'The Family Man' Season 2 review: Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni power this riveting series
The OTT series smartly straddles family drama and spy thriller genre yet again
‘Aim for perfection and settle for excellence,’ is among the dozen cliched phrases thrown at the jaded Srikant Tiwari (played with aplomb by the excellent Manoj Bajpayee) by his 28-year old jargon-sprouting IT company CEO. Of course, those well-versed with season one of the espionage thriller will know that Srikant is definitely not “the minimum guy.”
So it’s not long before the FOMO-ridden intrepid former NIA (National Investigation Agency) agent chucks his conventional 9-6 desk job to rejoin TASC (Threat Analysis and Surveillance Cell) in hot pursuit of a dreaded terrorist who has joined hands with a deadly opponent to wreak havoc on India.
The action seamlessly moves from Chennai and Mumbai to Jaffna, London and even Normandy as TASC try to piece the puzzle together before the Sri Lankan Tamil Liberation commando and fighter pilot Raaji (Samantha Akkineni in a restrained yet power packed performance) accomplishes her explosive mission.
The Family Man series owes its success to a combination of excellent writing aided by superb cinematography, underlined by some superlative acting, and plot twists that straddle the dynamics of a modern family drama with the essence of a spy thriller.
But even as some rivetting action sequences anchor the story with bullets flying thick and heavy and well-orchestrated chases down narrow alleyways and on rooftops, somewhere the plot falters and you are left twiddling your thumbs waiting for certain scene to pick up pace.
Perhaps Srikant’s wife Suchi’s (Priyamani looking gorgeous but in a one-dimensional role that doesn’t do any justice to Indian wives) angst-ridden character best reflects this. When confronted with the terrifying news that her teenage daughter Dhriti (Ashlesha Thakur who bears an uncanny resemblance to her reel-life mom) has gone missing in the middle of the night, she reacts much like she sleepwalks through the series, in extreme slow-motion.
TFM creators obviously wanted to showcase their central character as the true hero who has to battle not just deadly terrorists from across the borders, but an unfeeling, illogical wife who through the length of the current 9-episode series, is saddled with a dialogue sheet filled with more sighs than actual words. And Sharad Kelkar, is so under-utilized in a role that showcases him as the perfectly understanding colleague with a crush on Suchi, but is not called upon to lift much weight.
Samantha on the other hand gets a meaty role to sink her teeth into with a backstory that is as heart-wrenching as it is terrifying. She’s a quiet presence for much of the series but the scenes where her ferociousness erupts will startle you with its primal nature.
Sharib Hashmi as JK is another standout actor - the bromance between Srikant and him, enlivened by some witty repartees, might seem forced at certain junctures but enliven the proceedings.
We are, of course, in awe of Manoj Bajpayee’s talent but in this series can’t help but admire his well-tailored clothes as well as his crowning glory whose coiffured splendor remains intact even after he has chased a dozen bad guys or been engaged in a deadly shootout in the middle of the night.
The creators Raj and DK have scored big yet again with a homegrown series that is organically Pan Indian and straddles two differing genres with elan.
The Family Man Season 2
Creators: Krishna D.K, Raj Nidimoru
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni, Sharib Hashmi
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Season 2 of The Family Man is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video