Director: Rohan Sippy
Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Drashti Dhami, Amit Sadh, Abhijeet Khandkekar, Divya Seth Shah, Hera Mishra, Barkha Sengupta, Rajesh Khattar, Zakir Hussain, Nivedita Saraf, Dhaval Thakur
Where: Streaming now on Zee 5
Rating: 3 stars
Season 2 and so on are always a tightrope walk to tread for creators and showrunners, given the weight of expectations that are carried forth, following the hype and success of Season 1. Duranga, which is a Zee 5 original, left chills down my spine for hours together, much after I finished streaming the entire season 1, simply because I could not fathom the extremity of the questionable actions that were being executed in the show. Wanting to uncover the intent is what propelled the show's second season and so, my interest was piqued.
Directed by Rohan Sippy, Duranga 2 commences on the exact cliffhanger that concluded season 1. Ira Patel (Drashti Dhami) is coming to terms with her husband Abhishek Banne (Gulshan Devaiah)'s actions and his identity. Just as a sense of normalcy is likely to resume in their equation, Banne's past comes to haunt him. Enter the real Sammit Patel (Amit Sadh). The man has recovered after having stayed in a coma for more than a decade and his sudden appearance threatens to upset the carefully-constructed life of Banne. Will Banne be able to prove his innocence and appraise his wife about his past? Or will Sammit raise hell in their lives? The series rolls out to ask one pertinent question even as more brutal murders happen around. Will the real Sammit Patel please stand up?
As you go about the beats of the characters, you come to understand that what you saw in the first season was just the tip of the iceberg. Season 2 unravels murkier details about these characters and the circumstances that have led them to their current situation. That alone makes Duranga 2, a compelling watch. Sammit Patel's backstory unfolds so beautifully within layers, you're left amazed yet shocked, all at once. Besides the sharp writing by Charudutt Acharya, a huge credit in making the performance plausible is how brilliant Sadh is. Like a shape-shifting chameleon, you can never guess what the actor's next move is going to be. Since the show invests a lot of its runtime in acquiting Banne of his misdeeds, Devaiah opts for composure in his act. With a singular expression, the man must convey volumes about Banne's thoughts and emotions and the actor does that effectively. But it can't be denied that it's Dhami who gets the trickier part. From channelling much suspicion in the first season to trying hard to come to terms with everything that happens for Ira on the personal and professional front, it's a lot to chew at, but Dhami sells it. Divya Seth and Rajesh Khattar add further heft to the plot as Sammit’s parents. Casting director Kavish Sinha again puts together a fine cast. Each actor lives up to the respective part allotted.
Barring a few unconvincing sequences and the convenient justifications provided for the seemingly problematic actions, Duranga 2 remains mostly watchable and one that makes for a satisfying binge.