Clubbing the relatable middle-class life of an average Indian with the life of a secret agent was what made Raj and DK’s The Family Man an instant hit among the Indian audience. Well, much like any other show, the emphasis of the new season is to make it bigger and wider, and they have managed to do that very convincingly without deviating from the core elements that made the series loveable. Without necessarily trying to demonize or glorify the hunter and the hunted, The Family Season 2 manages to keep you hooked onto the content by shuffling between the multiple narratives in a thoroughly engrossing manner.
Following the gas plant incident in New Delhi, Srikant Tiwari couldn’t handle it any further, and he decided to leave TASC. Now he is working in an IT company, but we are shown that he can’t really keep himself out from the excitements of the TASC operations. The arrest of a key member of the Srilankan Tamil’s Exile Government causes some major headaches for the Indian officials, and an adamant PM makes it even tougher for them as her provoking decisions made her a target for the Srilankan rebels. In The Family Man Season 2, we see TASC trying to stop an attack on the PM, who is going to host a diplomatic meeting with the Srilankan President at Chennai.
At its core, what we see in season 2 is the same story. Srikanth is managing his personal tensions and professional tensions parallelly. But what is good here is that there is an expansion happening in terms of the way Srikant is looked at. And the switch between the tracks is also pretty seamless. From Raji’s dark reality, they are cutting to this hilarious birthday celebration of Suchi, and we don’t feel much of an imbalance. And the way humor is embedded into serious moments is also amazing. I cracked up when Srikant googled the word Sham in the middle of a conversation. Because that’s me every time I use a fancy word in any of my reviews. JK’s tension for his phone and Srikant asking him to email TASC etc., are lighter moments that just make it relatable and, to an extent, believable.
The second season has so many characters, yet I feel it has done a better job giving background to all those characters. Be it the already established one like Sunny Hinduja’s Milind or a new one like Anandsami’s Selvarasan, they take us into the headspace of many of them without much visual footage. The rage with which Raji deals with those who try to take advantage of her was enough to show us what she had gone through in the past. Coming to Srikant’s life also, the story is evolving to the next level. The focus on Dhriti and Suchi is more now, and there is a reason for that.
You can’t really assign a specific genre to something like The Family Man. And I feel that is indeed its USP. Even though it is your secret agent saga, the grounded feel is too good. In a series that deals with a terrorist attack on Indian PM, we have a middle-class family at the center of it. Husband and wife are going through a major emotional crisis, and the kids are seeing the changes in their parents. Raj and DK manage to merge these two different layers of drama very convincingly here. The moral grey space in the job done by these folks is addressed in the second season. They are mere pawns in the hands of the people in power, and they are hated by a lot for the things they had to do. There is a point in the series where the discussion among TASC members reaches the conclusion that Raji and the gang are terrorists from our perspective, and from their perspective, they are freedom fighters.
In terms of visual narrative, Raj and DK maintain a particular grammar similar to the first season. When it is solely Tiwari, the mood and even the color palette are on the brighter side. Whenever the narrative goes to Raji, the visuals are on the darker side with heavy shadows. Their humor in writing is smart, and it’s fun to see them plug the financial restrictions of these officers in various areas. As I mentioned in the beginning, there is no attempt to frame the Srilankan Rebels as a bunch of evil people. Through various sequences, we do get an idea that they are doing most of it out of a necessity to be heard rather than an attempt to encroach. In the hunt for Raji and gang, the script structuring is such that we are shown the tensed bits of chasing and gunfire largely. And every action sequence is conceived in a breathtaking way. There are multiple fight sequences here, and Raj & DK have pushed themselves here by creating more single-take action sequences.
Manoj Bajpayee is simply fantastic as Srikant Tiwari. From being this witty guy who can’t resist his urge to know about TASC operations to a determined officer and then to this composed father, Bajpayee shuttles between these different zones without too many drastic variations. As Suchi this time, Priyamani has space for more of an internalized performance, and she portrayed the dilemma within that character in a believable way. Samantha Akkineni, the new addition to the series, who plays Raji, was really impressive. The sequence that shows her real identity was a top-notch sequence powered by solid acting and terrific sound design. Raj and DK aren’t showing any past footage of Raji that shows us the trauma through which she went through, but her performance in certain sequences could show us how badly she is bruised inside. Yeah, her makeup was a distraction at one point, but she managed to make us overlook that flaw very quickly.
Sharib Hashmi as JK was fun to watch. Shahab Ali as Sajid and Dharshan Kumar as major Sameer are reprising their roles in this season as well. Even though the space is minimal, Sunny Hinduja as Milind delivers a memorable performance. Vedant and Ashlesha, as Atharv and Dhriti, were really good, and it’s fun to see their growing chemistry. Mime Gopi and Azhagam Perumal looked convincing as the two heads of the rebel movement.
There is one thing that I found really unique and appreciable about The Family Man; they are not deliberately trying to make it a “Hindi” show. The ignorance and generalization made by others about south Indian people get mocked in the series, and the language you hear in the series is authentic (it’s not the google translate version of a Hindi dialogue). If you look at The Family Man Season 2 as this secret agent story, you might feel that the climax is slightly on the noisy side. But when you look at it as Srikant Tiwari’s mega hustle, the series does offer you some quality entertainment.
When you look at it as Srikant Tiwari's mega hustle, the series does offer you some quality entertainment.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended