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Undekhi 2 review: Remarkable performances save the crime thriller from going off-track

Within the depths of the picturesque Manali lie unspoken secrets that are time-and-again used by the Atwals, the rulers of the region. We saw how they are capable of skillfully burying their crimes, in Undekhi’s first season. The latest one shifts gear to pace up their bloody conquest to fulfill their selfish needs taking us through innumerable twists on the treacherous terrain, putting at stake everything and everyone who comes in their way.

Undekhi was a sleeper hit of 2020, which showed Harsh Chhaya in a never-seen-before avatar — the ever-abusing drunk patriarch who stunned with his electrifying screen presence. His Papaji hasn’t changed. He still has no qualms about using muscle to inflict trouble on those he considers insignificant. The quest to remove all evidence regarding the coldblooded murder of a dancer at his son’s (Daman) wedding continues. And cleaning up his mess at every step is Rinku, the star of the show.

Undekhi 2 kicks off from the exact point where the first season ended. Rinku is hellbent to kill Koyal and the videographer team. His cat-and-mouse chase with DSP Ghosh is fast paced from the word go. The makers give us little time to brush up our memories. If you’re watching, you better have done a quick recap. But sadly, Ghosh vanishes from the scene for several episodes, only to reappear towards the end. An actor like Dibyendu Bhattacharya felt underused this time. And that’s because over the course of first five episodes, the plot completely shifts from Koyal’s revenge and Ghosh framing Papaji, to the drug syndicate owned by Atwals that’s threatened by entry of a new nemesis, Samarth (Nandish Sandhu).

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This is where things start getting complicated. We are so absorbed in the Papaji-Rinku-Ghosh-Koyal quartet that a brand new plotline regarding an illegal drugs business in the garb of a pharmaceutical company initially feels unnecessary and shoehorned. Though each episode brings a new twist to keep us engaged, the strain to keep the two parallel tracks (Koyal and Samarth) connected start showing. It seems the pressure is on the writers to generate enough content to create an (inevitable) third season of the show.

Undekhi introduced us to little known actors who left an indelible mark with their performances. And leading the pack is Surya Sharma as both the hero and the villain. His towering personality and death stare is a perfect fit for Rinku. Anchal Singh as Teji is another discovery here. From being a sidelined woman of the household, she turns into a manipulative mastermind who challenges Papaji and Rinku from the front. Raat Akeli Hai, and now Undekhi 2 has proved she’s here to stay.

Undekhi 2 tries desperately to avoid the curse of second seasons. It’s evident that this pushed the team to the extremes, and they did succeed to an extent. Though some subplots could’ve been done away with. Meiyang Chang as Abhay deserved more. Ankur Rathee’s Daman found decent screen time, but stayed in Teji’s shadow. Hoping to seeing his frustration come to fore the next time. The series could’ve managed with a crisper editing to avoid the story going all over the place in some portions of second half.

Special mention to actor Shivangi Singh (Muskaan) and Vaarun Bhaat (Lucky). They had some memorable moments, and can have a major role in the third season. The fact that SonyLIV’s show takes us to a place where survival is the goal and life is of little value, keeps it on track, despite some bumps.

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Trivia: Watch the opening montage closely. You might just end up guessing the plot of its latest season!

Undekhi 2

Cast: Harsh Chhaya, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Surya Sharma, Anchal Singh, Apeksha Porwal, Ankur Rathee, Nandish Singh Sandhu, Meiyang Chang

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