Every episode of `Inside Edge – Season 2′ starts with the longish standard disclaimer. `Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.’
That is the biggest lie served upfront to the viewer. Because just about every major character or incident would find a ready reference in your newspaper or TV shows. Match spot fixing remains at the heart of season 2, just like it was in Season One. The only difference is the setting inspired by then Home minister P Chidambaram throwing up his hands on providing security for the 2009 IPL, forcing Lalit Modi to move the event to South Africa. Ditto in Inside Edge Season 2 where the Home minister, annoyed by the PPL Commissioner’s refusal to let him own a team, refuses security, forcing the organisers to move to South Africa.
Or the character of Vayu and Rohini’s cricket coach, played by theatre and film actor Makarand Deshpande, whose cap resembles the one that Ramakant Achrekar used to wear. Or the sets of `Jauhar’ vandalised by right-wing groups. Remember Padmavat?
Perhaps this is OTT’s way of getting as real as possible.
But if Vivek Oberoi’s menacing presence added a certain raw edge to Inside Edge Season One, that is missing in the sequel. All Oberoi does in Season 2 is to scowl under a hood. Bhaisaab, the president of the Indian Cricket Board, is the new negative in Season 2, portrayed as a more cool and cunning operator but he leaves you cold. Despite all his moves delivered in a soft tone, you hardly warm up to his villainous self.
Richa Chadha had a better written role in the first season. Season 2 is cardboardish, with the talented actor wasted. So is the character of Vayu Raghavan, now the captain of Mumbai Mavericks. His dialogues only consist of the F-word and profanities. Mantra, the daughter of Bhaisaab and the 85 per cent owner of the Mumbai Mavericks is supposed to be his romantic interest but it never quite proceeds beyond listening to the walkman together.
Season 2 is also about doping, Vivek Oberoi trying to do anti-spot fixing and all that. But frankly after a point, it begins to drag. After all, the series cannot be as if you are watching the IPL. This is meant to be drama around cricket, instead what has been dished out in Season 2 is the previous year’s serving just heated up in a microwave. The recipe feels boring, the characters even more bored.
No one is perhaps more bored-looking than Mr Cricket played by Angad Bedi. His character is not even interested in playing the game any more but is forced to. Like in Season one, the management and the analysts go through the same rigmarole of SWOT analysis of each player but fail to develop any character well. Prashant is the only character with different shades but the events surrounding his hallucination and how the police does not investigate him shooting the senior spinner, is a big mystery left unanswered. Rohini (played by Sayani Gupta, must admit I am a fan of the actor) and her coach’s scenes again deserve mention for a certain honesty that is infused.
If Inside Edge plans to come with a Season 3, it needs to move beyond the hackneyed nature of the plot. There is more to cricket than just spot fixing. There is more politics in the cricketing world but the meat needs to be served better.
The season begins with a top-notch journalist (modelled on you know who) getting sacked after just a text message from a miffed Bhaisaab to his employer. And it ends with the journalist launching his own channel. Even coincidence, it would seem, is Fixed in Inside Edge.