05 Jun 2021: 'The Family Man 2' review: Samantha Akkineni elevates brilliant script
The Family Man 2, starring Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni, is now streaming on Amazon Prime. This season by creators Raj and DK has Srikant Tiwari (Bajpayee) going head-to-head with rebel fighter Raji (Akkineni). It explores the Sri Lankan-Tamil conflict, and the rebel armies that cropped up to fight the State's oppression. The season is thought-provoking, intense, and all things good. Here's our review.
Plot: Srikant comes out of retirement; takes on a dangerous mission
Srikant has quit TASC after the last mission, and has taken up a mundane IT job in order to keep the wife and kids happy. But Suchi (Priyamani) and he are still arguing, over a secret she's harboring and won't tell him. The conflict at home (and the FOMO) makes him quit retirement, and go on a mission to foil a high-profile assassination attempt.
Story: A megalomaniac leader and the overlap of seasons
The megalomaniac PM of India, Ms. Basu, arranges for bilateral talks with Sri Lankan president, just to caress her ego, knowing fully well that it'll be a national security nightmare. We also see the antagonists from Season 1, Major Sameer and gang, teaming up with the chief of the rebel army, who's looking out to avenge his brother's death, and assassinate both the leaders.
Star performance: Samantha Akkineni steals the show; makes you think
Enter Raji. Akkineni is a revelation. We hardly see her talk throughout the season, but whenever she shares about the atrocities she has gone through (being raped by hundreds of soldiers, and her family getting wiped out), we are forced to think who really are the bad guys here. Her action sequences are gory, but a treat to watch. She gets Raji spot-on.
Fact: Protest against show seemed misguided; no insult to Tamil population
To recall, the show had to face a lot of opposition, with people demanding a ban for its portrayal of Tamils. But, watching the show in its entirety makes it clear that it only talked about atrocities on Sri Lankan-Tamils by the Sri Lankan army.
Acting: Bajpayee and other supporting cast make the show special
Bajpayee, as always, is a treat to watch. Dishing out funny one-liners in the middle of a tense situation, and his camaraderie with Talpade (Sharib Hashmi) put life into scenes. Vedant Sinha playing Srikant's son Atharv isn't just cute, but also has a surprising command over his acting. Priyamani, going through the internal and marital conflict, does a good job talking with her eyes.
Production: Script, camera, execution: Everything is on point
The script is tight, even with so many sub-plots running simultaneously. The handling of camera is a masterclass on camera work and cinematography. It mixes handheld and crane shots effortlessly and you feel that you are experiencing everything real-time. The background score heightens an ominous sequence without any forced effort. The original scores, along with background music, are enough to give you the chills.
Fact: Let's hope the Chinese don't protest against Season 3!
The season ends with a summary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then we see a man, probably Chinese, talking to someone in China saying that people are "distracted" now, and it was time to put their plan in motion. In essence, Season 3 is confirmed!
Verdict: 'The Family Man 2' is a must watch; gets 4.5/5
This season surpasses the last one in its intensity. The suspense and adrenaline rush are unmatched. By the end of The Final Act, I barely had any nails left! This one will entertain you, but also make you ponder about power-politics, and feel for the martyrs who lose their lives. There are a few loopholes, but they can be easily overlooked. Verdict: 4.5/5 stars.
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