Stalking is very real. We’ve all grown up listening to the stories of crazy-ass stalkers following girls to their homes, tuitions, hostels. Some of them even hobble ahead of the curve and cut their arms to showcase their undying love. Stalking isn’t healthy, that goes without saying. But more than just letting us know that the stalker is crazy, it also reveals the desperation, the need for attention and the loneliness of the person. It’s a little sad about how we perceive stalkers in general. But irrespective of the psychological state of the mind of the stalker, the question remains – how far can one go stalking somebody? Amazon Prime Original show – ‘Pushpavalli’ talks about a woman, who moves mountains for her infatuation for a guy who she meets in a conference. If the first season gave an idea about woman’s undying tryst to win her beloved’s trust, the second season goes a step ahead and gives this phrase a whole new meaning – ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!’ Read the Cinemawala take about this show!
The second season begins right where the first season had ended. Pushpavalli is about to get engaged to a happy go lucky IT guy, based out of the United States i.e. a quintessential next door Tam Brahm Guy! Everyone’s apparently happy except Pushpavalli herself. After getting rejected by the handsome Nikhil Rao, she has set herself on a mission to destroy him, along with her man-friday T-Boi! The season takes us through her antics, her desperation and eventually her entire world crumbling down on her, with her plans not being able to take the shape that she had originally intended them to. Telling how, will ruin the show for you so watch the show, to know what happens next!
The star of the show is Sumukhi Suresh, in the titular role of Pushpavalli. I’ve seen her stand-ups and frankly, the woman does a class act as a performer in this show compared to what she does as a stand up comic. Her brilliance lies in the way she portrays the character of Pushpavalli. Her desperation looks authentic. She craves for attention. Her need for being desired by the man she adores is so genuine that you start rooting for this evil lady, who’s looking for revenge. Watch out for the scenes where she finds herself falling in love with a charming Vidyuth as she goes on a friendly banter over Nadal vs Federer and how she finds Nadal’s humanness more genuine than the machine-like perfection of Federer – Personality over Perfection! This is a crazy lady who’s gone all psycho, is full of toxicities yet we all end up rooting for her because she’s one of us. A perfectly believable character with who, one can empathise.
The next set of kudos goes to the fabulous writing team of Naveen Richard (who plays the fabulous Pankaj), Ayesha Nair, Sumaira Shaikh, Kumar Shivam and Sumukhi herself. The writing elevates a mundane idea of a stalker to greater heights. The situations, the dialogues are apt to the T. Credit must go to the director Debbie Rao, who runs the ship, with the idea of a cute, plus-sized woman turning into a psycho in her tryst of so-called ‘love’. The emotions feel genuine because the trauma, the rage that Pushpavalli goes through, has been experienced by everyone, who’s been rejected in love. To enact such varying degrees of emotions, in the garb of a comedy show, is a craft and for that Ms Debbie Rao, a tip of the hat to you!
Finally, we come to the life of this show, the entire ensemble cast. I mean, man, how good can anyone be like this! Every single actor looks the part. Each one of them deserves the praise for bringing alive the crazy world of Pushpavalli. I begin with Naveen Richard, who, in my humble opinion, is a star! What phenomenal comic timing! His dialogues are bound to make you go ROFL. And when you start to feel that this is a one-dimensional actor, he kicks you in the shin, as he portrays the responsible self, the hidden side of his arrogant, loudmouth, satirical persona. Next is Shraddha who plays the foulmouth landlady Vasu. A terrific role, performed with equal panache, is how I would like to put it. She is a scene-stealer. Watch out for the Bra cutting scene, it’s outrageously funny!
Among others, Ashok Pathak as T-Boi brings the house down with his antics. Lata Venkatraman, who plays Pushpavalli’s mother, is again wonderful. In fact, the mother and daughter bits are the one to watch out for. Even Rahul Subramaniyan as Guruji’s man-friday Laxman is fantastic in his small appearance. Vidyuth Gargi who plays Pushpavalli’s fiance comes as an effortless actor. His scenes with Sumukhi are to be adored. Manish Anand plays his part of Nikhil nicely. Compared to the first season, his character goes through a sea change of personalities. If season one portrayed him as the prince charming, the second season shows the fallacies of this character Nikhil. Preetika Chawla as Pankaj’s love interest Swati does well than her previous outing and gets to do more than her ‘Betu Boy’ thing.
Season 2 ends on a cliffhanger, rather on a very grim note, with a couple of central characters’ fate balanced on the hinge. Is there a season 3? We all wait desperately to know what actually happened at the packing house. Does Pushpavalli get her revenge? Or does this revenge engulf everyone, including her?
Our wait begins.
Sumukhi Suresh’s ‘Pushpavalli’ now streaming worldwide on Amazon Prime.
The Cinemawala Rating: 4/5