Mirzapur 2 Web Series Review - Goes UP, comes down
Make no mistake still: Pankaj Tripathi and Ali Fazal starrer Mirzapur 2 is altogether as original as its much-loved prequel
On: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Puneet Krishna
Cast: Divyendu Sharma, Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal
More than anyone else, Mirzapur 2 is centred on Munna Tripathi (the undoubtedly 'bejod'/unique Divyendu Sharma). And for whatever it's worth, you have to give it to the low-life Munna—while the son of Mirzapur's top-don, he's not exactly a wastrel; chilling in the comfort of his destiny.
He goes out and works like a henchman on his own; breaking bones, building alliances. Whether he's particularly bright/intelligent is immaterial to the larger idea of legacy/dynasty. That these kids have to work doubly hard to prove themselves—for themselves—in the long run, is an aspect/insecurity that's seldom understood about nepotism, as a debate. Or an inherent fact of life—of crime, or otherwise.
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, regardless. Most of all, in the heart of north India's darkness that the series creator Puneet Krishna surveys, taking characters to a heightened level of lunacy. Wherein each one behaves like an animal thrown into the wilds—perceiving the other only as predator or prey. Except they all belong to the same species—humans, on the face of it, anyway.
That the Bauji—grand patriarch of the Tripathi family (Kulbhushan Kharbanda, among the world's most underrated actors)—devotes the entire evening of his life, and its lessons, to wildlife shows on TV, is an indication of the essential point of this show itself.
Check out the trailer of Mirzapur 2:
Even in the softer side of things; for instance when Munna approaches a girl—the chief minister's daughter no less—he asks, "What do you do for sex?" She's been widowed for a year and half. That they get together shortly thereafter is only par for the inter-course.
Now I haven't been to Mirzapur; have travelled to nearby areas. Yet, the only way to make sense of what's going on here, is to imagine how landlords, princely states and tiny kingdoms once operated in India, until the British Raj brought them under a common Lions/Rotary Club. There is in any case a king/raja even now—every few kilometres in Uttar Pradesh.
What Mirzapur 2 does is simply widen the lens from Mirzapur—both politically and geographically. Saying this, because the only thing the second season can truly be compared to is its first.
If you'll ignore the irony therefore, this one is a lot more House of Cards than Narcos, although the template is decidedly Gangs of Wasseypur, with a touch of Maqbool, along with a Korean obsession for gushing blood and chopping body-parts.
Make no mistake still: Mirzapur 2 is altogether as original as its much loved prequel. FYI: Guddu Bhaiya (Ali Fazal) and Golu (Shweta Tripathi) are still around. Kaleen Bhaiya's wife (Rasika Duggal) is there too. So is the cool cop (Amit Sial). As is the calm Kaleen Bhaiya nee Akhandanand, or Pankaj Tripathi himself—still subtly nudging his neck and face to express both approval and displeasure.
What gets added with new surroundings like Jaunpur, Balia, Lucknow and Bihar are a string of characters, performed by the likes of Priyanshu Painyuli, Sheeba Chadha, Lilliput, Vijay Varma (in a double-role), who are anyway such dependable actors (including ones I haven't mentioned), that it's not just a delight to watch them.
But to also to wonder what they'll be up to, next. Everything on this show has reached such post-truth levels that it's impossible to tell who's fibbing to whom, and why. You instantly fall in love with some of these early twists and turns.
This is about a low-trust society, yes. The moments of reveal, I must also warn you, lose their appeal, eventually—since there are so many. More importantly the only tool/weapon in the hands of the fine writers (Vineet Krishna, Puneet Krishna) of this crime-thriller, is an axe.
Not just to grind, and complicate a mystery (although that too). But to go hacking people left, right, centre. Fictional lives lose their meaning, when deaths become so cheap and easy. What are we fighting for anyway then? Is that the difference between telling a story, and taking a story forward? Don't know.
Just that critique for a series that lasts around 500 minutes (don't they all), should ideally resemble commentary in sport: Mirzapur 2 off to a spectacular start. Hitting the high notes, up until the fourth episode. A weird glitch at the 42nd minute of E04. Slight plateau thereafter. Things picking up all over again. Until the ninth and tenth episodes, that are the weakest by far.
What matters though is not how the show comes together. That applies more to movies. Essential to ask—if the series kept you engaged, and for how long—despite all the dips, that's the only dipstick test. On that question, hell this passes muster; evidently making way for a third installment. And I'm not complaining for sure.
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