Web Show: The Night Manager
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Tillotama Shome, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ravi Behl, Saswata Chatterjee
Director: Sandeep Modi, Priyanka Ghose
OTT: Disney+ Hotstar
Rating: 3 Moons
The first part of Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur's The Night Manager ended with a cliffhanger. Four months later, the story continues from where it was left. Shaan Sengupta (Aditya Roy Kapur) has now taken the menacing 'Merchant of Death', Shailendra or Shelly Rungta (Anil Kapoor) into his confidence. Shaan has a new name as Shelly makes him a part of his inner circle and entrusts a new business to him. As he navigates through the dark world, the Night Manager has to avenge Safina's death.
The Night Manager Part 2 has upgraded in drama, character arcs and thrills. The first part came in February and the wait has been pretty long, but the show does pay off well. Its larger-than-life canvas does all the magic. The scale, the adrenaline rush and the layering in each character stand out. Shaan and Shelly's chase that form the core of The Night Manager Part 2 is crisp and the director is in no hurry to fast-forward it until the climax. The story unfolds dramatically and cinematically, giving space for each character to bloom. At one point, Shaan tells Shelly, "Main tumhaari Lanka ko jalte huye dekhna chahta hoon," which instantly and funnily reminds you of "Kapda tere baap ka, tel tere baap ka, jalegi bhi tere baap ki," from Adipurush. Such finer factors make The Night Manager Part 2 a memorable watch.
Having said so, The Night Manager Part 2 gets predictable after a while. Shaan double-dealing with the Indian intelligence agency while working with Shelly leads us to the idea of what could happen in the end. While the 5th and 6th episodes are well-paced, the finale seems unsatisfactory. The writers and directors are in a hurry to conclude it. Predictability seeps in pretty early. The staging of drama prevents the show from a colossal disaster.
The connections between the characters are somewhere lost. Shaan's bond with Shelly's son Taha was one of the highlights of the first part. Unfortunately, Taha has been wiped off the series and by doing this, the writers and directors get away with the only genuine and relatable connection we got to see. There's no spark in Shelly and Shaan's conversations and conflicts. As individual characters, they are phenomenally arched. The Night Manager has been crafted for the big screen but the treatment given to the story might remind you of Abbas-Mastaan films where back-to-back action stunts, plot twists and non-linear narrative take precedence. It is hard to ignore the loopholes that are at times caused due to outdated dialogues.
To its merit, The Night Manager Part 2 has some of the best action sequences. Tillotama Shome gets to perform the best and most tricky one. The scene between Brij and Shaan in the middle of a desert is for the books. Cinematography plays an important role in elevating the show's visual appeal.
Anil Kapoor plays Shelly Rungta with effortless charm and dignity. He doesn't judge his character and is unapologetic while essaying the role of a diabolic person. He carries himself charismatically and allows his 40 years of experience to captivate you throughout. While he looks young and handsome as always, Anil makes you fall for Shelly's enigmatic personality. He proves why Shelly Rungta was a tailor-made character.
Aditya Roy Kapur comes into his element in the second part. The stillness and grace that he carries himself with are unmatched. He is utilised well in the series. Lending Shaan his charm and seductive powers, Aditya is a treat to watch after a long time.
Tillotama Shome is the real deal here. As a pregnant intelligence officer, the actress gives Lipika Saikia Rao a graph that's escalating with every scene. She also performs a thrilling and shocking action stunt with that baby bump. Applauds all the way for this wonderful performer who shapeshifts into every character she gets!
Sobhita Dhulipala was underexposed in the first part. Now, she gets her due. Adding layers to Kaveri's character through a backstory, Sobhita is convincing. There's a certain distance between Kaveri and Shelly after the events highlighted in The Night Manager Part 1 and the coldness she feels around him is beautifully enacted.
Saswata Chatterjee is likeable as always. Prashant Narayanan doesn't need to put extra effort to play evil as he has already mastered the skill of acting. The Night Manager has a good lineup of supporting actors which adds to its merit.
All 7 episodes of The Night Manager franchise could have been released together for better relatable and recall value. Nevertheless, binge watch is the only way to get sucked into the world created by Sandeep Modi and Priyanka Ghose.
PeepingMoon gives The Night Manager Part 2 3 Moons