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City Of Dreams Season 2 Review ,Political Webseries To Rival The Family Man

City Of Dreams Season 2 (10 Episodes, Disney-Hotstar)

Starring: Atul Kulkarni, Priya Bapat, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Eijaz Khan

Directed by: Nagesh Kukunoor

Rating: ****

City Of Dreams Season 2 Review: “Power is just an illusion…aakhir mein sirf rishe bachte hain,” the  indefatigably  ambitious  Poornima Gaekwad,  now  fighting her own  wily  father for  the chief-ministership  of Maharashtra, tells a friend, a  very special friend whom she  has abandoned in her flurry to fly high.

City Of Dreams Season 2 is  about power, politics  and  personal  losses,not  strictly in that  order. The series retains  its compelling core even while  introducing new interesting characters  who grow  as the  yawning arc  of Maharashtra’s politics  opens  up to multiple  interpretations.  We all know who  ‘Saheb’  Amey Rao Gaikwad(played by the brilliant  Atul Kulkarni)  is, right?  The reference  to the  tiger  in  the bedroom that comes  up towards the climax  of  the series is a dead giveaway.

[tnm_video layout=”mnmd-post-media-wide”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf-I9GPnf_M[/tnm_video]

But who the hell is Poornima Gaekwad  modelled on?  Nagesh Kukunoor and his co-writer  Rohit Banawilkar  weave  in  and out of fact and  fiction creating  a  riveting  political  pastiche   that proves what we  already know: absolute power corrupts  absolutely. The line  dividing the  world of politics and crime in City Of Dreams Season 2 is  so think,  it is almost non-existent.

The simmering  cornucopia of   characters are forever in the danger  of  slipping through the cracks. And  many of them  do. Poor Purushottam(so  poignantly  pathetic as  played by Sandeep Kulkarni). As  Poornima Gaekwad’s trusted lieutenant he  finds  himself  falling into the honeytrap  . Flora Saini  is  curiously  tragic and seductive as the  moll who  ensnares and destroys   poor  Purushottam .I loved her  sequence at the end  where she comes  to meet Purushuttom’s  simple trusting wife  who asks the pretty lady if her husband had an  affair with her. Without  blinking, Flora denies it.

Sometimes  a  lie is worth   many times  more than the truth. Even Mahatma Gandhi  thought so. Not that there are any Gandhian  politicians  in this intricately  conceived game  of  power and  deceit. Our heroine herself  is  no  saint. She has the  blood of  her own brother on her hands  from Season 1. Now in City Of Dreams Season 2 she pays the heaviest price possible  for a woman and  mother.

One  of this season’s of City Of Dreams Season 2 great  joys is  to watch  the  amazing  Priya Bapat play  the estranged wife  to a political activist Mahesh Aravale(Addinath M. Kothare, well played). And  before we  shout ‘Aandhi’ , Kothare  himself  describes himself as  Sanjeev Kumar in  Gulzar’s film and even hums  Tere bina zindagi se koi  to his  estranged wife.

The  series balances out the  clichés  of  political corruption with refreshing bouts  of  characterization . Virginal  and vibrant in City Of Dreams Season 2 is Tanya the  idealistic  overweight  daughter   of a  corrupt  builder(Shishir Mishra) who  runs an independent  anti-crime  organization with her likeminded friends and  teaches her spoilt bratty  privileged stinking-rich fiancé(Akashay Rathee)  a lesson in  conscientious citizenship .Let’s just say , if Farida Jalal  in Bobby was a scio-politically  committed  young woman she would be  Tanya.

Shriyam Bhagnani  as Tanya  is  a revelation. Both the  character and  the actress are outstanding  in their firm allegiance to  honesty. But the series  clearly belongs to baap-beti Priya Bapat and  Atul Kukarni. There is  something very special  about Ms Bapat. Her  face  gives away  nothing while conveying the oceanic turbulence  of a woman who questions  her commitments  as daughter, wife  mother and politician constantly.

As for Atul  Kulkarni, whether on a wheelchair  or out  of it dancing with his grandson or  sharing mutton with  his enemy , he is constantly  doing  unexpected things with his character. The same  goes for Eijaz Khan as  Wasim Khan the cop who must bear the double  burden  of  assuaging his  conscience and calming down his  raging community when politically  induced riots are unleashed .

Even the smallest  of characters leave  an impact. Divya Seth enters  in the fifth  episode. She conveys  so  much  of her  character’s political cynicism in  so little time! Or  the  young boy who plays Rashid  lured into acts  of terrorism by forces  which know how to exploit public sentiments. Luckily City Of Dreams Season 2 is  not guilty of  exploitative  compulsions. Apart from the  unnecessary profanities, the series makes not one  false move. The on running  joke about a news anchor who doesn’t allow any  guest  on  his  show to speak is hilarious. Right, Arnab?

If absolute  power corrupts  absolutely, is this series  about  absolute  power and  corruption worth seeing? Oh,  absolutely!

 

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