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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Inside Edge 2 first impression: A disappointing second innings

The makers of Inside Edge have attempted to make season two more sensational. While effort has been made to add depth to the characters and layers to the plot, it is all done in a haywire manner.

Written by Arushi Jain | New Delhi | Updated: December 7, 2019 8:31:13 am
Inside Edge Season 2first impression Inside Edge Season 2 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The first season of Inside Edge, Amazon Prime Video’s first Indian original series, had a cliffhanger ending. It wrapped with Mumbai Mavericks co-owner Zarina (Richa Chadha) striking Vikrant Dhawan (Vivek Oberoi) with a cricket bat. Did he die? Did he just get injured? Will he return for revenge? Well, the makers took two years to return with answers to these questions. But the wait doesn’t end here as well. At least, not until the third episode of Inside Edge 2.

The first few episodes of the cricket-based web series doesn’t pick up from where the first season ended. The only hints that establish that there is a backstory are Prashant Kanaujia’s (Sidhanth Chaturvedi) vague nightmares about Devendra Mishra (Amit Sial) whom he shot dead in the first season and Arvind Vashisht (Angad Bedi) joining Haryana Hurricanes to bring justice to his dead coach and friend Niranjan Suri (Sanjay Suri).

For those who haven’t watched the first season or have forgotten what the web series is all about, here’s a quick recap.

Inside Edge revolves around fictional Indian Premier League-like cricket tournament called the Powerplay T20 League or PPL. At the core, it deals with politics, match-fixing, spot-fixing and other scandals of the cricketing world. Mumbai Mavericks, a team owned by Zarina, was a strong contender of the tournament with an able captain Arvinjd Vashisht and an equally able coach Niranjan Suri. Vayu Raghavan (Tanuj Virwani) was the star player but had anger management issues. The team did well until it fell prey to politics and match-fixing. The game got murkier with an evil Vikrant Dhawan becoming co-owner of the Mavericks.

After two murders in the first season and mystery around the third one, I expected the second season to take me on a thrilling ride, but nothing of the sort happened. Instead, with a new season of PPL, I felt I was watching a new show with similar plot and characters. Just that, the characters evolved. But how? What led to the transformation? There’s no explanation.

Richa Chadha’s Zarina is no longer an under-confident, submissive actor and co-owner. She is now a powerful owner of Mumbai Mavericks and an actor with her own production house. Sayani Gupta, an amazing statistician, has a larger role to play in selecting the team of Mavericks. Angad Bedi is the coach and captain of Haryana Hurricanes. Flora Saini is not just there for intimate scenes. She now owns a team. It’s only Tanuj Virwani’s Vayu who is the same hot-headed star player and makes you feel, ‘Oh, we know him.’ The faceless ‘bhaisaab’ of season one now has a face in Aamir Bashir. With maximum screen time, Bashir is convincing as a powerful politician and the head of the Indian Cricket Board.

Just like the first season, the second season also draws from real-life cricket controversies. Remember when IPL was moved to South Africa as the dates coincided with general elections or when some players were charged with doping and spot-fixing?

However, while taking cricket-obsessed Indians behind the scenes of the game, Inside Edge 2 also gets as bizarre as its first season. By the third episode, Vikrant Dhawan (Oberoi) returns to manipulate PPL, but it is made sure he doesn’t forget the pain bhaisaab inflicted on him. And how do we ensure this? Make his wife strangle him until he says he remembers it. Really?! Also, Sidhanth’s character Prashant sees the ghost of his colleague whom he shot dead, and as the ghost talks to him, you wonder if you are watching some Indian TV soap opera.

The makers have attempted to make season two more sensational. While effort has been made to add depth to the characters and layers to the plot, it is all done in a haywire manner.

Verdict: You can watch Inside Edge 2 if you like over-the-top drama.

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