One of the critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for any brand is associating itself with a rich brand image so that it doesn’t need any more marketing. I believe it is fair to say that in 2020, Amazon Prime has achieved just that when it comes to producing and curating Indian content. “Panchayat‘, ‘Paatal Lok,’ ‘Breathe: into the Shadows‘ – each show has immaculate storylines followed by spectacular performances and equally robust production design. Let’s add another show to Amazon’s mantle – Mirzapur season 2.
After a successful first season in 2018, Mirzapur is back continuing the story which left us with a cliffhanger nearly two years ago. For people who don’t know, Mirzapur is an action crime drama series produced by Excel Entertainment for Amazon Prime. Season two follows the life of Govind Pandit ‘Guddu Bhaiya’ (Ali Fazal) and his retribution towards the Tripathi family for killing his brother Vinay Pandit ‘Bablu Bhaiya’ (Vikrant Massey) and his wife Sweety Gupta (Shriya Pilgaonkar) in the first season. While season 1 was focused more on the crimes in Mirzapur and the Tripathi family that ruled the major crime syndicate in the city, season 2 expands the storyline to cover other families that rule different parts of the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh while keeping the Tripathi family as the primary focus.
The series deserves every appreciation in the book, but only if it is not compared with its first season. While the first season was focused on murders and the city’s lawless nature, season 2 has transitioned to the characters’ cerebral and emotional arc. From a tough mobster to a deflated father, from an angry macho-man to an emotionally hurt brother, from a psychopath spoilt brat to a caring husband, from a tough henchman to a dutiful son, we see every character being developed in season two from what transpired in season one.
Coming to the performances, I have absolutely no words to describe Pankaj Tripathi. How does someone deliver every performance as if it was specially written for him? Pankaj Tripathi does a magnificent job portraying ‘Kaleen Bhaiya’ in which he commands respect right from the first scene. He brings a certain aura to the screen, and you can’t help but notice him – regardless of his screen time. When his character was written, it had almost equal curse words (if not more) as everyone in the show. Pankaj Tripathi requested to remove them as he believed he could pull off the character with minimal foul language, and boy, did he deliver! I saw a meme that Pankaj Tripathi‘s nodding of the head deserves an Oscar, and I totally endorse it. Not the award, but the acknowledgment and appreciation!
Not just Pankaj Tripathi, every actor in this show deserves appreciation., Divyendu Sharma, who plays the role of ‘Phoolchand Tripathi’ a.k.a. ‘Munna Bhaiya’, acts in such a powerful manner that you can’t help but hate him, and other times, you feel sad for him as he doesn’t know any better. Ali Fazal portrays his role in an equally thoughtful manner in which you see his character evolving from a tough guy to someone who grows up to modify his behavior to not hurt his loved ones. Shweta Tripathi, who plays the role of ‘Gajgamini Gupta a.k.a. Golu Gupta’, has given a credible performance to stand up on her own in the male patriarchal backdrop of Mirzapur. Speaking of strong female characters, I want to mention Rasika Dugal, who plays the role of ‘Beena Tripathi’ (Kaleen Bhiaya’s wife), has given a stellar performance in which we witness her conniving nature metamorphosing to the next level of deceit. Coming a long way from acting in just one scene in Slumdog Millionaire, Anjum Sharma gives a noteworthy performance as Munna’s new ally (with a hidden agenda) as ‘Sharad Shukla’. While a few of my friends were a little unsure about Vijay Varma’s role & where it was left off, let me give them a clue – focus on the ring in his hand (wink wink!).
Although this person doesn’t act in the second season, let us take a moment to appreciate the skillful artist – Abhishek Banerjee who plays ‘Compounder’ in season 1. Not many people know, but Abhishek Banerjee is also the show’s casting director, and this show started casting its actors in 2017. I am confident that without Abhishek Banerjee‘s casting, this show wouldn’t have reached its glory that it has today. Speaking of other technicians, I also liked the editing by Manan Mehta and Anshul Gupta and the cinematography of Sanjay Kapoor.
I know many people would disagree with me, but let me be the first to state that there is a little similarity between the characters and the sequence of Mirzapur and that of Game of Thrones. Not giving away too much detail, the last episode of Mirzapur season 1 reminded me of the Red Wedding episode in Game of Thrones. Apart from that, in both shows, we witness an illicit relationship between a father and his son’s love interest, and a castration. As for character references, we see a Joffrey-like psychopathic entitled spoiled brat and a Tyrion-like character in Mirzapur. Need I go on?!
Reviewed by Puneet Ruparel