How rare it is to have a sequel more or equally successful as the first season of a web series? Five minutes into the first episode of Undekhi season 2 and you get hooked. With the entire original cast returning for the sequel, director Ashish R Shukla makes a decent effort to recreate the same magic as the first one but after the first half, it’s a struggle to maintain the same standard. Also read: Undekhi director Ashish R Shukla: ‘I have seen many star kids who are talented and humble, outsiders who are arrogant’
Harsh Chhaya is Papaji – an unabashedly filthy-mouthed alcoholic. Joining him is his no-nonsense godson Rinku (Surya Sharma), who is evil as ever. They are trying to cover their tracks by eliminating one link after the other to hide the murder of a dancer at a wedding party. As the second season begins, the only living witness is back in safe hands after suffering a near-deadly fall but those looking for her are not aware of her status. Dibyendu Bhattacharya’s DCP Ghose is dejected on not being able to find her. While he wants to take her to Bengal alive, main antagonist Rinku is hell bent on getting her killed. There is enough fodder to keep the fire burning with nail-biting suspense, drama and action but while Undekhi 2 doesn’t sink to the bottom, it surely struggles to stay afloat.
Undekhi 2, also comes peppered with a small dose of humour. Its interesting to see how rich women, who don’t bat an eyelid while listening to filthy swearing or the chatter about murders, try to appear polished and pristine in front of a new daughter-in-law. A hilarious scene that needs mention is the one with Papaji swearing in Punjabi and his rival mouthing its English version in the next scene. You may not approve of the crass swearing but somehow, you pardon them for how committed the actors seem to be. It’s also worth admiring how the violence and chaotic scenes are often balanced out by stunning visuals of a Buddhist monastery.
Halfway down the line, the plot changes track from a suspense thriller to a war between two business tycoons that eventually turns into a rather boring cat and mouse game. The plot suddenly becomes needlessly complicated.
Harsh Chhaya remains the soul of the series and continues to be entertaining despite his rather repetitive antics. A teetotaller in real life, Harsh Chhaya continues to light up every scene he is in with his unapologetic attitude. The series boasts of impressive performances by almost everyone, including the terror that model-turned actor Surya Sharma inspires. Apeksha Porwal as Koyal and Meiyang Chang as Abhaya add a dose of action but fail to save the story that almost derails by the end. Meanwhile, Dibyendu Bhattacharya’s powerful presence is wasted in the second season. As the focus moves to Papaji’s rival Samarth (played by Nandish Sandhu), the soul of the series is somewhere lost in shuttling trucks and an endless business gambit.
It is evident that certain casualties have been avoided in order to ensure a third season. But can you really earn brownie points by being wary of the risks? Losing out on an eager audience is a shame and it would need a some improvement to story to bring back the loyal viewer. And looking at the standards set in the first season, it may not be impossible.
Director: Ashish R. Shukla
Cast: Harsh Chhaya, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Meiyang Chang, Nandish Sandhu, Anchal Singh, Apeksha Porwal