‘Mumbai Diaries’ Season 2 Series Review: Despite the hiatus, Nikhil Advani’s medical drama is still entertaining

‘Mumbai Diaries’ Season 2 Series Review: Despite the hiatus, Nikhil Advani’s medical drama is still entertaining

Mumbai Diaries Season 2 Series

Premiering in 2021, Mumbai Diaries 26/11 was a tense, serious series about the human spirit under immeasurable stress. Set against the backdrop of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, producer and co-director Nikhil Advani depicts a group of characters – doctors and nurses, police and hotel managers – and the relationships of courage and compassion that saw them through that fateful, fateful night. After a gap of two years, the second season, also directed by Advani, Now streaming on Prime Video. It carries forward the format of the first instalment: another night, another crisis, another eight episodes leaping into the action with Mohit Raina’s heroics and recklessness. Perhaps the breathless urgency of Kaushal Shah’s fluid cinematography is lacking – here it has been replaced by Malay Prakash – and Advani managed to make a definite impact on his audience.

Although several months have passed, everyone at Bombay General Hospital is clearly haunted by the events of 26/11. Dr. Kaushik Oberoi (Mohit Raina) is being tried for medical negligence – both in court and in the public eye, he is accused of prioritizing the life of a terrorist over that of a brave policeman. Kaushik’s wife, Ananya (Tina Desai), Is pregnant again (she had a miscarriage in the past, which put a strain on their marriage). The compensation package to the victims’ families has been put on hold due to the ongoing investigation – “This is just an excuse for not paying,” a character says bluntly. It’s now the eve of 26/7, the date infamously associated with the devastating Mumbai floods (which actually happened in 2005). We see signs of the ever-increasing rain: leaky roofs, stalled traffic, splashes of rain on the dress of social services director Chitra Das (Konkona Sen Sharma). Soon, it became a full-blown deluge, with accidents, water-logging and overflow of patients into the emergency ward of Bombay General.

The 2005 Mumbai floods killed more than a thousand people and brought the vast metropolis to a halt. Although this is clearly the inspiration here, authors Yash Chetija and Persis Sodawaterwala also point to more recent events. Such as the stampede on a foot overbridge that eventually collapses, linking the events of 2017 and 2019; Heavy rainfall was recorded in Mumbai in both those years. With buildings crumbling across the city, news anchor Mansi (Shreya Dhanwantri) runs a story on construction scams – a permanent talking point of the annual flood. Just as the first season had the COVID-19 pandemic adding resonance, with its frontline workers risking their lives to protect a city, the new season comes amidst horrific scenes of flash floods in Sikkim , which has taken the lives of more than 20 people so far.

As before, Advani searches for accurate human narratives through the lens of a great tragedy. At its most perceptive, Mumbai Diaries continues to examine everyday heroism as a complex, long-lasting, painstaking task. The trajectory of bravery is often roundabout, accidental. Two characters set out on a personal quest and become unlikely saviors. Others grapple with enormous moral and ethical dilemmas: a trainee doctor becoming too involved with himself to the point of breaking protocol, a nurse acting selfishly in a moment of weakness, a baby practicing for an open brain incision. The neurosurgeon outside trembles.

There’s also a spate of physical and emotional violence that plays out in the new season of Mumbai Diaries. This is most evident in the subplot involving Chitra and her abusive husband Saurav (Parambrata Chatterjee), who tracks her down at Bombay General after she went missing years earlier. Konkona Sen Sharma is steely and trembling in a commanding role, and Parambrata – who last played a tough doctor in Bulbul – is thrilling as a toxic agent abandoned on the hospital floor. The show has been further helped by the presence of yesteryear actors like Balaji Gauri and Sanjay Narvekar. Mohit Raina is more broken and tortured than ever, and as Kaushik he has given enough inner performance, he is one of the actors best seen in action (his female counterpart in Hindi cinema would be Taapsee Pannu). .

As the sky changes, the series swings back and forth from relationship drama and medical thriller to disaster epic. Production designer Priya Suhas has recreated traffic jams, flooded roads, railway platforms jam-packed with stranded passengers and the threat of chaos breaking out at any moment. The gliding single take that created a sense of immersion and urgency in the first season, That has been toned down here in favor of more traditional shooting and editing. Visual imagination is limited at best: a cliched shot of Kaushik punching his framed medical degree in frustration comes to mind. In later episodes, hospital scenes are plunged into darkness due to a power failure. If the idea was to make the climactic portions different from anything that had gone before, trading in campy horror lighting and framing would do them no favors.

Nikhil Advani has made one of the most interesting transitions from films to series in recent years. The director, at times, wholeheartedly embraces the blatant manipulation of the audience and the tendency to load subplots and crises to the limit. Glimpses of sarcastic observation – like when conscience-stricken Mansi protests in the newsroom that she is tired of repeating words like ‘soul’ and ‘hope’ – are destroyed by the emotional outpouring in the final stages, In which many characters match and important lessons are underlined. This approach seems less than organic. This is surprisingly opposed by a minor character in one scene. “We are trying to understand. It will take time.”

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