Duranga Season 1, created by Goldie Behl, received mixed to positive reviews for presenting a gripping narrative around a man who had a difficult childhood as his father was a notorious serial killer. Abhishek Banne lives in Mumbai as Sammit Patel, and he assumed this identity to save himself and his family so that his disturbing past does not catch up to him. The creator of this show is back and they extend the narrative to provide a definite conclusion to this crime thriller. Directed by Rohan Sippy, the second installment of Zee5 Original was released on the platform on October 24, 2023.
Duranga season 2 commenced with the real Sammit Patel waking up from a coma after seventeen years and barely recognizing the house he grew up in. He was trying to understand the new surroundings around him and the role of Abhishek Banne. As Sammit becomes aware of Abhishek and his contribution to protecting the family, the newly reformed son of the Patels cannot wait to meet this man and his family.
Abhishek and Ira have not been on good terms since the day he confessed to his sister Prachi about his inability to love his wife and daughter Anya. Ira did not confront him about his identity, and they chose not to communicate with each other ever since. Sammit, in his bid to get to know the man impersonating his identity, makes a sudden appearance, only to startle Abhishek. As the story progresses, the attacks on women continue only to shed light on the serial killer, who was an accomplice of Bala Banne, the deceased criminal who had murdered many women in the town of Sarangwadi.
Everyone assumes Bala Banne’s son could be the accomplice. Mumbai Crime Branch under Ira and Nikhil is on the hunt to find the man. What is the role of Sammit Patel in this investigation? Is Abhishek adamant about clearing his name from all the murders that have taken place? Will Ira and Abhishek discuss his past? The makers answer these questions and tie up all the loose ends from season 1 to deliver a predictable yet decent show.
The premise of this season was lukewarm, unlike the first one, but the narrative picks up pace in the second half of the show and delivers a stretched yet decent end to this saga. Season 1 of Duranga was about setting up the lead characters so viewers could understand their motives and dilemmas. The second season of the show expands to Ira and her team at Mumbai Crime Branch are busy locating Bala Banne’s accomplice. The said person is culpable for the murders that happened years ago and is instrumental in carrying out recent attacks on women. The entire team at Mumbai Crime Branch goes through several twists and turns like hairpin bends to provide a conclusive end to this crime thriller. The accomplice is revealed to the audience in the second episode of the show, and the cat-and-mouse chase begins as the police are keen to know the identity of the criminal.
The screenplay in this season does not follow a linear path. Many additional subplots did not play any significant role in the overall narrative. The storytelling is convoluted, and it took the writers a good deal of time to conclude and finally reveal the identity of the accomplice to the police in the show. Since the culprit was already revealed to the audience, it should have made the route to reach the climactic point much easier. Unfortunately, most of the subplots go in different directions. The viewers are unable to connect the dots and find a context for any revelations.
Crime thrillers should be easy to follow because there are several layers needed to understand the motive of the criminal. There are always red herrings when it comes to this genre, which are not explored by the makers this season. The first season was tightly written and executed, but in the case of the second installment, there were a lot of convenient twists in the tale that made the viewing experience tiresome. The pacing of the show is decent, as is the editing by Abhijit Deshpande in each episode. Thankfully, the episodes of Duranga did not go beyond 35 minutes of runtime.
Writers Charudutt Acharya and Goldie Behl did a fantastic job of adding the narrative of women saving the men of their families. This motif keeps repeating, and it allows the viewer to see men from a vulnerable point of view. These themes are hardly explored in many crime thrillers, and it is refreshing to witness Ira rescuing Abhishek from several life-threatening situations. The mental health angle is explored in depth by the makers, and it emphasizes how counseling at a young age could do wonders for kids who showcase violent behaviors. The experience of shared trauma between Prachi and Abhishek is written and executed with a lot of sensitivity, and it allows the viewers to develop empathy towards these characters who have been misunderstood by society.
Having said this, Sammit Patel’s childhood and the reason for his violent tendencies are not explored in depth to analyze him as the person he eventually became. Bala Banne’s hatred for women is mentioned in passing at several junctures in Duranga. The reason behind the hatred is neither mentioned nor explored. Bala Banne’s motive was a convenient plot point, and expanding on that would have made the narrative simple and conclusive. There was no mention of Anya’s developing aggressive nature in the later part of the show. This plot point is left out for people to make assumptions and theories around it.
Rohan Sippy’s direction is exceptional as the second season begins but loses steam in the next half of the show. A confusing screenplay is the reason behind the direction going off track, especially in the penultimate and finale episodes of this season. The climax of the show is predictable and stretched. The director could have avoided indulging in expansive storytelling and should have stuck to giving the lead characters a decent closure.
The performances in this season of Duranga are again the highlights. Gulshan Devaiah is an excellent actor and he pulls off the character of an emotionally damaged person with absolute finesse. A scene involving him breaking down and seeking his wife’s help is the highlight of the show. It takes courage for a male actor to portray a role that is opposite of what a lead is supposed to do in a crime thriller. Gulshan, as Abhishek goes from feeling nothing for Ira to falling in love with her and finally letting himself be vulnerable. Drashti Dhami’s role was engaging, and it was fascinating to watch female protagonists taking the shots and saving the day. She is incredible as a person who is torn between being a partner and an honest police officer. Amit Sadh, as Sammit Patel, delivered a below-par performance of a man who is slowly showcasing psychopathic traits. There were several issues with the way he performed. His role required depth, fear, and terror, which were lacking throughout the show.
Rajesh Khattar and Divya Seth Shah are incredible as parents of Sammit Patel, but there were no layers given to their characters. The mother and father were not given any redemption arc, making it difficult for the viewers to believe their actions. Overall, Duranga is a good extension of the first season despite its obvious flaws. It is a satisfactory watch.