Review: Manoj Bajpayee’s ‘The Family Man’ Is Addictive, Engaging
Review of ‘The Family Man’ featuring Manoj Bajpayee, Sharib Hashmi, Priyamani, Gul Panag.
“Desh khatre mein hain” - it’s a sentiment that’s echoed in most web series these days. Terror plans being hatched and security forces trying everything in their capacity to abort them. Amazon Prime Video‘s latest offering The Family Man has a similar plot line. This drill can get a tad drab if not for some genuinely smart writing. Luckily for us, The Family Man doesn’t disappoint us.
Directed by Raj and DK, who have also written it along with Suman Kumar and Sumit Arora, gives us a fresh perspective through which to process officer Srikant Tiwari’s tactics. He’s a family man first - someone seen fixing a sandwich for his daughter, is scared of upsetting the wife, negotiating his “family time” with a demanding career. Thats’s Srikant Tiwari for us.
Slowly, we get to know him better and see the high risk nature of his work. But even then, instead of the swashbuckling hero figure, Srikant remains our guy- next-door, someone we could meet on our way to work and not find anything particularly special about. He is a smooth-talker and has an uncanny ability to wriggle out of tough situations - be it while trying to manage his kids or interrogating a terrorist. Manoj Bajpayee comfortably gets into the skin of his character, never missing a beat and never less than convincing.
In fact one of the many pleasures of this series is to see Monoj Bajpayee for nearly 10 straight hours in all his supreme glory. A fine fine performance!
Matching his rhythm is Priyamani, playing his straight talking wife . Their scenes together, are written with such aplomb, there is never a false note to be found . There are many such actors in parts both big and small that are astonishingly effective . From Sharib Hashmi, a faithful colleague of Srikant, to Neeraj Madhav, an engineer brought in as an important link to a looming terror attack. Sharad Kelkar and Gul Panag are welcome additions.
Each of the 10 episodes of The Family Man season 1 start with the caveat “inspired by daily news stories”. The incidents touched upon have an immediate sense of urgency and relevance - from youth joining ISIS to the hyper nationalism alienating our own people - all this sans melodrama and unnecessary contrivances. We don’t just see our intelligence officers uttering jargon and using hi-tech equipment, they remain firmly ensconced in reality. The pulls and pressures of their job, how it robs them of the simple pleasures of everyday life, the turf war between security agencies, the many diplomatic hurdles - it’s fascinating to just witness the behind-the-scenes action that goes about in safeguarding the country. It’s not glamorous or particularly patriotic - just ordinary men and women dealing with extraordinary circumstances trying to get the work done, sometimes with cold chilling efficiency with little or no time to celebrate the victory.
With meaty cliffhangers thrown in and a smart edit that captures the rising tension which peaks from episode 6, The Family Man is addictive, engaging and a satisfying watch.
Rating: 4.5 quints out of 5.
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