Review Hindi

Undekhi (Season 2) review: Engaging crime saga, but can't measure up to first season

Release Date: 04 Mar 2022


Cinestaan Rating

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Suyog Zore

The second season keeps the viewer hooked with its twists and turns but also includes a few completely illogical scenes that spoil the fun.

Having left viewers perplexed with the abrupt end to the first season in 2020, Undekhi is back with a second season to answer the questions left unasnwered.

Attempting a second season for a show that had a near-perfect first season must have been a challenge for the makers. Have they managed to rise to the task? The short answer is yes. But there is a catch.

Undekhi review: Captivating drama which explores the intrigues of the rich and powerful against the law

There are a few changes this season, the most prominent being in tone. While it's still the same serious drama, the show loses sight of some of its strengths. The first season was a riveting, edge-of-the-seat thriller that also offered hard-hitting social commentary on the divide between the haves and the have-nots, and on how the rich and the influential get away with horrendous crimes and bend the law to their will.

This time, writers Anahata Menon and Deepak Segal have dropped this important aspect of the show altogether, a surprising move because this was what set the show apart from the rash of crime dramas on OTT platforms.

The story begins where it left off in the first season. Rinku (Surya Sharma) has killed Rishi (Abhishek Chauhan) and destroyed the video of Papaji (Harsh Chhaya) gunning down a dancer at the pre-wedding celebration. But bride-to-be Teji (Anchal Singh) and DSP Ghosh (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) have managed to trick Rinku and save the other dancer Koyal (Apeksha Porwal).

Saloni (Ayn Zoya) and Shashwat (Sayandeep Sengupta) have also managed to get away and are hiding from Rinku's men who are looking for them everywhere. Meanwhile, it turns out that the Atwals are also involved in drug trafficking. They provide security to godowns of a multinational company, Azra Esher.

Anchal Singh as Teji

The murders create a rift between the Atwals and Azra Esher and Teji and Daman (Ankur Rathee) decide to use it to their advantage and get a foothold in the business. Elsewhere, Koyal is recovering from her wounds after being saved by new entrant Abhaya (Meiyang Chang) who works in a monastery.

While the first season focused on the main plot, this time there are several subplots moving ahead at once. Anahata Menon and Deepak Segal's screenplay moves at a brisk pace. Like in the first season, the makers keep the viewer glued to the screen throughout the 10 episodes. But the method used is different.

The pace of the show doesn't give the viewer time to think and director Ashish R Shukla and his writers use this to slip in a few impractical scenes. But the tactic backfires after a while as the sheer stupidity of these scenes ruins some crucial moments, like hiding a truckload of contraband drugs in a jungle for days, breaking easily into a house and godown guarded by men with automatic weapons and knocking someone senseless with one kick or punch, not to forget all that kung fu and martial arts.

The first season offered a realistic portrayal of how a crime family handles its business. In the second, the makers have opted for a more filmi style, which is evident even in the way some of the scenes have been shot. But one can't deny the show is entertaining.

Surya Sharma as Rinku

The emotional heft of the first season is missing, however. Daman and Saloni don't talk about their friends who were killed brutally in front of their eyes. It is as if these people are in such a hurry and there are so many things going on at the same time that they don't even have time to stop and mourn their friends.

The show doesn't acknowledge the absence of Rishi enough. He was such an important part of the first season and you would think his death would have long-term repercussions and probably come back to haunt the Atwals, but there is nothing beyond a few mentions here and there.

The second season also introduces new characters and expands the story's universe. Nothing wrong there — it helps to keep things fresh, provided these characters play important parts in the story. But here the writers struggle. Some of the characters are quite one-dimensional and don't add much to the plot. Some, in fact, slow it down. A case in point is Rinku's wife Muskan (Shivangi Singh). Apart from one scene, the character adds nothing to the plot. The actress also fails to rise to the level set by the other artistes.

Where this season matches the previous one is in the performances of the ensemble cast. Surya Sharma is excellent yet again as the fierce and unpredictable Rinku. The actor doesn't hit a single wrong note. One can say the same for Harsh Chhaya as the permanently inebriated Papaji. He has immersed himself in the role. One does wish we got to see more shades to the character. But Chhaya is, without a doubt, the best performer this time too.

Ankur Rathee and Anchal Singh get more opportunities in the second season to show their acting prowess. Anchal Singh, especially, nails the grey shades of her character. Ayn Zoya and Sayandeep Sengupta have also done their jobs well, though they don't have much to do this season.

The new entrants are Nandish Singh Sandhu as Azra Esher's distribution manager for India and Meiyang Chang as Abhaya. The latter doesn't get much scope in his role but does a good job nonetheless in the few scenes he is present in. Sandhu is believable as Samarth.

The big disappointment is the reduced screentime for Dibyendu Bhattacharya. He simply disappears for more than six episodes. With so much going on, Apeksha Porwal is sidelined. The actress doesn't have a single scene worth mentioning. She has to be completely silent or screaming her head off.

While the new season falls short when compared with the first one, it manages to hold attention with the shorter length and rapid pace. Each episode is 35 minutes on an average and once you are invested in the proceedings, you don't feel like getting up until you have finished the season.

Undekhi (Season 2) is now available on SonyLIV.

 

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