Web Review: She Season 2 flounders at all levels

Aaditi Pohankar is a cop with Stockholm Syndrome in She Season 2. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Season 1 of She had begun well, but gone on to become humdrum by episode 4, ending with what can only be called a brazenly desperate cliffhanger. Season 2, hopefully, ends on a concluding note, that is, there is little sense to go on to yet another season.

But the conclusion only smacks of the general irreverence of the mediocre to worst series and cinema makers of these often-deviant times—it leaves an unpleasant taste or after-effect, sans real justification. It would be a spoiler to reveal what transpires at the end, but suffice to say that other than an Aaditi Pohankar getting deeper into her sexually-hyperactive zone for the voyeurs, this show has nothing worthwhile to offer.

Police officer Bhumi Pardeshi (Aaditi’s character), in Season 1, was dedicated and passionate enough to turn streetwalker and even go the whole hog as a prostitute in her mission to nail Nayak (Kishore Kumar G.), a mastermind criminal. In Season 2, she starts supporting him in his plan to sell narcotics all over the place, chiefly in Mumbai and its satellite town, Thane, with the help of call girls and a pimp. Never mind if her own sister (Shivani Rangole) almost dies, as it happens, from the drug intake.

So, who is she really double-crossing? The cops, to whom she periodically reports, or the criminal Nayak (Kishore Kumar G.), who is aware that she is reporting to the cops, but trusts and lusts after her to distraction? And so we come to her Stockholm Syndrome, as Nayak makes her come alive as a woman in bed, while her separated husband (Sandeep Dhabale) had always accused her of frigidity to cover up his own sexual incompetence.

What I do not quite grasp is how Bhumi has been persuaded to think badly of herself in bed, presumably for years, when it is her partner who had an obvious problem? But the writers and director choose to ignore this basic fact as their goal is elsewhere. The idea is to show their protagonist repeatedly in various degrees of sexual activity and undress with partners that include the drug don and another married lover-boy. And yes, Nayak does not mind her having it out with others, because he feels that mental compatibility is what a relationship is all about!

And to make matters more grotesque and illogical, we find that Nayak can keep an eye, literally, on all activities of Bhumi, wherever she may be, though a computer setup in his hideout! He spends most of his waking hours there, and handles his nefarious criminal activities across the nation from that room too!

Meanwhile, at a non-physical level (!!), Bhumi has to deal with a mercurial sister and her temperamental boyfriend (Saquib Ayub), a helpless mother (Suhita Thatte), a troublesome pimp (Rohit Kokate), a still-audacious husband and superiors who look at her with mixed feelings of trust and doubt.

Absurd, illogical, needlessly surrendering to the worst elements of Indian web series, She 2 depends mainly on what we have mentioned above to structure its deviant script that often plods and suddenly has frenzied, loophole-heavy bursts of energy. There is the superfluous character of a cantankerous old beggar (Habib Aajmi Sheikh), a bunch of eunuchs who have vacuous roles to play, gratuitous violence and other tropes of template-driven dramas that are presumably aimed at some niche foreign and Indian viewers. Netflix is at it again!

The writing is heavy, clumsy and predictable, as is the direction. Aaditi, if this series and Aashram are any indication, seems to have perfected the deadpan brand of histrionics to showcase a victim of circumstances who is trying to reverse the game. Vishwas Kini shows some sincerity as her caring superior, while Mohammad Ali Baig as the police chief, Resh Lamba as the eunuch and Shivani Rangole as the brat sister impress. The rest merely go through the motions.

Like the creators of this series.

Rating: **

Netflix presents Window Seat Films, Inferno Pictures, Viacom18 Motion Pictures &  Tipping Point Productions’  She—Season 2   Showrunner: Imtiaz Ali Produced by: Ajit Andhare, Kanchan Marathe, Sarita Patil, Tanmai Rastogi, Sudhanshu Vats Directed by: Arif Ali  Written by: Imtiaz Ali, Manish Gaekwad, Divya Johry & Anuja Gondhalekar  Music: Gaurang Soni & Ishaan Chhabra  Starring: Aaditi Pohankar, Kishore Kumar G., Vishwas Kini, Shivani Rangole, Sam Mohan, Suhita Thatte, Saqib Ayub, Sandeep Dhabale, Mohammad Ali Baig, Rohit Kokate, Resh Lamba, Habib Aajmi Sheikh & others







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