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Samantar 2: Should keep season one fans happy

Samantar 2 Cast: Swwapnil Joshi, Nitish Bharadwaj, Sai Tamhankar, Tejaswini Pandit; Direction: Sameer Vidwans; Rating: * * * (three stars)

BY VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY

The Marathi thriller series “Samantar” gave an absorbing spin to the mystery genre in its first season last year, and the hype was naturally high when season two dropped this weekend.

The series tries maintaining the tempo in its new season, clearly going by the logic that whatever worked once definitely works better the next time around in the world of sequels and seasons. The second season is more frenetic, goes all out with drama, and, though the storytelling becomes repetitive after a point, manages to hold interest.

For those who came in late, “Samantar” is about Kumar Mahajan (Swwapnil Joshi) who, in the first season, discovers his life mirrors that of a man named Sudarshan Chakrapani (Nitish Bharadwaj). In other words, Sudarshan has already lived the incidents happening in Kumar’s life. In order to understand his life and know his fate, Kumar must seek out Sudarshan and, as season one ended, he got hold of Sudarshan’s diaries.

Kumar realizes his life is documented in Sudarshan’s diaries, but he understands he can read only one page a day. As season two begins, the pages of the past layout what’s in store for Kumar, even as the narrative shows us in flashback how a particular occurrence had panned out for Sudarshan and lead to exactly the same outcome.

The storyline is interesting in the way it balances the two lives. Every fortune and misfortune in Sudarshan’s life is cleverly re-written to fit Kumar’s life, maintaining a cohesion in narrative mood and spirit. Season two has 10 episodes, and underlines its theme sufficiently — you cannot fight your fate.

Returning in familiar roles, Swwapnil Joshi, Nitish Bharadwaj, and Tejaswini Pandit (as Kumar’s wife Nima) come up with assured performances. The act of season two comes from Sai Tamhankar (in a dual role) playing out the mystery woman who enters the lives of both men, fulfilling a vital prophecy in one of the diaries. Sai’s presence adds vim to the drama and remains a highlight.

“Samantar 2” should keep fans of season one happy and leave just that bit of scope for a third season, as it ends. This isn’t the best that OTT has to offer this year, but is good enough as a one-time watch.

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