Pointless, is the word that came to my mind after I waded through all the 10 episodes of the mayhem excursion. Laden with bestial violence and lurid subplots, with characters who swear revenge, it is a sorry sight to see how much the characters have aged in two years. They are still doing the same things that they were in the last and well-received season of Mirzapur. But a lot more of it. And a lot less confidently; pumping bullets into anyone who crosses their way. It could be someone overtaking the car of one of the self-appointed baahubali of the area or someone fornicating with one of their wives… the price is the same for all crimes.
Right at the centre of this rudderless world of self-important psychopaths is the vile and reprehensible Munna, the uncontrollable son of Mirzapur, the mythical land of mayhem which Kaleen Bhaiyya once ruled. Kaleen now wants to hand over the reins of his rogue empire to his son. As Kaleen Bhaiyya and Munna, Pankaj Tripathi and Divyendu Sharma, inject a volatility to the proceedings that many of the sequences don’t warrant.
Especially listless are the constant shoot-outs in dim smoky bars and dilapidated havelis. They seem to have been shot with the express purpose of showing the characters in a bad light … and I do mean that literally. I think it’s about time OTT content providers realised that the mood synergy and colour templates on the home medium are very different from the large screen. Dimly-lit carnage on the small screen is a real nuisance.
One looks for some respite from the grim gore and relentless bloodshed that runs through the series like an unwanted guest who barges in to your home and refuses to leave. Some comic relief comes from the talented Priyanshu Painyuli who pops up in the fourth episode as a lying but goodhearted finance manager. I wanted more of him so we could get away from relentless bloodshed which the writers seem to think as a way of life in mofussil towns in North India. I’ve lived in Patna most of my life. And speaking from personal experience, I’ve never seen juvenile psychotic, hotheaded criminals running around with loaded guns with shoot-on-sight self-orders.
It’s a pity that Amazon Prime sent the first two episodes to critics for a preview. Because one of the funniest sequences occurs at the beginning of episode three, when Kaleen Bhaiyya visits a doctor to check his sperm count. His wife Beena (played by the vulnerable Rasika Duggal) has a significant sexual appetite and she isn’t afraid to use her husband’s father and domestic servant in bed.
The Rasila Duggal track in the plot is borderline sleazy. The fine actors hold the plot in place, giving it a dignity that it doesn’t always deserve.
Most of the actors are in fine condition. Apart from Tripathi and Sharma who are exceptional, Amit Sial as a morally compromised cop, Rajesh Tailang and Sheebha Chadha imbue their sketchy characters with a sense of purpose. As for Ali Fazal and Shweta Tripathy, on the run most of the time, they are never given a chance to justify their presence. Much of the plot seems to be there for only one reason. Because the redundant sequel is upon us, ready or not.