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Monday, November 23, 2020

Mirzapur 2 review: Amazon Prime Video series gives you a sense of deja vu

Mirzapur season two fails to learn from the mistakes of season one. There are some improvements, sure. Production quality has gone up; it no longer feels and looks like a telefilm from the nineties that used to air on Doordarshan. But everything else gives you a sense of deja vu.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Ektaa Malik | Updated: October 24, 2020 7:22:37 am
Mirzapur 2Mirzapur 2 is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Mirzapur 2 director: Gurmmeet Singh and Mihir Desai
Mirzapur 2 cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Divyenndu Sharmaa, Ali Fazal, Shweta Tripathi, Rasika Dugal, Harshita Shekhar Gaur, Sheeba Chaddha, Rajesh Tailang, Amit Sial, Isha Talwar, Priyanshu Painyuli, Anjum Sharma, Vijay Varma
Mirzapur 2 rating: Two stars

While the backbone of Mirzapur, economically speaking, is the carpet weaving and brassware industries — not to mention the illicit trade of country-made guns — the one other profession that will surely thrive in this small Uttar Pradesh city, will be that of therapists. Clearly, the local population and the main protagonists of the show have had a lot on their minds since we last met them. Some noteworthy cast members had been killed off in the last season’s blood-soaked finale, leaving the audience and the residents of Mirzapur reeling. A session or two with a friendly therapist might just come in handy for the most part. Those sessions will go a long way in addressing the oh-so-dominant daddy issues that almost everyone in the cast seems to have in abundance; we will come to that later.

We see Guddu Pandit (Ali Fazal), Golu (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) and Dimpy (Harshita Gaur) who are on the run, which is a tad difficult as Guddu has been shot in the knee, on the other hand, we see Akhandanand Tripathi aka Kaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) sitting on the bedside of injured Munna Bhaiya, the unhinged son, who had been shot five times in the back. And a game of cat and mouse ensues, though it takes a long convoluted way to figure out who’s the cat and who’s the mouse. The prize though remains the same, from last season — the reign of Mirzapur.

There are some new players in the fray: Sharad Shukla, son of Rati Shankar who was killed by Guddu Pandit last season; there are the Tyagis from Siwan, who deal in everything from stolen cars to liquor; and there are the new alliances where the CM of Uttar Pradesh is now on first-name basis with Kaleen Bhaiya. It’s exhausting to keep with the constant backstabbing, the constant hustle and backhanded deals that seem to fuel this desire for revenge, the recurring theme of season two. Everyone is out for something, and that single-minded pursuit seems to justify everything.

Mirzapur season two is essentially a feud between four sets of fathers and their sons. The Pandits, The Tripathis, the Shuklas and the Tyagis, the father-son duo in all these clans are at loggerheads. All upper-caste men, dealing with their overbearing, controlling fathers and doing everything to step out of their father’s shadow. The above-mentioned therapist will have a field day when left alone in a room with Munna Bhaiya or even Junior Tyagi. The daughters assert themselves, albeit sporadically. Golu Gupta, who debuted with the rather unnecessary and out-of-place masturbation scene last season, has an interesting journey, but yet it leaves a lot to be desired. Similarly for Beena (Rasika Duggal), who decides to cut her losses and does whatever it takes to survive after a rather traumatic finale. Certain plot points have been introduced to tick off boxes, to make sure the show looks and promotes an image of a ‘progressive, liberal, strong woman,’ but it all reeks of tokenism. Everything rings hollow and is downright jarring most of the time.

Mirzapur season two fails to learn from the mistakes of season one. There are some improvements, sure. Production quality has gone up; it no longer feels and looks like a telefilm from the nineties that used to air on Doordarshan. But everything else gives you a sense of deja vu. We even see a recreation of a famous scene from The Godfather, the one where someone comes to propose the selling of drugs to Don Vito Corleone, and the ageing Mafia don declines, while being interrupted by his younger offspring. The one in Mirzapur involves Dadda Tyagi (Lilliput) and Bharat Tyagi, and all we can think of was Marlon Brando. We have seen all this many, many times. Everyone speaks in one-liners, the dialoguebaazi gets heavy, and each dialogue is supposed to hold pearls of wisdom. But you cannot help but roll your eyes, because there is only as many times as we can hear lines like “Kuch log bahubali paida hote hain, kuch ko banana padta hai,” or “Rone se kamzoor to nahin pad jayenge naa.” Etc etc etc.

It’s sad, that in 2020, when the world is figuring out a new way to live, and plenty of new narratives and ideas are being churned out, yet the show makers are still abiding by the same archaic, formulaic ways of storytelling that were relevant twenty years ago. By the sixth episode, every new development in the season could be predicted a mile away. For someone not initiated into the alternate world of Mirzapur, they will find it difficult to tell season one and season 2 apart. The same trigger happy scenes, mindless violence and gore. Amazon Prime Video has tagged Mirzapur as one of its flagship shows, and apparently it’s hugely popular, but we don’t have the requisite numbers to back this statement. We suppose that people who like it, they do for the cheap thrills and what they feel is a portrayal of the crime and political nexus in the Indian hinterland. But then why do we see caste given a customary nod, with just a couple of scenes? Mirzapur, apart from the intonation in the dialect used — which is also the same right from Lucknow to Siwan, the horror — could be set anywhere.

Also read: Cast on Mirzapur 2Divyenndu Sharmaa | Shweta Tripathi | Amit Sial | Harshita Gaur | Rajesh Tailang | Rasika Dugal Vijay Varma | Anjum Sharma

Mirzapur season two doesn’t yet fall into the category of ‘its soo bad that its good,’ nor does it fit into the ‘guilty pleasure’ slot. It’s aiming to be a food court on the top of a shopping mall, serving everything for everyone — sex, violence, some lame attempts at humour, crass language and some ‘liberal ideals’. Sadly it ends up being a badly prepared north-Indian thali, which you order at a food court, as its the cheapest thing there and its the end of the month.

Mirzapur Season 2 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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