The Family Man S2 is a page turner alright. That is, if it was a book.
Well, it’s not so all I can say is, its gripping, nail biting and binge watching happens, even to the best of us who are not usually guilty of this crime. True to expectations, this one is not just as good as S1, but far more better.
What really helps this time is that the series is even more slickly shot with every scene and action stunt, being deftly placed, by Cameron Eric Bryson, known for his work in X Men, The Day After Tomorrow among others.
Former secret service (TASC) agent Shrikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpai) has now become an IT employee in this season and his tumultuous, on the edge of the seat life in secret service, has now transformed into a sedate boring 9 to 5 job where he is told repeatedly by his much younger irritating boss to stop being a ‘minimum’ guy and strive for excellence. Really?
On the other hand, his life as a family man shows a bit of improvement as he tries to make honest efforts to keep his personal life from crumbling, as it was, in S1. Though of course, his attempts to join his disgruntled wife in marital counseling sessions at a therapist results in supremely comic results. Freely interspersed with cuss words, our good man Tiwaris vocabulary is hugely entertaining.
But here’s what. Despite everything, you cant really keep a fish out of water can you?
And so our babu stumbles back into TASC, after quitting his DIY self improvement IT job and before we know it, hes in the thick of the action again. This time they grapple with Sri Lankan militants who are fighting for a Tamil Eelam and have a score to settle with the Indian Prime Minister who is hand in glove with the Sri Lankan PM.
The Indian PM is essayed by Seema Biswas, who is a tad mousy in her body language and pretty much not very impressive. An actor with a stronger personality would have fit the bill better. The only weak link, I thought.
The militants give the TASC agents a tough time, slipping time and again from their hands, as they plan a suicide mission in India. If not for the very interesting character of the retired officer Mr Chellum, who has all the knowabouts and Intel info about how to tackle them, TASC would have remained in the deep sea, despite Tiwaris best efforts. So we see Mr Chellum surfacing in the oddest of spots with the oddest of behaviour, trying to avoid suspicion and yet help them. Just the right mix of comic and serious elements make this character very endearing.
Humour is plentiful here and that’s what prevents it from becoming a dead serious, dull show about agents and terrorism and politics. Whether it is Tiwaris son Atharv whose quick wit cracks you up or his best friend JKs idiosyncrasies or even the camaraderie between the team members, this gives the show, its entertainment value. And yes, everyone should have a best friend cum work buddy like JK. Hes that important to our heros life.
Along with Bajpai, a stellar actor who never makes a false move, the other star of S2 is undoubtedly the wiry, petite and superbly talented southern actress Samantha Akkineni who essays a rebel in the film. Right from her appearance to her body language to her stunts, she absolutely nails it. She’s dangerous, a highly trained asset, moves with animal like precision and can kill without conviction. This role requires serious emoting too and Samantha is just perfect here. Her transformation from a village girl to a trained assassin narrated through her verbal flashbacks is the thread on which the series hangs.
A personal angle is introduced in S2 when Tiwaris teenage daughter is kidnapped and that leads to a nail biting climax at the end of the series. Our family man’s plate is full as he grapples with family life, grapples with militants and finally after a lot of twists and turns, comes out on top of his game. It’s like a rollercoaster ride of various emotions with every scene being skillfully woven into the fabric of the art form.
If too much blood and killings and too much of an adrenaline rush, makes you queasy, this one is not for you. For the ones who enjoy a bit of superlative action and fast paced thrilling scenes, this comes as close as it can to being perfect.