Shefali Shah in a still from the series
  • Release Date: 26/08/2022
  • Cast: Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang, Tillotama Shome
  • Creator: Richie Mehta

A solid police-procedural with terrific performances and effective social commentary

— Ambar Chatterjee

Delhi Crime Season 1 is my second most favorite series of all time after Chernobyl. Thus, my expectations from Season 2 of the series were high to start with. The fact that Liger turned out to be one of the worst films of the year and nearly unwatchable, I wanted to review this series even more as it has always been a conscious attempt from my end to share what is good with my readers and audiences more than what was bad. Carrying on in that line, here is why I believe Delhi Crime Season 2 should be at the top of your watch list this weakened keeping aside the latest releases in theatres like Liger and even George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing.

Delhi Crime Season 2 carries the story of the primary character of Delhi Crime forward from the first season. DCP Vartika (Shefali Shah) is faced with not one but multiple heinous murders that involve only senior citizens. The modus oparandi of the murders points to the resurrection of a gang of marauding killers from the 1990s known only as the Kachcha-Baniyan gang after what they preferred to wear while committing the murders. With no clue in hindsight and the body count piling up with each passing day, Vartika and her team find themselves pushed to a corner by their superiors to get quick results and also to frame people who are habitual offenders but may not be linked to this particular case.

As Vartika and her team dwell deeper into the case, they must put their prejudice and the constantly piling pressure aside and concentrate on the evidence at hand to track down the killers. The rest of the series is an engrossing police procedural that is laced with scenes and sequences that not only document the turmoil and challenges faced by the police regularly but also show us the precarious state of affairs in their respective homes because of the nature of the work that they do and the grinding hours that they have to put in.

Gopal Dutt (right) in a still from the film

Not better than Season 1 but still pretty good: –

Let’s address the elephant in the room, to begin with. Everyone who liked Season 1 of Delhi Crime wanted something bigger, better, and edgier, but I always knew that this season would be weaker. It is for obvious reasons. The amount of detailing and the kind of impact that the “Nirbhaya” story had cannot be expected from most other stories. The plot of this season is engaging and engrossing but it doesn’t have the kind of emotional impact or intrigue that every scene of Season 1 was laced with. A lot of that has to do with the story and then there is also the execution that I felt was a little weaker this time around. I felt that the makers tried to concentrate too much on the private lives of the cops and that made the pacing of the series suffer at certain junctures. The story this time is also only 5 episodes long and is missing the kind of detailing and relentless pursuit that kept the audiences at the edge of their seats in the first season.

Splendid performances: –

As was the case with the first season, the performances here are phenomenal. Shefali Shah carries forward from where she had left off and is in supreme control of every emotion of her character. She is particularly delightful in scenes where she is asked to do things that she knows are immoral but is forced to comply. The kind of expression that she is able to bring to her face during these bits adds a lot to the overall impact of the scene. I loved the scene where she is forced to get help from a corrupted and bigoted ex-cop. As the cop expresses his views, she keeps a straight face but the subtle expressions on her face tell us exactly what is going on in her mind. Her sudden outburst toward an innocent suspect is also very well realized.

Rasika Dugal as Inspector Neeti is fantastic. Her character is torn between her duty at work and her commitment to her husband who is back from military duty for a few days and wants the bulk of her time and attention. She is able to beautifully bring out the dilemma and pain of a woman who wants to remain faithful to her duty but at the same time also wants to keep her husband and family happy. One of the best scenes featuring her in the series is the one where she commits a blunder at work and is verbally rebuked by Vartika. I loved the sense of pain, frustration, and anger that she brought to the character and how well she was able to portray all these emotions without letting any one of them out completely.

Tillotama Shome in a still from the series

Tillotama Shome, for me, was the best actress in the series. While she is the primary antagonist of the series, it is very easy to relate to her character and understand where she is coming from and what is it that drives her mindless rage, fury, and passion for what she is shown doing. The fact that even after committing some of the most horrendous crimes, her character is able to incite a sense of melancholia for it in the audience tells us a lot about how wonderfully she was able to approach and bring out not only the duality of her character but also her inherent conflicts and tragedy. She does all this over a very short period and that is another aspect of Shome’s essay that made me appreciate her performance even more.

Realism and quality of the drama: –

The drama and realism of the series are its forte. It isn’t easy to make something as mundane and tedious as a police-procedural interesting and a lot of that intrigue comes from the interpersonal drama and how the proceedings are presented. In both these aspects, the series excels. Every time the emphasis is on the process of how the police go about nabbing the killers, the interest in the proceedings is complete and unperturbed. The inclusion of dark humor in some of these bits makes it even more appealing. The characters feel real and the things that they are seen doing feel right out of our own experiences with law enforcement. While the realism in the previous season was, even more, I didn’t have any major issue with that aspect of this season.

Final words: –

Delhi Crime Season 2 is easily the most watchable content on the OTT this week. It is engrossing. It deals with an important subject matter and touches on different aspects of society including indifference, societal gap, and bias against specific communities. Most importantly, it faithfully captures the urge of the marginalized to come up to a certain level and the things that they are willing to do to achieve that status. All this put together makes for an interesting watch and I am sure that it will not only entertain the audience but will also make them notice problematic things that are right in front of our eyes, but we often choose to ignore.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


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