City of Dreams (Season 2)
It was a couple of months back when I saw a hard-hitting political drama, Maharani on Sony Liv. We live in a land where making a political drama is not easy and you need to be mindful of the story as well. So if you go in with expectations similar to that of House Of Cards then you will more often than not be disappointed. So usually I keep my expectations in check while watching a political drama. And so when I heard about the hotstar show City Of Dreams returning with Season 2, I hadn’t watched season 1 too, so there was a mad rush to finish that before getting to season 2. And I just about made it in time. While I found season 1 average, the plot point was nicely setup for the brand new season. Does the second season of City Of Dreams create a storm, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
The second season of city of dreams picks up from the last season where the state of Maharashtra has a new Chief Minister from the Gaekwad clan, Poornima. Thus begins her journey filled with obstacles. The story is pretty interesting and an ideal template for a political thriller. The screenplay is slow paced where it lets the drama simmer by creating interesting dynamics between characters with the daughter and father pitted against each other, and also introducing the audience to a few new faces too. One of the things to be kept in mind for a solid political drama is the characterisation. The characters should have strong conflicting traits that will create situations which could potentially challenge the existing dynamics of the characters. And here it does just that, something that season 1 wasn’t quite able to achieve. I felt many of the shortcomings of the first part were ironed off here and pleasantly so. The conflicts create do keep you as an audience on your toes and you will be hooked and booked throughout. There are several twists and turns with each of the episode ending with a cliffhanger thereby enticing you into binge watching it. Some of the sub-plots are well penned as well. On the downside, at times the drama just drags that wee bit but I will let that pass as the overall impact of the screenplay is not watered down. And like season one, this season two ends in a jaw dropping final act that nicely sets up the dynamics for the next season. Overall, a well written screenplay and a notch better tjan season one.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are terrific with some interesting one-liners that leave a lasting impact. The BGM is outstanding and it really heightens the drama. A word on the cinematography – the series has a good production value and is brilliantly shot. Director Nagesh Kukunoor who is at the helm on season two as well is in top form. He has a better grip on the narrative as compared to season one which was meandering in parts. Here, the tension is intact throughout with several twists and changing dynamics between characters to keep you invested. Kudos to the direction.
The performances are terrific! Lekha Prajapati as Lipakshi and Vibhawari Deshpande as Purushottam’s wife are fabulous to watch. Geetika Tyagi as Shireen sizzles in a cameo. Sushant Singh as Jagan Anna was intimidating. I have been a fan of his work and here he has tried something totally different. He is excellent with a terrific accent too! Sandeep Kulkarni as Purushottam is incredibly good. A character that will leave a divided impression on the audience, you won’t be sure where to sympathize with him or not! Flora Saini as Asha looks beautiful and has a mystery surrounding her. She does a wonderful job here. Ankur Rathee as Arvind, a character that you may not like from scene number one but with a significant character arc, you may end up liking, is in good form. Kanupriya Gupta as Aliya has her moments to shine. Shriyam Bhagnani as Taniya is such an affable character that you can’t help but fall in love with her. A strong character with a heart of gold is how I can best describe her. Her father played by Shishir Sharma is excellent! I was very impressed with Addinath Kothare as Mahesh. He has an incredible screen presence and is just at ease in front of the camera. Sachin Pilgaonkar as Gurav is one character that will keep you guessing. You won’t be sure on whose side he is eventually on as he will keep on swaying, an excellent performance by the veteran. Eijaz Khan as Wasim was outstanding, such a meaty part with so many emotions to play with, he literally owns every scene and is in full control. Probably the best performance of the series as good as anyone here. Atul Kulkarni as Ameya Rao Gaekwad, the conniving politician who will go to any limit is outstanding totally believable. The smaller nuances that he brings to the table leaves a lasting impact in a brilliantly author backed role. And I could not believe that the same young girl from Munnabhai MBBS has come along a long way. Priya Bapat as Poornima is absolutely smashing her. She is wonderfully restrained and ruthless at the same time. An interesting trait about her character was her conflicted sexuality, and that portion too was so well written and portrayed delicately. All of them combined to give an acting masterclass of the highest order.
The second season of City Of Dreams is a compelling political drama and a notch above season one. Available on Hotstar and Highly Recommended.