What is the story about?
Three years after the infamous bank robberies of 1975, the Senapati family has become really powerful in the red-light area of Sonagachhi in Kolkata. However, the noose is constantly tightening around their necks, as police and rival gangs are constantly encircling them. Is it the beginning of the end for the Senapatis?
When Addatimes unleashed the first season of The Senapatis a couple of years ago, it was okay, but nothing memorable. The part that stood out in Arnab Riingo Banerjee’s crime saga was the fascinating blend of fact and fiction that he brought to the table, with the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh playing a key role in the first season. In this second season, he decides to tell a bigger story—the next stage of the Senapatis’ rise—and sets it against the backdrop of the Naxalite movement, but he is also mindful of other changes in the crime landscape, such as the continued reign of Haji Mastan in Bombay. The fact that he has twelve episodes at his disposal allows his story to breathe a lot, and give each character a bit of an arc.
Unfortunately, even though Banerjee is fascinated by the crime genre, he tries to pack in too much. For most parts of the season, it feels as if he is trying to marry the larger-than-life refinement of Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai films with the scrappy bloodshed of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur films. There’s a lot of style thrown into the staging and art direction, but it all feels vacuous. The result is a strange hybrid that feels long drawn and exhausting at times, with the last couple of episodes becoming unwieldy at points.
Pratik Dutta is the heart and soul of this season as Deben Senapati. The series does a spectacular job of capturing his vulnerabilities and contradictions even as he possesses an astute sense for business. Subhadeep “Joy” Banerjee plays his younger brother Barin decently, where he has to be the narrator and the actor in his own story. Saoli Chattopadhyay is alright as Churni Senapati, Deben’s wife. However, the two people that leave a mark here with their screen presence are Rajesh Mehera as the Bombay-based don Ibrahim Soluz, and Keya Chakraborty as the prostitute Joshor, who harbours a deep hatred for the Senapatis after the explosive events of the first season.
Music & Other Departments
Sreyashee Banerjee’s costume design is superb. Arnab Riingo Banerjee also doubles upnas cinematographer and editor here, and all that can be said is that he has an unhealthy obsession with ultra-wide shots taken from low angles, which render the actors’ faces in an unflattering light.
The first meeting between the Senapati brothers and Ibrahim Soluz in Bombay is terrific.
Length is the biggest drawback of the show. Even though this is a twelve-episode show, and each episode hovers around 30-35 minutes, it feels fatiguing to watch after a point. Also, some of the torture scenes are really disturbing.
Did I enjoy it?
I found the season okay.
Do I recommend it?
If crime sagas are your thing, you can give this a one-time watch.