannerisms were enough to convey the fury that he was evidently bottling up inside. All these elements of his performance combined together to paint a highly affecting and intriguing picture of Rinku.

Harsh Chhaya as Papaji is quirky and exceptionally enterprising. He had a much smaller role in the first season. The makers must have realized the undeniable entertainment quotient in Chhaya’s performance and have given him a meatier role this time allowing him to go bonkers with his out of the world approach to solving all problems, extensive use of expletives that borders on being comical and blind love and support for Rinku that leads to some interesting drama in his household. He and his critique of everything around him is the biggest source of comedy in the entire series and even though he is detestable and hateful, it is hard not to adore him in a few sequences.

Anchal Singh and Ankur Rathee as the daughter-in-law (Teji) and son (Daman), are fantastic. The most shocking is Anchal’s transformation from a caring and humane character into someone who doesn’t care whether her friends live or die when she is faced with a choice to get in the driver’s seat against Papaji and Rinku in exchange for her friends. This shows the extent to which she has been pushed by her aggressors and has resulted in her abandoning everything that made her the person that she was. Unfortunately, the writing of the series is unable to justify her drastic change of character even though Anchal sells the portion emphatically with her spirited act. Ankur Rathee as Daman was gradually coming into his own and was beginning to show traits of an Atwal. It will be interesting to see which way his character goes.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Inspector Barun Ghosh is effective. His insatiable desire to save Koyal from being killed by Rinku is second only to his unflinching dedication to upholding his duty. This leads to one of the most dramatic sequences in the entire series and also one that is the most frustrating. Apeksha Porwal as Koyal has a slightly longer role this time and she kicks ass in one of the action sequences. She has the right vibes to sell a character like Koyal and yet the makers don’t do anything with her character that they haven’t done already resulting in her essay turning uninspiring and borderline boring.

There are two notable additions in terms of character in this season. Meiyang Chang as Abhay who aides Koyal in her endeavors and Nandhish Sandhu as Samarth who heads the business that serves as the cash line for the Atwals and the one that Rinku and Papaji want to take over from Samarth. Both the characters do nothing to add complexity, drama, or intrigue to the story. All that these two characters do is add to the piling runtime and confusion regarding which way the said characters were taking the larger narrative. Both the actors are easy on the eyes and perform fairly well resulting in them not being jarring to the overall organic flow of the other performances and the story as a whole.

I was overwhelmingly frustrated by this series in the end as it did nothing to the story that was not already done in the first season. This should have been the season to complete and put a dramatic end to the story of the Athwals who had done so much evil. On the contrary, what we get is a series that adds a few more new characters for the Athwals to play around with before they dispatch them to hell. Some of the existing characters who deserved redemption are never given that. Thus the excitement and tension that is created in the series are never rewarded with the necessary payoff. The maker of this series should have known better. The drug business angle does raise the stakes of the challenges in the series but it also proves to be something that is not developed enough to make a considerable impact. I liked Undekhi a lot more when the challenges were contained inside the Athwal household and revolved around hushing up a murder. Also, India’s problem with properly realizing foreign characters continues.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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