Amazon Prime Original – ‘The Family Man’ (2019) Review

Ease of having better internet speed, with the advent of Netflix, Prime and other streaming services of their ilk, the original content streaming has made life easier. The same cannot be said about the quality of the content though. Sub-standard and poor quality of programming has led to platforms to receive lesser subscriptions than they had originally anticipated. Amazon Prime also has its share of bad programs. Barring hit shows like ’Mirzapur’, ‘Inside Edge’ and ‘Breathe’, even Prime is finding it tough, to compete against Netflix, who have a plethora of original content. I truly believe, with ‘The Family Man’, Prime finally has a series that is at par with some finest Netflix original shows.

Srikant Tiwary is a family man, who finds it hard to juggle his personal and professional life. His wife Suchitra, cribs about her husband’s constant habit of ignoring his family, at the pretext of work. His children, a teenage daughter Dhriti and a young son Atharv find their father to be an average Joe, who doesn’t seem to have time for his family. What Srikant cannot tell them, is under the disguise of a boring 9 to 5 government sector employee, he’s actually an undercover agent leading a team called TASC, under National Investigative Agency (NIA), who are on a 24 X 7 lookout for any kind of threats to the nation. The series has 10 episodes, which begins with a fishing trawler being hijacked by a group of suspected terrorists, who get caught by the patrolling coast guards. What follows is the biggest manhunt, to stop a suicide mission named ‘Zulfiqar’. Spilling more than this will rob you the fun, so watch the show to know more about it.

The series begins a prospering note, slowly going into a rhythm in the next couple of episodes. As the viewer tries to settle into the storyline, the fourth episode gives you a jolt and the story starts galloping ahead. The best thing about the show is that it tries hard not to take sides between two sparring opponents, rather attempts to rationalise every action of the individuals. The show primarily works for two reasons. An oven-fresh script and a luminous Mr Manoj Bajpayee. The concept, which has shades of ‘True Lies’, has the old and dated theme of a middle-class man, actually being a super spy. Mr Bajpayee takes it to a different level altogether, by playing a vulnerable man, who finds it difficult to maintain a normal life, amidst of his duties, where he’s hunting terrorists. He thrives on saving the country from international threats, yet he can’t seem to keep his own family from getting torn apart. A veteran of playing difficult roles, Mr Bajpayee aces it. One of the finest actors of our time!

The writing takes the cake as we see as a super-spy constantly getting threatened from his own son, from spilling his secrets, while his wife struggles to get his attention towards her, which pushes her to the brink. The writers which also include show creators Raj and DK, along with Sumit Arora and Suman Kumar use comedy to be an effective weapon to showcase the inner conflicts of the character of Srikant Tiwary. The show is supposedly based on real-life incidents and news items, which the creators duly show at the end credits of the last episode. The landscape switches between a bustling city of Mumbai to the deserts of Baluchistan to the picturesque Kashmir, of which every frame has been shot magnificently by Nigam Bomzan and Azim Moollan. Look out for the 13-minute long hospital attack sequence where the terrorists break into it! Music is by Sachin-Jigar, the Raj and DK regulars and the song Dega Jaan sung by Shreya Ghoshal is currently on the chartbusters.

From the ensemble cast, Priyamani as Srikant’s wife Suchi and Neeraj Madhav as Moosa shine in their respective roles. Priyamani, who herself is a fantastic actor, plays Suchi with utmost dedication. Playing the perfect foil to a bumbling Shrikant, she essays her character of a wife who loves her family yet longs for a partner who would understand her needs. Neeraj Madhav is a revelation. An established actor from the Malayalam film industry, he switches between characters, just like flicking a switch. One wishes to see more from this fantastic actor. Sharib Hashmi as Shrikant’s confidante JK Talpade plays his arc well. Primarily seen as the staple bumbling partner and comedic relief, he does show his flashes of brilliance. Veteran actor Dalip Tahil, Darshan Kumar, Sharad Kelker, Shreya Dhanwanthary are effective in their respective characters. Gul Panag appears in the final 5 episodes, based in Kashmir and is strictly okay.

Coming to the not so good parts, the story at times takes an eternity to reach to a point. Some of the plot points are underdeveloped which lacks conviction while essaying it on screen. An important plot point dealing with a gay chemical engineer, which is introduced in episode number 9, abysmally concludes in the next and final episode only. This theme could’ve run parallel to the main storyline, creating an aura of suspense and then keeping it in the same way, eventually revealing it in the end. The lynching of innocents at the pretext of transferring beef and its eventual retaliation could’ve been kept tighter, though the twist in this tale, comes in a quite effective way. All said and done, one can easily ignore these and can enjoy watching the show.

Watch ‘The Family Man’ streaming on Amazon Prime worldwide. And do not forget to enjoy the songs at the end of each episode. They are no less brilliant than the series itself.

 

The Cinemawala Rating: 3.5/5

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