Apharan 2 has more expletives then content

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Apharan 2 is fast-paced yet hollow. Photo: Instagram / Arunoday Singh

When the aim is solely to get the next installment bigger rather than better, as has happened with so many movies (like Bheja Fry, Jannat 2. Krrish 3 among others), the casualty is often content. And this is true also of a couple of web series too by now, though luckily for us, more series like Criminal Justice, Mayanagri—City of Dreams, Illegal 2 and others have scored higher than the prequels.

Regretfully, the same cannot be said about Apharan 2, the second season of the magnificently-paced and written Apharan (2018). It tries to be one-up with a complicated, near-espionage plot, uses tropes like dual roles, shoots abroad (greater budgets, see?) and brings in a novelty in veteran actor Jeetendra, Ekta R. Kapoor’s dad, in a first cameo after her production Kucch To Hai way back in 2003. This is Jeetendra’s web debut, not impressive at all, though there is promise of a better presence for him in Season 3.

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Yes! The cliffhanger is there again, and one only hopes that Season 3 strives for the relentless pace and excellence of the last season. Otherwise, like Undekhi 2, which also had content, this one is replete with expletives, the bane of web series in the near-half-decade of their existence.

But expletives and action cannot compensate for content, right?

Unlike the ingenious plotline of Season 1, this one takes the route of a terrorist of sorts, BBS a.k.a. Bikram Bahadur Shah, who has killed 9 R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing or Indian intelligence) officers. And officer Bhandari decides that Rudra Shrivastava (Arunoday Singh) will be the handpicked man to get to Shah, whose face is not known as yet to the forces. BBS operates from Serbia and Rudra has to capture him and bring the mastermind home.

Rudra does not want to go on the mission, as his wife Ranjana (Nidhi Singh) has got addicted to drugs after Season 1’s climax and is unwell. But the officer promises that she will be treated at official expense if Rudra accepts the mission, in which he will pose as a doctor with a wife, Gillauri (Snehil Dixit Mehra). Gillauri is unaware of who Rudra actually is. Meanwhile, Ranjana’s amorous lover from Season 1, Dubey (Saanand Verma) is finding himself impotent after Ranjana’s exit from his life, and is coincidentally, also proceeding to Serbia on the same flight to recover from his problem by interacting with sex workers!

Rudra has been warned about BBS’s woman, Nafisa (Sukhmani Sadana) and his two main henchmen, Surajbhan (Aditya Lal) and Jagtap (Pankaj Bhatia) as well. But when the ‘couple’ reaches Serbia, Rudra quickly realizes that things are not at all what they seem to be, and in fact, it is a trap for him. So will he be able to get BBS home? And who is the dirty guy among the Indian operatives? Is it Bhandari?

The big mercy about Apharan 2 and its 11 episodes is the brevity of each (averaging 25 minutes). This automatically gives Season 2 the pace of Season 1, but in the end, we find that the content is relatively very hollow and the script is one of convenience, concealing its creative deficiencies with a barrage of action, expletives (as mentioned earlier) and far-fetched developments.

Arunoday Singh plays it straight and punchy as before, and gets to play his doppelganger too. Nidhi Singh is better here than in Season 1, as she gets a slightly more nuanced graph. Snehal Dixit Mehra as Gillauri is loud, as the character is shaped that way—she is also one of the writers, and Ram Sujan Singh as Rudra’s devoted acolyte back home injects some humor. As the ruthless Nafisa, Sukhmani Sadana is very effective, but Saanand Verma is a sheer irritant as Dubey.

The series is technically superior to Season 1, though I missed the picturesque and far more colorful Indian locations of that installment. So I wished even more that the content had been better. You don’t get bored, but you don’t take anything back with you after you switch off. And I can still remember so many sequences from Apharan even today.

Rating: **1/2

Jio Studios, ALT Balaji & Voot present Edgestrom Productions’ Apharan 2—Sabka Katega Dobara Developed by Ekta R. Kapoor  Produced by: Jyoti Sagar, Siddharth Sengupta  & Tanveer Bookwala  Directed by: Santosh Singh  Written by: Santosh Singh, Snehil Dixit Mehra, Umesh Padalkar, Siddharth Sengupta &  Anahata Menon  Music: Anuj Danait  Starring: Arunoday Singh, Nidhi Singh, Saanand Verma, Snehil Dixit Mehra,Ujjwal Chopra, Sukhmani Sadana, Aditya Lal, Pankaj Bhatia, Ram Sujan Singh, Sp. App.: Jeetendra & others

 

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