- Three suspected terrorists are chased down by Manoj Bajpayee and his team on the streets of Mumbai. It is a heart stopping chase which starts in a car and ends up at at the corner of gully in pitch black night
- A bunch of terrorists enter a hospital to free up their leader. What starts in absolute silence turns into a bloody mayhem as bodies start falling and even intelligence officers are at their wits end to figure out how to bring this all to a stop
The common factor between both these stunning sequences? These are directed in a single shot by Raj & DK, the mavericks behind gems like 99 and Go Goa Gone, and even much underrated A Gentleman. Lasting between 8 to 13 minutes each, these are not just cinematic marvels, these are also thrilling to the core without coming across as gimmicky at all.
That’s the core of The Family Man as a whole too. It is thrilling, and not gimmicky, something that makes it an excellent series that has just seen its first season been premiered with work already in progress for the second season. Narrating the story of a family man who is also a world class spy, The Family Man is as authentic as it gets when it comes to stepping into the spy genre, a zone where not Bollywood affairs have succeeded in the past.
Yes, the biggest of them all is Salman Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar’s own Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai. However, what you get to see there is a quintessential ‘bhai’ affair whereas in case of The Family Man, the man of the moment – Manoj Bajpayee – wonders whether he would get his housing loan approved or not. That’s what makes The Family Man real and also relatable, hence turning out to be a series that reminds one of that excellent Israeli spy thriller Fauda which is also available as a web series.
There are some similarities there, albeit from the template and not the execution standpoint. There too, the central protagonist is a family man, though divorced. That said, that series is rather dry in terms of stage, set up and execution where there is no relief moment per se. On the other hand Raj & DK have made sure that there are plenty of situations in The Family Man which result in smiles, chuckles and even occasional laughter, especially in the first half of the series. Of course, the narrative doesn’t let go of the thrills, drama and action, hence resulting in a much recommended affair.
From the core plot perspective, the series is centered on a terrorist plot that connects Syria with India and also has a genesis in Pakistan while spreading its tentacles to Kashmir. That results in a roller coaster ride which keeps you excited, entertained and enthralled.
No one tries to be over smart here as the plot grows organically. Manoj Bajpayee is brilliant as ever and this is one series that gives him ample scope as a performer since he is not restricted by the duration that he is seen on screen. The web platform allows him ample time to get into the skin of the character and he gets it perfectly correct right from body language, dialogue delivery, mannerisms to facial expressions. He is ably supported by Sharib Hashmi, that wonderful actor from Filmistaan, who is an able partner and stays cool headed right through. He is very good. The part of the terrorist is played by Neeraj Madhav and as a calculative and manipulative youngster, he is good. Priyamani plays Manoj’s wife and she is natural to the core. So are the kids, Mehek Thakur and Vedant Sinha, who are thankfully miles away from being those filmy ‘bachchas’ who come across as rather artificial.
Shahab Ali gives a good account of himself too as another terrorist and rest assured he would be seen more in the second season. Wish it’s the same for Sharad Kelkar, Gul Panag and Shreya Dhanwanthary as well who are good when they appear on screen, though their character graph somehow appears incomplete. As for Darshan Kumar (Mary Kom, NH 10), he is quite good and would hopefully have a meatier part in the second season.
Overall though, there is meat in what Raj, DK and Manoj have brought in The Family Man. The series has seen extraordinary promotion and marketing going around it and has already become quite popular since its release. In days to come, its popularity is anyways going to spread further, hence ensuring that it turns out to be yet another huge winner for Amazon Prime after Inside Edge, Breathe and Mirzapur.