With a section of viewers noting that The Family Man 2 perpetuates Islamophobia, co-director Suparn Varma says show has offered a balanced approach through its characters
Writer Suparn Varma in a scene with Manoj Bajpayee from The Family Man 2
It’s not easy to outdo the first season of The Family Man. But a week since the second instalment has dropped, critics and the audience have agreed that it is sharper than its predecessor. For co-writer and co-director Suparn Verma, the second season’s success is a personal victory. "I am just glad we’ve been able to break the curse of the second season,” he starts off. Referring to the common industry notion that the second instalment of any successful franchise rarely lives up to the expectations, Varma says the success of season 2 was important for him. “I gave my 300%. I have known Raj and DK since the time they first came to the city. So when they were trusting me with their baby - a series this successful - I didn’t want to disappoint them."
Commended for drawing a thin line that separates heroes from villains in their story, Verma says they never envisioned Samatha Akkineni’s Raji as a villain. “The backstory and research into her character required us to understand Tamil Eelam closely, especially this Australian documentary (we watched) on the subject. The atrocities meted out to women in war camps is numbing. Most of these people are no longer in Lanka. They are in Australia, Europe but the core is they are people without a homeland, always striving to return to a place where they belong. These women soldiers when they spoke, their eyes were vacant and had a deadpan expression. Hearing their stories will give you sleepless nights. Samantha channeled that numbness beautifully. It was important for us to have Muthu - who speaks of their government, their hospitals, an airport, army, roads. It’s a community. This situation can’t be reduced to black and white. They see us as enemies and vice versa. We had to show both perspectives of what they are. For us, Raji and Sajid having that conversation on their way to Point Pedro was trying to tap into the philosophy of people growing up without a land. Their means are wrong but we see their dreams and hopes.”
A section of netizens criticised the makers for resorting to brownfacing to pass Akkineni off as a Tamil rebel. He admits to being baffled by the harsh comments. “People should check out pictures of those who’ve fought wars. They come out looking like different people who’ve aged far beyond their years. This wasn’t a beautification issue; the look is based on solid research. We wanted a Tamil speaking brilliant actor and who better than Samantha? She needed to look weather beaten and lived in jungles.”