The second season of Mumbai Diaries has Nikkhil Advani and the team shifting the timeline to tell us the dramatized version of the 2005 Mumbai floods. Just like the first season, even though the action mainly happens outside, Advani and his writers take the story and its angst to the Bombay General Hospital, making it that sample space of the bigger picture. It was a bit too filmy in terms of dialogue and drama in the initial episodes. But, gradually, as the numerous subplots started to merge towards the end, I sort of found myself rooting for the story’s emotion rather than nitpicking.
Seven months after the 26/11 attack, Dr. Kaushik Oberoi is under scrutiny as the martyred ATS officer Anant Kelkar’s wife had lodged a medical negligence case against him. Diya Parekh’s statement was also used against Oberoi in court, and the working environment in the Bombay General Hospital also had an impact because of all this drama. We see the story of that one night when the flooding started, and all these people had to put aside their differences and personal trauma to save the city’s people.
The series graph is somewhat opposite in terms of rhythm in the second season. Dr. Oberoi, who was in this rebel mode throughout the first season, is on a defensive track. So, unlike the first season, where we were shown how hectic the ER and other facilities are, the second season has a sedated pace, depicting the state of mind of most of the characters. But as the elements of flood start to kick in and the action gets going, you overlook the filmy aspects of the writing. The subplots in the series include various categories of personal problems, and even though their entry points weren’t that smooth, they blended with the main narrative gradually.
More than the writing, I would say the making creates palpable drama in the story. Nikkhil Advani predominantly uses the hospital and its interiors to convey the story. Every other subplot in the movie is in some way connected to the hospital. The abusive relationship of Chitra, the career conundrum of Oberoi, the orthodox mother of Sanjana, Ahaan’s feeling of not being heard, Sujatha’s constant fight against protocol, etc., all manages to get a conclusion that sort of works. The limited lights on the visuals are definitely helping the series to create the desired level of tension.
As Dr. Oberoi, who is more vulnerable and confused this time, Mohit Raina was convincing in that character. Konkona Sen Sharma as Chitra Das gets more space this time as the story explores her personal track more, and she was really good at pulling off that confused character. The characters Ahaan, Diya, and Sujata have more prominence this time, and Satyajeet Dubey, Natasha Bharadwaj, and Mrunmayee Deshpande delivered top-notch performances as those characters. Parambrata Chattopadhyay is there in the cast this time as the abusive husband of Chitra Das. Even though his London accent sounded a bit forced, the psychopathic transition was perfect on screen. Prakash Belawadi, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Tina Desai, Balaji Gauri, Vidya Paul, and a few more names are reprising their roles from the previous season very impressively.
On a craft level, I would compare it with the recent Malayalam blockbuster 2018. The script is a bit template-ish. Dialogues are mostly filmy. But, the characters’ emotions and willpower will connect with the viewers as the story goes toward the final moments. “Difficult to sit through” is a term I usually associate with terrible creations. But I feel the quality of Mumbai Diaries Season 2 is so good in terms of cinematography and production design that I think calling it a difficult-to-sit-through creation will be an appreciation for the effort.
The quality of Mumbai Diaries Season 2 is so good in terms of cinematography and production design that I think calling it a difficult-to-sit-through creation will be an appreciation for the effort.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended