Byline By – Balkrishna
The Family Man is back after a two-year gap to re-examine the challenges of saving the nation, as well as the mysteries of marriage. The second season of the Amazon Prime Video web series created by Raj & DK invents a new enemy and resurrects an old adversary. Meanwhile, ace undercover intelligence agent Srikant (Manoj Bajpayee) grapples with the twin tasks of preventing a 9/11-style attack and protecting his brood.
In the first season, Srikant’s wife Suchitra (Priya Mani) was drifting towards her hunky colleague Arvind (Sharad Kelkar). Their daughter Dhriti (Ashlesha Thakur) and son Atharv (Vedant Sinha) were victims of the marital tension.
Srikant’s efforts to prevent a nerve gas attack orchestrated by an Indian member of the Islamic State with the help of Kashmiri terrorists and Pakistani intelligence had resulted in the death of an innocent student. Two members of Srikant’s team sustained physical and mental injuries in the process.
His marriage still resembles a train-wreck in slow motion. The question of just how Srikant and Suchitra got together in the first place bedevils the second season too. The secrecy that characterised Srikant has infected his daughter Dhriti, who has a boyfriend tucked away.
Chief among these still-roaring Tigers – called “rebels” throughout the series – is Raji. She has a tragic back story that fails to inspire sympathy or identification. There is no occasion to feel sorry for the woman who slaughters at will.
Samantha Akkineni plays Raji with strong-jawed determination and make-up that resembles the Cherry Blossom shoe polish’s light tan shade. Tamil Nadu has no shortage of actors who could have portrayed Raji without brownface, but the lure to boost the series with a big-name star appears to have been hard to resist.
The performances are as sharp as ever, both from recurring and new actors. Playing an unlikely and often unlikable hero, Manoj Bajpayee perfectly conveys his character’s monomaniacal sense of duty and disastrous social skills. Priya Mani’s Suchitra continues to be the show’s beating heart. Ashlesha Thakur is excellent as Dhriti, who faces her demons with her mother’s doughtiness and her father’s acumen.