First things first, clearing things right of the bat how Beyhadh 2, albeit a second installment of the thriller series has nothing to do with the first season. Only a few things remain the same here – the name Maya (not Mehrotra, but Jaisingh) and the darkness associated with the now-iconic character.
Coming back to Beyhadh 2, the premise is different and the characters are different this time around but one thing remains constant - The beyhadh-ness of Maya. Let’s roll on what works for the show and what doesn’t.
The basic plotline is rather simplistic where on the paper, it can be explained in one sentence – one woman set out for revenge against a dysfunctional family owing to a mystery in the past that scarred her and her mother. That’s it. It is, however, the fabulously crafted layers that follow make Beyhadh 2 what it is.
The welcome change her from the first season is how it does not wander around like in the first season where Maya gradually enters the zone of being ‘psycho Maya’ after several instances of falling in love with Kushal Tandon’s character of Arjun. While that was interesting too, the makers of Beyhadh 2 have taken a smart decision to not waste time on that transition here. It is an ode of respect to the viewers – they know Maya is obsessive, vengeful and psychotic already, so let’s get into her shenanigans right away.
Apart from Maya, what is effectively juicy as a plot is the Roy family. Oh boy! Meeting the Roy family is like Dil Dhadakne Do meeting Kapoor & Sons. Every character in the family loves (almost) each other but has a troublesome past or a deep dark secret that gets them together but still staying apart. Be it Rudra’s (Shivin Narang) obvious anger with his father, Mritunjay Roy (Ashish Chowdhry), or Diya Roy’s (Nikunj Malik) secretive past that gets grandmother Roy (Rupa Divetia) to slam and insult her every single time. The premise with the Roy family is deliciously mysterious and while Maya’s antics are the scene-stealers, I cannot wait to see what happens when the threads are untangled in the Roy family.
I had my doubts immediately when the second installment was being planned. History speaks for itself when the seconds have usually not lived up to the heights an original achieves. But somehow and in some way, Beyhadh 2 manages to (almost) be as brilliant as Beyhadh. And while we will talk about it as it goes on, here are some nuances that I plucked out that make the show an intelligent one.
You would remember how Maya Mehrotra was all about wearing whites till she falls in love with Arjun in Beyhadh. Here, the color has changed to black. Throughout all the five episodes, we only see Maya Jaisingh in black clothes but what is more nuanced is the first shot of the show where a shlok and Maya’s dialogue showcases her transition from quitting whites to being black. This is deeply thought and well-executed.
The cinematography with Beyhadh 2 is another highlight making it intricate. The highlights and shadows that represent Maya’s madness and state of mind is fantastically presented with disturbing yet captivating blues, blacks and reds.
One scene that encapsulates Jennifer Winget’s class act as Maya is the moment when Rishi (Rajat Verma) comes to meet her. In a flash of a second, we see Maya being Maya with a cunning smile to acting vulnerable and scared when Rishi turns over. One second and Winget changes her expressions brilliantly.
Rajat Verma as Rishi acts well where it is important to see him as a naïve young teenager and he plays his part; Ashish Chowdhry as Mrityunjay Roy is meant to be brooding and stoic but he just pushes it a bit too much. He underplays MJ but in that process, it comes across too stoic to be invested in. Hoping with the character development of the mystery ahead, Chowdhry is able to showcase other shades as well. Shivin Narang as Rudra impresses at times when he is meant to come across as a match to Maya but still has miles to go before being able to come anywhere close. For some reason, Narang immediately tilts his head in every frame when he is meant to be matching up to Maya and it is so visible that he is trying too hard. The surprise package in the rest of the cast is Nikunj Malik where, albeit she has less screen-time but owing to good writing, she performs the character of Diya really well.
Adjectives and words will continue to fall short to express Jennifer Winget’s portrayal of Maya Jaisngh. It almost seems like she never left the role from the first season even though she played the exact opposite of Maya in Colors’ Bepannaah in between the years. She excels playing the menacing Maya yet again and there are umpteen instances where you will be petrified of what her plans are ahead and even her silence and eyes will get you chills.
Not to get too technical but the CGI in a couple of scenes was as bizarre as you can imagine. One of the initial scenes when Rishi is shown to be drowning underwater, the CGI is done rather badly where you can obviously make out the difference. On the flipside, an underwater scene is shot really well when Hasan Zaidi’s character is shown saving a man in the later episodes. May be Rajat Verma wasn’t comfortable underwater and they had to adopt CGI.
Maya is a character, where anything and everything you see, she sells it. Especially when it’s portrayed by a class act like Winget. However, several things in the treatment of the same turn out to be too perfect to be true. To explain in a clearer way – remember how Saif Ali Khan’s Ranveer in Race 2 seemed to be the Jack of all Trades and could do no wrong or make no mistake; Maya comes across tad as much. Even though a mastermind and a menace, she is only human after all. Also, her commentary with herself mouthing heavy dialogues gets a bit too much to consume at times.
In spite of minor but obvious shortcomings and the lack of novelty, Beyhadh 2 stays almost entirely believable and as deliciously thrilling as it was before. Hoping and praying that it doesn’t deter away from good writing and unnecessary market demands. If that is taken care of, Beyhadh 2 has the potential to top Beyhadh in the longer run.
Rating – ***1/2 (3.5/5)