The existence of The Family Man 2 will be perceived as a seminal moment in Indian cinema. The seamlessness with which the creators integrate the cultural dynamics of this diverse nation and the unassuming sensitivity displayed without the farce of any ‘ism’ is the biggest victory of the show. The aim is to create a cultural and demographic integration but not by announcing their wokeness but as a matter of fact.
The Family Man Season 2 is an actual sequel to the first installment as the events and narrative threards from Season 1 are not handled like an episodic event that has been abandoned to explore a new issue, it is rather skilfully woven into the new mission. The Tamil war that was put on the back burner is set off by certain political manipulations and the sleeper rebels dawn their uniform and embark on the journey of vengeance. Heading this team of Rebels is Raji a wounded tigress that carries her scars like the stripes of a tigress. Samantha plays a scarred beast of a character, growling and roaring through her unforgettable performance. There are a handful scenes that present Samantha with an opportunity to bite into the complexity of the character and her brilliance shines through Raji’s wounds. The performance is so damn affecting that the appreciation for it can only ensue after the camera moves away from her, for when the camera is on her, those eyes leash your senses with a probing agony. Manoj Bajpayee is excellent as Srikanth Tiwari and the two people who eat up the scene are Ravindra Vijay who plays an officer in Tamil, Mutthu and Sharib Hashmi who plays JK Talpade.
The family life of Srikanth Tiwari is fissured more than ever, despite him being a typical ‘ Family Man’ with a 9-5 job. The familial disruption is not as fleshed out as it was in the first season. There are stretches of discomfort among the family members that seem to cause a fatigue in the narrative, especially in the earlier episodes. This minor squabble is handsomely compensated by a ceaselessly galloping narrative as the two sides of the narrative converge and face-off in a nerve-racking encounter which produces an action sequence that is the most brilliantly choreographed shootout ever seen on Indian screen. The later episodes are inundated by such riveting stretches of exceptionally orchestrared faceoffs which are a result of some incredible camera work that pulls off seemingly impossible stretches of dizzying mobility.
The Family Man 2 is probably the most politically charged show to come out of India and it is brave enough to cut through the hush around political situations and present a balanced perspective of all sides and it gets away with it by only siding with human emotion and not human ideology. However the greatest achievement of this show is to metamorphasize into a truly Indian show. Casting a top actress from the south as the prime antagonist and humanizing her to unexpected lengths and including crucial characters from various cultural sensibilities and not being afraid to put off audience with the constant shift in language from Tamil to Hindi to English. The risks it takes is heartwarming for none of the inclusiveness comes at the cost of sincerity. The inclusivity in the series seems as organic as the existence of diversity in our country.
There is an apparent formula or template the writers use but they are skilled enough to camouflage it with interesting characters and fascinating narrative threads, one of which is the coming together of two terrorists fighting for different ideologies but united by a blinding angst. The second season irons out some of the underwhelming aspects of season 1 that seemed removed from the world of the series. With season 2, stakes keep rising as the narrative proceeds. The creators Raj&DK have found the golden pot and have concocted an elixir of entertainment by blending and bending genre stereotypes and putting together a highly entertaining show that respects your intelligence and flies with originality by nonchalantly subverting expectations. The Family Man 2 propels itself into the top league of TV shows with this riveting installment and sets us up for a mouth-watering prospect in Season 3.