Family man review. Best takeaway: #LoveJ!had ka Ram Naam Satya.
Major opinions and spoilers in this piece. Read at own risk.
Manoj, aka Srikant Tiwari has proved yet again that his middle name is versatility. He has the ability to display a variety of emotions, making us truly believe that he is a smooth spy, a loser family guy at times and a terrible parent who allows his spoiled children to blackmail him. Srikant’s struggle with understanding Suchi is perhaps something that all married people can understand well. In one of the interviews, Manoj mentions that being married in real life helped him develop the nuances of the character and this definitely shows. Srikant’s camaraderie with his colleagues is one of the best parts of his character. Also, it is fun to watch him around Arvind as this supposed nemesis is someone Srikant seems to love-hate; he probably wants to be more manly and smooth like Arvind, while realizing that there is no real competition per se. Arvind’s dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge unstated attitude is something Srikant almost seems to give into, sometimes with his body language and other times with the expressions in his eyes.
Suchi is complex, well played by the versatile Priyamani. She brings the character to life as a mother, wife, and a potential cheater (the audience has yet to receive an answer to the million dollar question about what aspired between Suchi and Arvind at the fancy $40 brunch resort at Lonavala). Suchi’s interactions with the kids are genuine and she maintains the subtle balance of a mom-working woman with the backdrop of sexy and unsexy as the scene calls for. This character is something that everyone will strongly feel for, whether it be like or dislike or apathy.
The children are indeed fun; they seem to be learning from the adult actors in real life and this is the most interesting thing about the two little ones who literally seem to grow up on screen in front of us. Atharva is a kid in every home, wanting to play instruments really hard but just plain sucking at it. Even when ridiculed in jest, he is an energizer bunny who just does not believe in giving up. One of the cutest parts is him referring to his mom by her real name as if he’s her elder or equal. Suchi seems to find this endearing in the show as Atharva is rarely corrected.
Milind’s character is solid and he gets a lot of screen time in the second season. The audience might half-hope that Zoya would provide remote support to these guys from behind a screen though somehow the writer and director don’t seem to empower this kick-ass character. Instead, she too is shown forced smoking as part of character degeneration. This character was an efficient firecracker in the first season and she’s rendered pathetic and useless in the second season. This part was super unbelievable and disappointing. Zoya needs to undergo yoga therapy and literally be back on her feet.
Talpade is action, seriousness, comic relief and semi-primary character all rolled into one. He is Srikant’s work-husband more than a work-wife. He also seems to have greater insight into Suchi’s mind as compared to Srikant and this makes his banter with Srikant priceless. The guru-shishya relationship between these two is fun to watch and seems genuine as they coach each other on meanings of emojis or trying to understand women, work, terrorists, etc.
Sister Mary does a great job playing a caregiver and a damsel of sorts. Mary is the understated catalyst which pushes the Moosa story forward. Moosa has her eating out of his hands in no time and she is solely responsible for unleashing the havoc that is Moosa. Moosa too is allowed to explore brilliance on screen by demonstrating a variety of emotions, finally leading up to a full-fledged villain. Even as a bad guy he still has a soft spot for the hell which his mother went through years ago and the guilt and obligation which he feels help the story take a different and important turn.
Sajid is no-nonsense evil. A typical portrayal of a jihadi who is out to kill any kafir which gets in the way, and even kill those kafirs who are not in the way. He is evil to the max and he almost makes Moosa look more humane when the two are done playing bhai-bhai. The other villain – Raji was okay. She was unconvincing as a terrorist and the dark brown face make-up trend needs to end in India. The team could have found a dark beauty to play the ‘I am cute but deadly’ role. Samantha did deliver so we’ll let this slide a bit. She was directed a 1000000x better than Saloni’s weak character. Selva’s confidence and mentoring made the character a tad better.
Kareem seems like the writer-director love child made up to please rabid mullahs. The write and director seem to be living in an Aditya Chopra fantasy trying to portray Kareem as Terrorist Light. Beef bombing a party? Give us a break.
Saloni was a useless character which tried too hard to be cool in jihadi surrounded Kashmir. The super tight clothes were probably cutting off her circulation and she looked like a popular, mean girl who probably would not look at nerdy, uncool young Srikant. She was the second worst part of the show. The worst part was India and #gayaPakistan trying to work together to stop hotter than the desert – aka Major Sameer. Though Sameer looked more like a sleazy, greasy car salesman and not quite a major, he pulled off the pleather jackets and trimmed beard well for a wacko jihadi mullah.
This paragraph is about the end of season two. Stop reading now if you haven’t yet watched the show! This is when the write and director turn into sanghis who never went to shakha. Probably the best part of the season is cute little wannabe jihadi getting butchered for accruing bad karma of #lovejihad, #kidnapjihad, if given a chance, parobably #rapejihad. It was refreshing to see real feminism on display by a semi-woke young lady who is still coming of age. Instead of playing a damsel in distress, she does what she needs to do. After all, har Salman stud nahi hota. Would we call this art imitating reality or reality imitating art in the secular Indian context? Whatever the case, the chapter ended nicely. Too many Hindu females have been duped by “Kalyans.” The reality perhaps would have been that Salman spends two days in jail, and activist buffaloes would hold protests and candle light marches to get him off the hook.
Eagerly waiting for the next season and hope there is even less secular bhaichara crap in the next one.
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