The Family Man Review: Lighthearted but not lightweight; Amazon and Manoj Bajpayee have a winner on their hands

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‘The Family Man’ is the latest to hit Amazon Prime and has managed to garner enough curiosity. This series is a some-what well-written script where the writers have tried their best in trying to convince the audience that the series has a somewhat ‘real’ feel to it.

At the beginning of the episode itself, the viewers are treated to a glimpse into the world of ‘cops-n-robbers’ with some real issues like Islamic radicalism, Hindu nationalism, mob lynching and cow vigilantism.  You also get to sneak peak at the Indian intelligence at work with the right amount of logistic inputs and mass surveillance showcased.

THE PLOT

 So far, the episodes can only be rated at average. Sometimes you get the feeling that the direction and the edits are rather rushed. The episodes are somewhat weightless and lack emotions in the right places. The weak dialogue delivery cannot be saved by some great performances by Manoj Bajpai. You almost get the feeling that some of the dialogues are almost forced.

The story revolves around a cop played by Manoj Bajpai, who leads a double-life.  While at a time he is seen managing ‘regular’ family life with wife and kids, on the other hand, he is whizzing about getting hold of evidence and nabbing the terrorists.  Manoj Bajpai plays the character of Srikant Tiwari who works for a fictional government cell called the ‘Threat Analysis and Surveillance cell. ‘This cell has to report to the real-time National Investigation Agency about the threats that the country faces on a daily basis.

However, for Srikant’s family, he is simply a government worker who spends a larger part of his time moving about useless files. His family comprises of his wife and two kids and they lead a rather regular to a dull middle-class life. His wife, however, is always on the nerves as Srikant happens to mysteriously rush-off at odd hours without any explanations whatsoever. This is rather strange for a man who works in a dingy government office in between boring file

WHAT WORKS

The plot has its own share of drama in the form of spousal differences and nagging kids to provide the right amount of realism. The character of Srikant also is shown to be haunted by his own insecurities and personal fears. The story also shows the hypocrisies typical of the Indian men who like their wives to have no existence beyond their borders of wife and mother.

When his wife Suchi tries to find her lost zeal in a career in the form of a start-up by a former colleague, Srikant like a typical Indian male is quick to offer his discouragement and disapproval. He goes to the extent of imagining that his wife might also be cheating on him.

THE DIRECTION

The show is produced, directed and written by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K also known as Raj and D.K. While the direction is average to good, however, the script could have been much better. Raj and DK have has a previous stint with the zombie comedy ‘Go Goa Gone’, ‘A gentleman’ and the script of ‘Stree’.

THE VERDICT

The story of the ‘Family man’ shows how a man can be torn apart when it comes to trying to balance his personal life and his secretive life. The character of Srikant is shown shamelessly dumping the burden of his failures on his wife and also blaming her for the same. He conveniently uses his family to vent-out his frustrations and is shown to be a master-hypocrite despite being a rather successful undercover cop. The series lacks in skillfully delivering its expositions.

Some scenes challenge the average intelligence of the audiences; such as the one where the character of Srikant is seen rattling out the most wanted list and the various functions of FBI and the CIA. The other officers about him simply have to look-on and over as if they had been waiting the entire day just to have this ‘super cop’ educate them about the basics (which by the way they all should be well-versed in).

Some scenes appear to be like a boring period of History after lunch, where you simply have to listen even if you are not interested. It would have made a lot of difference if the maker were smart enough to showcase these facts through events rather than ‘all-talk’.

The series is good to watch however its treatment of the audience’s intelligence is just ‘Indian’. While there are large ‘intelligence agencies’ at play and huge technologies involved, however, these are treated with a lacklustre interest what so ever. The ‘workings’ are not explained in detail and has not intended to help the audience to understand the various apparatuses either.

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