Series: The Family Man
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Priyanami, Sharib Hashmi, Gul Panag, Sharad Kelkar, Darshan Kumar
Directors: Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru
Rating: 3.5 Moons
Have you ever wondered what do spies do in their normal life when they are not in the danger zone trying to protect the nation and taking out anti-social elements? Do they deal with household worries and pending EMIs when they are on the field and what do they tell their spouse when they forget to get veggies from the market because they were busy chasing terrorists and taking decisions on country’s security? Amazon Prime series The Family Man takes a look at this as Manoj Bajpayee leads a dual life of an intelligence officer at a fictitious intelligence agency TASC, and a harangued family man grappling with a teenage daughter, a nagging wife and a long awaiting home loan.
The Family Man succeeds at being a pretty funny series, with snappy one-liners, nicely shot thrills and the main lead that excels at his job. Bajpayee’s Srikant Tiwari is introduced with an ongoing argument with his long-suffering wife Suchi (played by Priyamani) who wants him to take the kids to school and not shirk his fatherly duties. By the looks of it, this argument has happened before. Srikant’s family is disappointed with his meager income and wants him to take up a more lucrative project but they are unaware of his actual work that entails conducting mass surveillance in an effort to spot patterns and prevent terrorist attacks.
Created by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. The Family Man’s idea of a domesticated spy is pretty interesting but not exactly new. James Cameron’s True Lies was also based on this premise where Arnold Schwarzenegger not only hid his true profession from his wife Jamie Lee Curtis but also uses his high-tech devices to snoop on her. In The Family Man Bajpayee uses his gadgets to hack into his daughter’s phone. However, the series takes a turning point when similar methods are employed to spy on a bunch of Muslim college students suspected of instigating an uprising.
The show begins in Kochi where a boat has been apprehended by the Coast Guard and we get to meet some ISIS recruits who are on the run, and the information gathered hints at a massive terror attack on India. From there on Srikant and his team come into action to gather intelligence through surveillance, phone tapping and good-old-fashioned analysis. The series takes us to the locales of Kashmir, Quetta, Balochistan and then New Delhi.
Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK have done a swell job weaving international and national happening in the show. The show touches base over various socio-political issues like the Mumbai blasts, Godhra riots of 2002, ISIS Daesh and Naxals, mob lynchings and showing the plight of local Kashmiris and the fringe elements of the erstwhile state.
The performances of Bajpayee as Srikant and Sharib Hashmi are impeccable and so are the dialogues. ‘Privacy like democracy is a myth’, says Hashmi to a new recruit at TASC summing up their entire agency’s modus operandi in one sentence. Darshan Kumar who has carved a niche for himself in films is also a perfect choice for the role of an antagonist as he is the reason for all the havoc created in the city. Gul Panag as the Srinagar NIA officer Saloni Bhatt is a tough, intelligent and powerful lady in the show. After a long time, we see Gul in a role that suits her best. Versatile actor Sharad Kelkar as Arvind lights up the usual high intense dramatic moments in the show. His screen presence isn’t lost in the rather multi-starrer cast.
Kudos should be given to Sumit Arora who has written the dialogues of the series. The humour is subtle and not-over-the-top and is reminiscent of the film Stree that came from the directors’ end. Priyamani’s performance is worth appreciating too as despite being a nagging wife, she is shown as having complex problems of her own and taking decisions of her own. However, a little backstory on her would have been appreciated as well.
The Family Man is a pretty engaging show and it has been shot beautifully. Bajpayee as usual aces his character and we can’t wait to watch more of the show.
PeepingMoon.com gives The Family Man 3.5 Moons.