Avrodh 2: The Siege Within is intelligent thriller on intelligence!

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Abir Chaterjee and Vijay Krishna in Avrodh 2: The Siege Within  Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

Basing the story on a chapter from Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh’s India’s Most Fearless 2 (just as Avrodh was based on a chapter in their India’s Most Fearless, a unique happening indeed when a book’s sequel spawns that of a series!), the second season obviously has no direct link with the first.

However, certain key characters are kept the same in the reel version, like Neeraj Kabi as Shailesh Malviya, the National Security Advisor, and Ananth Mahadevan as Satish Mahadevan, a key officer. The prime minister’s role now shifts from Vikram Gokhale to another powerful actor who is a better lookalike of our real PM, Mohan Agashe.

At base level, Avrodh (2020) was a dramatized but rather tepid retelling of the URI attacks, with both the intensity and the impact lost in translation, especially vis-à-vis the film on the subject that was a blockbuster in 2019. It was therefore praised by a section of the media as “non-jingoistic” (whatever that means here!). In that sense, we are lucky that this sequel actually happened, as it is a quantum leap in overall quality and substance with new and better writers (Sudeep Nigam is common) and the same director is now in top form.

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Not being privy to inside facts like how much of this story is fictionalized, I can only marvel at the way the series dramatizes things brilliantly and believably around the real saga of demonetization in 2016 against the buzz of counterfeit currency circulating in India. We add here the aborted 25 plane explosions in a single day, 100 kilos of RDX to be used, phones used as detonators and all of these smuggled into India from Pakistan. There is also liaison with India separatist groups and huge payouts to them—with the same counterfeit notes!

The mastermind is Professor Ehsan Waziri (Sanjay Suri), a highly-qualified man who wants revenge on India and has the means, mechanisms and moolah to execute his diabolical plans. He is interacting with General Aziz (Rajesh Khattar) and his loyal deputy in India is Praveena (Aahna Kumara), who is working for years here with kids to build a base. She also has lost her family and is vengeance-driven.

The Indian side is headed by Mumbai’s Additional Commissioner of Income-Tax, Pradeep Bhattacharya (Abir Chaterjee), doubling up also as a trained army intelligence officer, and Captain Imtiaz Ahmed (Vijay Krishna) under the guidance of the superiors and with help from a dedicated team of workers and soldiers.

It is here that we get this season’s only flaw of sorts: while we are told the back-stories of Ehsan and Praveena, it would have been interesting to know something about Pradeep and Imtiaz. Instead, we just have a few scenes of Pradeep with his unsuspecting wife (The Family Man, anyone?) and a remark that he fell short of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)’s examinations (which commission soldiers) by a few marks.

Barring this minor and ‘overlook-able’ flaw, the action is immaculate, the locations realistic, the camerawork (Shanu Singh Rajput) and VFX brilliant, the editing (Satya Sharma) smart and the pace magical. The script and the dialogues are a crisp and relatable highlight, and I was especially impressed by the sequences showing the working of our intelligence mechanism’s top brass and their liaisons with the Prime Minister. The many investigative sequences wherein one result leads to another are another high, while being reminiscent of the crackerjack action of an equally brilliant motion picture on counter-insurgency—the 1999 Sarfarosh.

Abir Chatterjee looks perfect for this role and impresses again after Asur, his Hindi web debut. Vijay Krishna is immensely likeable as the affable yet businesslike Imtiaz. Aahna Kumara gets deep into the psyche of Praveena, while Neeraj Kabi improves, if possible, on the excellence of his performance in Season 1. Mohan Agashe’s slow, measured yet sure way of speech is superb. The acting honors are also shared by Sanjay Suri as the oh-so-suave Waziri. Jayashankar Tripathi as Pradeep’s assistant, Naveen Bawa as his boss and Abhay Kulkarni as the Army Chief are also excellent. The other roles are also expertly etched and enacted.

This is one of the best shows from Applause Entertainment and the finest so far from Juggernaut. Miss this magnificent blend of real and reel at your peril.

Rating: ****

Sony LIV presents Juggernaut Productions’ & Applause Entertainment’s Avrodh 2: The Siege Within Produced by: Samar Khan, Aditya Pittie, Sameer Nair & Deepak Segal Directed by: Raj Acharya  Written by: Shiv Aroor & Rahul Singh, Bijesh Jayrajan & Sudeep Nigam Music: Nirmal Pandya  Starring: Abir Chatterjee, Vijay Krishna, Aahna Kumara, Neeraj Kabi, Ananth Mahadevan, Sanjay Suri, Rajesh Khattar, Jayashankar Tripathi, Naveen Bawa, Abhay Kulkarni, Vinta Joshi & others

 

 

 

 

 

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