“Doing something great is overrated because then people expect that from you all the time. What they don’t realise, is you’re as screwed up as they are”. 

~ Mare Sheehan, ‘Mare Of Easttown’ (2021)

This summarises agent Srikant Tiwary’s life in a nutshell. Living a double life, each moment that he spends thwarting the dangers towards national security, he loses as a husband and a father. That, my fellow countrymen, is the cost of freedom. And that is a price, he is willing to pay, every-time he saves the country from its enemies. Ladies and Gents, your favourite middle-class guy and the world-class spy is back! This time, the threat is bigger with terrorists looming all over the country and his family falling apart. Can the family man beat the enemies from outside and from within? Watch the show to find out the rest!

Second season of a show are often trickier to handle, especially if the previous season has been a smash hit. The expectations get sky-rocketed. Everything that was a novelty in the first season, seems repeated in the first, hence the show makers play safe with the content. With season 2 of ‘The Family Man’, the makers’ Raj and DK along with director Suparn Verma, take a huge gamble by weaving their tale around the LTTE guerrillas and their fight for a sovereign country. A glance at the history books couple of decades ago, show India, Sri Lanka and LTTE involved in a bloody mess of affairs. LTTE got obliterated, Sri Lanka got back their country and all India was left with, was a dead ex-prime minister. A sensitive topic as such, warrants mistakes and eventually backlashes for it. However, without meddling into history, messers Raj and DK successfully fashion a tale where instead of clashing ideologies, they pit people against people, who are mere puppets in the hands of their respective administrations. 

The writing in the second season is terrific. Being at the mercy of their government, the audiences sees a plenty of soul-searching and self-introspection by the Indian agents who feel disenchanted by their nature of jobs. Do they make any difference to their lives or for that matter, anyone’s life? Do they serve the ideology of the person chairing the country’s highest post or it’s the post that they serve to protect? As writers, Raj and DK also try to humanise the antagonists. Instead of the typical cardboard villains, they portray the human side of a terrorist. As they spend time working together, a sense of admiration brews between the ISI agent Sajid and the Tamil rebel Raji. Irrespective of their cause, they see the determination, the zeal of getting the work done in each other. Especially Raji. As the rebel, born out of the struggle, her eyes speak for her distrust in society as she keeps mum and allows men to commit atrocities one after other on her. But whenever she gets a chance, she pounces on her enemy, brutalising to the extent of death, thus avenging herself and several others in the process. Moosa, the antagonist from first season had a weakness in his mother, but Raji has none, which makes her the perfect antagonist. This is what makes the second season much superior to the first one. 

In the second season, the show concentrates more on Srikant’s fragile personal life as he tries to gather its pieces. The show begins with Srikant having resigned from TASC, working in an IT firm and trying his best to spend time with his family. Despite his best efforts, he finds himself at a crossroad where his wife has gone further distant, his aloof daughter in perpetual teen angst and an asshole of a boss at work, who berates him for being a “minimum guy”. A true soldier at heart, Srikant does what he does best – he goes back to save his country, of course after beating the shit out of his irritating boss! But as the show progresses, we see how difficult is for an agent to keep his family away from harm and keep himself sane. The show quickly runs through the aftermath of the events of first season, where the Govt chooses to keep the final terrorist attack a secret by labelling it as a gas leakage accident. The agents involved in the operation end up disillusioned and questioning their Govt’s interest in it. Later in the show, despite repeated warnings of a terrorist attack, when the Prime Minister Of India (oddly named Basu yet reminds you of a fiery Bengali CM in saree) doesn’t want to change the meeting place with her Sri Lankan counterpart, the agents express their anguish as it makes them the victims of red tape bureaucracy. Tormented characters and complex scenarios like these, make the show immensely watchable. The show’s highlight is the deadpan hilarity in the weird situations that Srikant finds himself in. In fact, after the Srikant-Raji showdown, the next best thing to watch out for is the camaraderie between Srikant and his team, especially JK and JK’s tryst to get into trouble with his antics such as a rundown with the local law enforcement, addressing a random person as Thambi and enquiring why nobody understands Hindi in Tamilnadu! 

Manoj Bajpayee as Srikant Tiwary and Samantha Akkineni as Raji take the plaudits for their portrayals of the central characters at loggerhead. Manoj Bajpayee proves again why he is the best actor of contemporary times. With his vulnerabilities as a man torn between duty and family, interspersed with self-deprecated humour, he blows the audience away as Srikant. Samantha plays his nemesis Raji, a ruthless Tamil rebel/terrorist. As a woman of fewer words, a dodgy past and a burning desire to achieve her mission at any cost, she soars high. The interrogation scene between Srikant and Raji is something to watch out for. The rest of the cast also performs superbly. Recurring characters such as Sharib Hashmi as JK, Priyamani as Suchi, Dalip Tahil as Chief Kulkarni, Sunny Hinduja as Milind, Shahab Ali as Sajid Ghani, Vedant Sinha as Atharv Tiwari, Ashlesha Thakur as Dhriti Tiwari play out their parts out pretty well. Among the newer cast, Ravindra Vijay as Muthu Pandian and Devdarshini as Ummayal do well. The late Asif Basra plays as the marriage counsellor for Srikant and Suchi. For the brilliant action and chase sequences in the narrow lanes of rural Tamilnadu, some mind-blowing single take shots and a breath-taking climax that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, the credit goes to cinematographer Cameron Eric Bryson.

Go for a binge-watch of the ‘The Family Man’ – Season 2. It’s a terrific, terrific show that’ll keep you engrossed till the end. Must watch!

All 9 episodes of ‘The Family Man’ season 2 are now streaming on Amazon Prime worldwide. Each episode has a run time of 45-60 mins. Rated Adult for Violence, Profanity, Sexual Content.

The Cinemawala Rating: 4/5

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