A few months back the second season of Sacred Games. It turned out to be an ultra disappointing affair as the makers could not even match the drama of the first season, leave aside making it better for the second season. No wonder, when the second season of Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Inside Edge was unveiled, one waited to check how it turned out to be.
Well, there is some really great news. The second season of Inside Edge is not just bigger and better in scale, size and grandeur, it is also far in-depth and entertaining than the first one. Now that’s a remarkable feat indeed since it has a unique subject at the core of it, cricket, and considering the fact that there hasn’t been any precedence around it in the world of web series, one has to give it to the makers for getting their facts and research right in pulling it off.
Created by Karan Anshuman, the second season has Aakash Bhatia stepping in as a director with Gurmmeet Singh chipping in as well along with Karan himself. The very episode begins with a bang as ‘bhaisaab’, played quite effectively by Aamir Bashir, is finally revealed. As the man in charge of Indian cricket, Aamir makes sure that the various shades to his character are revealed one after another with every passing episode. As someone who loves the sports as much as the money involved in it, he is good, bad and ugly as per the need of the situation.
No wonder, even though he wants to make cricket as a global sport, he doesn’t mind trying out fair as well as unfair means to keep the moolah coming. This is where his partner-in-crime is Richa Chaddha who is as passionate about being in a powerful position as she is about acting in front of the camera. The ones for whom the only passion though is cricket are Tanuj Virwani and Angad Bedi, once teammates and now rivals, who have demons of their own to fight. In the midst of these are the ladies, Sayani Gupta and Sapna Pabbi, who are core to the plot too.
However, the one who has his own game running is Vivek Oberoi, the man on exile who was once in a powerful position and now wishes to regain it all. It is this very power struggle that makes the second season of Inside Edge a truly intriguing affair, something has to be seen to be believed. Reason being that this time around the makers go much deeper into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of affairs instead of just leaving it at the ‘what’ stage. To do that needs guts and research and just for that the team of Inside Edge deserves full marks for indeed going all out.
The only place where one does gain an impression of some sort of compromise is the South Africa tourism that has been plugged in not as much as a subtle fashion. There are certain sequences, especially the one where Aamir and Richa meet the South African president in a cave, which seems totally unnecessary to the scheme of things. However, this is more than just compensated by the outdoor shoots as well as the matches in progress inside a stadium that gives this one a big screen appeal. This is where high production values come into picture.
Of course, the series wouldn’t have been half as impactful if not for some credible performances by majority of the starcast. As rivals, Aamir Bashir and Vivek Oberoi are truly fantastic, especially with their English dialogue delivery. Richa Chaddha is confident as ever and makes sure that her voice is heard. Tanuj Virwani is even better than how he was in the first season and it is good to see the actor getting his due. He is fantastic both as an actor and a cricketer. Angad Bedi brings on another mature performance and comes across as a plain natural.
Sapna Pabbi makes her debut in this series and it is good to see the actress do well again after Breathe. She is quite stylish too. Sayani Gupta is natural though at places it comes across as forced casual. Siddhant Chaturvedi extends his characterization from the first season though after Gully Boy one expects him to be ‘bindaas’. Amit Sial has an interesting part to play and he is good. Elli Avrram had a key role to play in the web series The Verdict but here her part is forgettable. Makrand Deshpande overacts though Manu Rishi Chadha is very good again.
Even though the disclaimer states that Inside Edge is the work of fiction, one can’t help but find many a similarity in the proceedings. Be it match fixing, betting, doping scandals, coming together of cricket and Bollywood, the politics involved in both the worlds, underworld and even cross-country politics, the series picks a lot from the headlines. The similarities out there are way too uncanny and that makes the series all the more relatable. With so much being revealed about what happens behind the scenes, watching cricket won’t be the same again.