The Family Man 2: An Exciting and Unexpected Tale of Spies and Terrorists
Manages to make the world of spies and terrorists relatable
After Sacred Games, director duo Raj & DK’s The Family Man broke the glass ceiling for a universally acclaimed web series back in 2019. It was not only a crowd favourite, it also raised the bar for any forthcoming content.
Viewers of season 1 could not get enough of Manoj Bajpayee in his career defining role as Srikant Tiwari, a government spy struggling to balance his professional and personal life. Needless to say then, expectations from this second season were sky high.
Does season 2 manage to live up to the expectations set by its predecessor? Yes. And it does so by giving us more of what we wanted, on top of things that we never really expected.
Season 2 kicks off months after the cliffhanger ending of the first season. Srikant Tiwari has now left TASC and has joined the corporate sector. He can now afford all the things his family wanted, including his time, but his heart is still stuck in the high octane world of espionage.
The placement of an unapologetically desi character like Srikant in India’s glitzy corporate world is a masterstroke. It not only provides some of the best comic relief episodes in the series, through Srikant’s tedious interactions with his 28 year old ‘Mr Know It All CEO’, it also lays bare the inherent absurdity in the way the corporate world functions in India.
One of the most memorable scenes is when Srikant finally quits his job and goes back to TASC. His outburst at his annoying midget of a boss must mirror the inmost feelings of almost every office employee in India.
And this is where the series steals the show once again – just like in the first season, it manages to make this world of spies, terrorists, guns, and roses relatable for the viewer.
The highlights of the series are the personal moments shared between Srikant and his family, and of course his ever trustworthy sidekick JK Talpade, played by Sharib Hashmi.
The duo deliver another performance so endearing that the audience almost has their heart in their mouth when the possibility of his death comes up.
Given the proclivity of Indian filmmakers for shock character deaths, this would not have been an entirely unreasonable anxiety. Thankfully, Raj and DK veer away from the tested path.
Where the series is slow and a bit of drag are the parts that detail the ‘terrorist plot’, which involves Sri Lankan Tamil freedom fighters planning an attack on the Indian premier.
While it is an attempt by the makers to create multidimensional villains with a proper back story, the time spent on them simply does not pay off.
For the most part, while these scenes play out I found myself wanting to spend more time with Srikant, JK, and Srikant’s wife Suchi.
Samantha Akkineni, who plays the author-backed role of the main antagonist, is simply out of her league in this one. Not having seen any of her previous work, I must venture the guess that she was selected more for her star power than her acting prowess.
She takes one of the most complex, layered, and evocative characters and plays it with the same single expression throughout the entire series. One can only imagine what a more powerful actress could have done with that role.
It is not perfect, but The Family Man packs enough of a punch in its nine episodes to leave us wanting for nine (or ninety?) more. Miss it at your own peril.