Duranga (Season 2)
It is a Tuesday and after a much deserved break following two absolutely trashy watches, I am back with another review on the occasion of Dussehra. But before that, we at Popcorn Reviewss would like to wish you a very Happy Dussehra and may prosperity be a thing for you going forward. With that, I have finished watching the second season of Duranga which is now streaming on Zee5. An official adaptation of the Korean show Flower Of Evil, I had quite enjoyed the first season of Duranga which had premiered last year. Not only did it boast of some stellar performances but the world building that integrated a love story on the back of a serial killer goosehunt, did account for a compelling watch. And with a little setup at the end of season 1 that promised for a twisted watch going forward, I was quite keen to witness how the story would shape up given that I have no reference of the original source material. Here I must also praise Zee5 for quickly getting its second season rolling, and releasing it within a year which was quite phenomenal. So with much expectations, I ventured into the second season of Duranga aka Duranga 2, does it manage to impress, let’s find out!
Story & Screenplay
The second season of Duranga picks up six months from the events of the first season where the investigation is still underway with a serial killer on the loose. The story here is decent although a little uneventful to begin with, as compared to the first season. One of the main challenges that the makers may have had to face was to restart a show which had a continuing storyline. This was the issue which was also seen in the subsequent seasons of Sacred Games and even Mirzapur where the reintroduction of the world remained a challenge especially when all the character dynamics which were already established earlier, needed that much more time to be established again. Despite that, the story does have decently thrilling moments along the way. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes of 30 odd minutes each does make for a decently compelling watch but not without its share of flaws.
The main issue for me in the drama was that the element of surprise which was prevalent in the first season was missing here. The cat was out of the bag almost immediately with the makers providing a little hint with respect to a character at the end of the first season. So I was a little disconnected with the world building that takes place here as a part of the initial episodes that just felt a little too uneventful. Yes, the investigation was on, and the character dynamics were drawn as well, but I just felt like the makers could have got to the point a little swifter than they eventually did, here. This is not to say that the proceedings were bad, but a better phrase would be falling at the behest of its own predictability.
The writers do find their groove after the initial lag when there is a little more urgency thrown in the mix. The levels of thrills are raised slowly but surely even though the drama largely remains predictable. The little cat and mouse game that ensues between three to four potential stakeholders, does account for a compelling watch with a little hint of cerebralism given the shifting equations of a few characters. Some of the emotions land while a few subplots have slightly simplistic solutions. I would have ideally liked the drama to be slightly more layered, particularly with the events(and resolutions) leading up to the final act. But to counter this flaw, the cat and mouse drama along with bouts of the flashback featuring the rise of the accomplice does keep you briefly invested.
The stakes in the drama always threaten to be raised but always fall a fraction short. I did feel that the psychological angle of the protagonist(s) could have been explored a lot better. That would have had a major payoff in the final act did feel a little simplistic while being immensely predictable. Yet, a little spin-off at the end did setup things for a potential third season which seems to be interesting by the look of things. Overall, the screenplay here is decently thrilling although atleast a couple of notches below the writing of the first season.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are decently well penned and quite adequate given the mood of the drama. The BGM is haunting and it also adds different layers of urgency in the drama that adds to the tension of the proceedings. The cinematography is is good and it definitely creates an ambience of fear and tension through its frames. The editing could have been crisper especially at the very beginning. Director Rohan Sippy does a decent job here, starting off on a rather slowish note before picking up pace. To be fair, he does create some tense moments in the middle and a few at the end as well thus summing up a decently satisfying outing at the office for him.
The performances are a huge positive here to the extent that it does rescue the writing at a few places as well by making the series watchable. Rajesh Khattar as Dr. Manohar is wonderfully understated while his onscreen wife Anupriya essayed by Divya Seth Shah is incredibly good with her emotions and expressions. Barkha Bisht as Prachi is top notch and has a pleasant personality onscreen. Zakir Hussain as Bala is intimidating and an absolute treat to watch and witness. Kiran Srinivas as Nikhil is earnest and sincere and he boasted of a great screen presence. Sonal Madhushankar and Khushbu Rajendra have their moments to shine as well.
Abhijeet Khandkekar as Vikas is such a natural onscreen and he was tremendous to watch and witness. Amit Sadh as Sammit delivers an eccentric performance which was similar to the character trait of SRK’s performance in Darr. His character will always keep you guessing with his actions and he was absolutely brilliant here. Drashti Dhami as Ira is nicely assertive and firm in her role. She has an underlying emotional layer to her character wrapped around a stoic kind of a personality, and she delivers a beautifully measured performance. Gulshan Devaiah is absolutely fabulous to watch as Abhishek. He poker faced expressions does run a shiver down your spine while his actions are always endearing and sincere. This was a difficult balance to achieve and Gulshan just eases past this virtue like a breeze. He is excellent and every bit of it in a wonderfully portrayed character.
The second season of Duranga is a decently thrilling followup to season 1 boasting of some exceptional performances, that makes for a good one-time watch. Available on Zee5.