PS: This review is based on six episodes viewed by the writer.
October 23rd is here and the premiere of the second season of ‘Mirzapur’, the most anticipated crime thriller from the vault of Amazon Prime Video has finally landed, much to the excitement of its most ardent fans. I’m happy to report that despite a slow beginning, the show manages to deliver much of what its trailer promised. Revenge and the lust for ultimate power is running deep within the veins of the show’s protagonists.
The story kicks in from where it ended. Guddu (Ali Fazal) and Golu (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) are teething in rage even as they bereave the loss of their loved ones, Sweety (Shriya Pilgoankar) and Bablu (Vikrant Massey), both who were massacred by Munna (Divyenndu) at a wedding. They’ve sworn revenge and will go to any lengths to fulfil their resolve. With his arch rival Rati Shankar Shukla wiped out of his path, Kaleen Bhaiyya now Akhandanand Tripathi (Pankaj Tripathi) nurtures his political ambitions and will exploit everything in his favour to achieve his goals. Rati Shankar’s son Sharad (Anjum Sharma) wishes to avenge the brutal murder of his father, which makes him tread the forbidden path. Meanwhile, Beena (Rasika Dugal) is overcoming the grief and trauma of being sexually abused by her father-in-law. The quest for revenge and power is running wild around the terrains of Mirzapur and the one who lasts is the one who’ll rule.
Directed by Gurmmeet Singh and Mihir Desai, the story, written by Puneet Krishna and Vineet Krishna, pretty much sticks to the template laid down by the previous season by retaining the milieu of the UP badlands. The pacing is visibly but intentionally slow because the screenplay invests considerable time in adding layers to existing and new characters. The second season introduces Vijay Verma, Isha Talwar and Priyanshu Painyuli with their character arcs designed significantly. What is particularly interesting about the show is that the conflicts unearth deep-hidden vulnerabilities of each character above and beyond their superficial flaws. Sanjay Kapoor’s cinematography and the production design by Sonam Singh and Abhijit Gaonkar add further relatability to the plot. Manan Mehta and Ashwin Gupta’s editing ensures that the proceedings are engaging despite each episode stretching to an hour.
The biggest glue binding viewers to the show are the exemplary performances by the cast. Each actor being the best today on the Indian digital space. Tripathi brings a quietude and respectability to his Mafioso act, a trademark which he masters. He is dubious and emphatic in equal measure while maintaining a straight face. Fazal’s Guddu has matured post the death of his wife and unborn child. The actor does a great job of internalising the tragedy to channel his strength. Divyenndu’s Munna isn’t a reckless beast unlike his act in the previous season. One sees a deep set sadness and vulnerability that the actor occasionally emotes. But the show this time belongs to its ladies. Moving away from her books, Shweta’s Golu finds shades of herself, which even she was unaware of. It’s a meatball of a character shift and Shweta puts her best foot forward. Rasika’s Beena, while reeling from a traumatic experience finds determination and resolve to bend the rules of men and have her way. Equally interesting is the character arc given to Harshita Gaur’s Dimpy, who frankly had precious little to do in the previous season. Isha Talwar is compelling as Madhuri, a young widow with political aspirations.
As a fan of hinterland crime dramas and the show’s ensemble cast in particular, the wait for ‘Mirzapur 2’ has proven to be worthwhile.