Mirzapur S2 review

A darker, more satisfying follow-up that eschews sex and violence in favour of drama

Rony Patra -

Mirzapur S2 review

What is the story about?

After the explosive finale of Season 1, Guddu Pandit and Golu Gupta are on the run, Munna Tripathi has somehow managed to escape from the wedding massacre he started, and Kaleen Bhaiya is trying his best to keep the reins of Mirzapur and embrace the hot seat in the topsy-turvy world of politics. But as old foes plot Kaleen’s downfall, and new players enter the scene, can he keep his kingdom intact?

Analysis

There was too much happening in Season 1 of Mirzapur, almost as if creator Puneet Krishna and ex-creator Karan Anshuman were in a hurry to use all ingredients possible to create a raw gangster saga. Krishna, with showrunner duties for Season 2, never lets go of all the drama that Season 1 saw, with the Gorakhpur wedding massacre in Season 1 becoming the reason why most of the subplots exist in this season. But he does two smart things here. Firstly, he and his directors Gurmmeet Singh and Mihir Desai deliberately tone down the sex and violence, which was an infamous hallmark of Season 1. Secondly, the makers decide to keep the focus on the drama, and increase the radius of the show, in which the city of Mirzapur represents only a vital cog in the matrix of power in Uttar Pradesh.
In this season, a lot of developments take place in Lucknow, in addition to Ballia and Siwan in Bihar, but everyone's eye is on the prize—the kingship of Mirzapur. This season, however, sees the development of all characters, with their motivations getting delineated further. The issues of revenge and legitimacy that plagued Munna in the last season, are also reflected in various other subplots involving Beena, Kaleen bhaiya's wife and her newborn; the Tyagi family of Siwan; Sharad Shukla, the scion of Jaunpur, and even Madhuri Yadav, the daughter of the chief minister who later takes matters into her own hands. The way in which all these storylines culminate at the end of the season provides you satisfaction, even as various moments from Season 1 get name-checked throughout the narrative. Compared to Season 1, this season is more focussed and knows exactly what to do with its characters. And that is an impressive achievement.

Performances

While Pankaj Tripathi and Divyenndu are confident in their roles as usual, Ali Fazal, true to the motivations of his character in Season 2, is impressively low-key, while Shweta Tripathi Sharma's Golu becomes a lioness in this season. Rasika Dugal's Beena Tripathi reveals her ruthless side, and it is a treat to watch. Vijay Verma has a very interesting subplot with a lot of ramifications for the future. Anjum Sharma keeps the pot boiling as Sharad, while Shaji Chaudhary's Maqbool gets his own arc. Ultimately though, it's Isha Talwar's formidable Madhuri who really becomes someone to watch out for. Other cast members, such as Priyanshu Painyuli, Shernavaz Jijina, Lilliput, Anil George, Amit Sial and others are great in their respective roles too.

 

Music & Other Departments

Sanjay Kapoor's cinematography captures the grime and deceit of eastern UP as impressively as the power and opulence of Lucknow in detail. John Stewart Eduri's score keeps the proceedings impressively boiling. The casting by Abhishek Banerjee and Anmol Ahuja is spot-on. Anand Bhaskar also composes a number of songs which pepper the narrative, with Tittar Bittar standing out during an impressively-filmed action sequence.

 

Highlights

Watch out for the climax, that ties up a lot of storylines, references a lot of moments in Season 1, and is an unintentional tribute to numerous action films such as Parinda and Dabangg 2.

Drawbacks

Even though the intrigues of the subplots do provide with a couple of strong female characters, the lack of a female in the writers’ room for this show shows up in the narrative in more ways than one. The makers would do well to correct this anomaly going forward.

Did I enjoy it?

Yes. The excessive use of sex and violence (including that bloody finale) had put me off while watching Season 1, and it is impressive to see the writers tone down these elements and give us a gripping gangster drama instead.

Do I recommend it?

Yes. I wouldn’t have recommended the first season to anyone, but the second season is better plotted and finds a way to reference various iconic moments of Season 1 even while creating something original. The focus is on the drama, rather than the sex and violence that made it popular. Go for it.


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