Shaan In ‘The Night Manager,’ Explained: Is Shaan The Real Hero Here?

It is easy to praise the protagonist of any show because the job of this person in the show is to make sure the mission is a success at any cost. He or she has to come forward and put their life on the line, and that requires determination and courage to pull off the role without flinching, not even for a second. The same can be said of Shaan from The Night Manager because, as an ex-hotelier and ex-soldier, he came forward to help the intelligence service get rid of a rich and suave arms dealer.

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Shaan heard of Shailendra Rungta for the first time from Lipika when he passed on the information Safina had on her husband, Freddie Rehman. He was shocked to learn that a large illegal deal could be happening at his place of work. Safina’s innocence and desire to live made him want to help her. Unfortunately for him, Shelly caught on to them when Safina became the first casualty of the long battle between Lipika and Shelly, and sadly, Shaan was the one who had to witness it.

Her death had a deep impact on him, something he never got over. It triggered something in Shaan that drove him to go after Shelly Rungta and give information about him to Lipika years later. This allowed Lipika to explore the possibility that Shaan could get into Shelly’s inner circle and bring him down for she knows he has it in him to make this happen. Shaan and Lipika come up with a long, elaborate plan of action to decimate Shelly’s business and bring him before the court of law.

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Shaan, being an ex-soldier, was disturbed by the way Shelly lives so flamboyantly. Though his plan to infiltrate worked smoothly, they had to do a lot of groundwork. Shaan gets into the skin of the character and does everything he can subtly so that Shelly doesn’t suspect. Shaan got closer to Taha, Shelly’s son, to understand the man. He was smart enough to do this because Lipika backed him, fueled his confidence and pushed him to take risks to get as much information as he could that would help the R&AW to bring Shelly down.

Shaan, though he comes across as a confident man, is worried that he will be caught. He is a spy who is in the inner circle of Shelly, and betraying the big man while being around him means he would unleash his wrath on Shaan. Thanks to his quiet demeanor, Shelly started trusting Shaan and made him the CEO of the company by ousting Brij.

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Shaan was attracted to Kaveri and somehow was able to get a vibe that she was not happy in the marriage. It turns out to be true because she reveals to him about her having a child. She had not shared this piece of information with Shelly as yet.  Their attraction leads to them sleeping with each other because the two of them are very much in pain, and it brings them together. Shaan also reveals to her that her husband is an arms dealer, so that she is made aware of what Shelly is up to and how he was able to afford a lifestyle like they are leading right now.

Shaan goes rogue in Dubai because Lipika and her team wanted to extract him, for they come to know of his alleged affair with Kaveri. Lipika cannot risk losing the mission to his clandestine fling. Shaan by this point is a different person and he cannot let go of this mission after coming this close to it. Shaan has changed because he caught the bug digging deep into Shelly’s matters. He has become as obsessed with Shelly as Lipika is, and he can understand why this man needs to be destroyed.

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Shaan is close to letting Lipika know of the information he had about the arms deal and the transportation of the merchandise. He does this because she must know that Shaan is still a part of the mission, just working alone and making his moves as per his instincts. Shaan is slowly gaining confidence, but Brij catches him in the act. Shaan had to get rid of him because he was in no mood to fail this mission. He had slowly become a ruthless man and he didn’t think twice before killing Brij and pointing fingers at the deceased man for being a mole.  

After many such touch-and-go incidents to get hold of the main man, Shaan, along with Shelly, Kaveri and the entire entourage come back to Dhaka. Coming back to this city brings back all the traumatic memories of Safina, even though it was a brief friendship they’d shared. This city was the genesis of the hatred the man has for Shelly, and by the looks of it, this is where the showdown would happen.  Shaan is anxious and on the brink of breaking down because of the overwhelming atmosphere of terror around him but he somehow manages to walk past Freddie Rehman, who tries to place him from a distant memory.

Shaan ends up drowning Freddie because he reveals his role in killing Safina. Shaan’s role in killing Brij days before their departure to Dhaka opened the floodgates and pushed him to commit another crime. His rage-filled demeanor made sure he would carry out murders, something he never thought he had in himself. Shaan surprised the viewers by going from point 0 to 100 in a small time. He managed to get rid of two of Shelly’s closest associates, which is a feat in itself for someone who has no experience working in intelligence services.

Killing both gives Shaan the courage to commence the last part of his plan, which is to annihilate Shelly, literally and figuratively. His plan is successful, as he managed to be ten steps ahead of Shelly, making him desperate to make a deal with him to get out of the mess. Shaan agrees to the deal only under one condition. He wants Shelly to let Kaveri go. For Shelly, this was an easy way out, but for Shaan, rescuing Kaveri from this mess was important because he loved her. He only meant to keep one part of the promise, which is to make sure Kaveri remains safe. The other one was the concluding part of an elaborate trap laid down by Shaan and Lipika, and both excelled in doing so. As Shelly was finally taken away by his clients for deceiving them, Shaan’s pain left his body as he felt he had avenged Safina and rescued Kaveri. Shaan does come across as a hero, but at the cost of his life, as he might suffer from lifelong PTSD for the horrors he witnessed.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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