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Review: Netflix's 'She' Season 2 is as Confused as Its Predecessor
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Review: Netflix's 'She' Season 2 is as Confused as Its Predecessor

She season 2 is directed by Arif Ali and written by Imtiaz Ali.

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She Season 2

Review: Netflix's 'She' Season 2 is as Confused as Its Predecessor

"Khud ka takat hai toh karo jo karne ka hai. Main kaun hai? (Do whatever is in your power. Who am I?)” - Bhumi (Aaditi Pohankar), tells this to a group of sex workers in one of the scenes from Netflix's She Season 2. The new season grapples with this thought - who really are the characters? Can we claim to delve inside their mind or are they tricking us as we go along?

Directed by Arif Ali and written by Imtiaz Ali, She season 2 definitely casts its net wider, but is as confused as its predecessor.

In the first season, we get introduced to Constable Bhumika Pardeshi aka Bhumi (Aaditi Pohankar), who is sent undercover to infiltrate the gang of the mysterious drug lord Nayak (Kishore Kumar G). The second season shows Bhumi getting trapped in a dilemma - should she stay true to her profession and get Nayak arrested or should she switch sides, become Nayak's lady love and 'practice' all that he has taught her.

The season starts off on an interesting note. Along with ACP Fernandez (Vishwas Kini), the viewers are also at a loss when it comes to trusting Bhumi. Bhumi lies, but instantly regrets. Leading the double life isn't easy - she puts her life at risk several times, but she also wants to break free from the monotonous, insulting life she had been leading as a lower middle-class police officer.

Aaditi Pohankar in a still from She season 2.

(Photo Courtesy: Netflix)

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While the first season of She climaxed with Bhumi's sexual awakening in the weirdest scene possible, the second season is also about desire. It's a show about a woman yearning to be desired, and at the same time struggling to get over the phase when she was constantly taunted by her husband for having a 'manly' body.

Bhumi finds a strange satisfaction when she is asked to continue playing the role of a sex worker to nab Nayak. Strutting around the streets of Mumbai, dressed in blindingly flashy costumes, this woman commands full control over her body. She confidently asks men how much they are willing to pay for sex. She finds herself enjoying sex as well as performing the act, so much so that she finds it difficult to distinguish between the two.

For decades, Bollywood has robbed women of the right to freely express their desires. Not to say that times aren't changing, but the pace is too slow. How dare women discover their sexuality so publicly and so confidently in a country that is being strangled by patriarchy?

In that sense, She has a fascinating premise. But where Imtiaz Ali and his brother Arif Ali go wrong is that they fixate their gaze on Bhumi's sexuality. Instead of sketching the protagonist as an example of women empowerment, her portrayal becomes nothing but sleazy.

There is a lot going on in this season. It opens with a flashback into Nayak's traumatic childhood, but the empathy feels too forced. Hardened by the events that scarred him, Nayak redirects his energy into making Mumbai the drug capital of the country. He joins hands with Bhumi and they hatch a plan to fool the entire police force. We suddenly see an army of sex workers handing out drugs like they are candies, while clueless cops are busy figuring out their next move.

But there is no action outside the bedroom. Events don't have a gradual progression. From the past we are tossed to the present, and then hurled 10 years into the future. There is a comical shootout and Bhumi undergoes a complete makeover.

She's undoing is also its warped notion when it comes to power. Nayak feels powerful holding a gun, giving orders and killing his loved ones. But Bhumi's 'power' and 'freedom' are only confined to the four walls of the bedroom.

The show does have its moments though. Aaditi and Kishore make a solid pair. They challenge and push each other at every point. One of the most poignant scenes is an exchange between Bhumi and Nayak on how killing people after a time feels like a video game. But these few bright spots are eclipsed by the convoluted writing and utter confusion through the series.

A still from She season 2.

When it comes to acting, Aaditi Pohankar plays a master shot. She tries her best to own Bhumi's fears, ambition and dilemma, but the character is too half-baked for her to shine. Kishore as the sadistic, power-hungry Nayak is also flawless. Vishwas Kini is decent as ACP Jason Fernandez, but the character is too steeped in stereotypical colours.

For a show that completely focuses on a women rediscovering her sexuality and regaining control of her life while being thrown in a jungle full of men, She could have done a lot with the idea. But when the makers present a scene where Bhumi asks to be 'punished' by 'spreading her legs', there's not much redemption.

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Topics:  Netflix   Imtiaz Ali   She season 2 

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