The house of Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani excels in films and now webseries populated by goodlooking people, gliding across gleaming surfaces, managing to be substantial in spite of their obvious pursuit of worldly pleasures, namely money, sex and fame.
Here in the second season of “Inside Edge” the momentum and velocity of Season 1 are maintained. Not once in the first five episodes did I feel the characters or the narrative were dragging their feet. The passion and energy of the cricketers, and of the cricketers’ mentors and manipulators flows without any stressful push from the serial’s creators. The push, if any, comes from the drama itself.
Season 2 opens with a kickass preamble where a hotshot tv journalist (no resemblance to Arnab) crosses the line while interviewing the powerful cricket league baron Bhaisaheb (Amir Bashir, splendidly reined-in and enigmatic), and pays for it with his job, which he loses with one text message sent from Bhaisahab’s phone. Immediately, we know the pursuit of and passion for power remains uncompromised in the series even as these exceedingly ambitious entrepreneurs and sportspersons manipulate every rule in the book of life and ethics to get what they want.
This riveting series wouldn’t have worked without ambitious writing. The screenplay allows the characters to float freely and then drown in their own ambitious. That almost all the actors get the point, helps pump up the adrenaline level even further. Every actor is outstanding, but special mention must be made of Aamir Bashir, Tanuj Virwani (as a hotheaded star cricketer, get it?), Angad Bedi (playing the only morally correct character among the shortcut seekers) Richa Chaddha, Siddhant Chaturvedi (as the paranoid, panic-stricken smalltown cricketer — his role here is a far cry from his cocky aggressive “Gully Boy” avatar), Manu Rishi and Sayani Gupta. These are sparkling performances that shine when applied to situations and dialogues that are dramatic without going over-the-top.
Observe how Richa’s Zareen Malik manipulates her way into the powerful IPL, sorry PPL, baron undermining the sports baron’s own daughter (Sapna Pabbi)’s prominence. The crackling but curbed chemistry between Chadda and Aamir Bashir blows the screen apart.
You don’t have to be a cricket fan to enjoy “Inside Edge 2”. What this handsome series says about arrogant ambition and self-destructive pride is applicable to every walk of life.
What this series could have avoided are an overdose of one-liner googlies. They tend to get in the way of the real issues. Also, why the stereotyping of Pakistan? When Vivek Oberoi lands in Lahore to threaten/cajole/seduce the vice president of the Pakistan cricket board, everything including the vice president’s shirt turns green.
And the song “Khai ke paaan baneraswala” is translated in the subtitles as ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’.
Bachchan Saab would not like the gender of the dancer or the finality conferred upon his iconic dance. [By Subhash K Jha]