At Best, She Season 2 Remains A Woman’s Story Told From A Male Gaze

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When I sat to watch She Season 2, over the weekend the only image that had stayed with me from season one of the web show was from its last episode. Bhumika Pardeshi aka Bhumi, the undercover cop who posed as a commercial sex worker, declares her allegiance to the drug lord Nayak and gets on top of him to have sex. In that scene, she takes charge and stops being a puppet in the hands of the Mumbai Police her handler Inspector Fernandez. But did the second instalment of the show achieve what it had set in motion towards the end of the first season?

Creator Imtiaz Ali’s She no doubt is every inch about Police Constable Bhumika Pardeshi played by Aaditi Pohankar, even more than it was in season 1. Season 2 is directed by Arif Ali, younger brother of Imtiaz Ali, and tells the story of how Bhumi transforms from being a pawn in the hands of her organisation which planted her as an undercover cop to a woman leading a dual life and how she rewrites the power equation by the end of the show.

However, the main issue with the show is that it tells a woman’s story from a male gaze. The show has several scenes of extreme violence with many showing Bhumi being at the receiving end and some of the Bhumi-Nayak intimate scenes are cringe-worthy. It seems Bhumi loves her alter ego of the sex worker as it lets her overcome the humiliation meted by her husband on her wedding night. But are such scars so easily erased?

Review She Season 2

In the first season, a mythical aura had been created around Nayak. However, Nayak played by Kishore fails to live up to that. He is unable to create that tension when around Bhumi which was created so brilliantly by Vijay Varma’s Sasya in the first season. From a feminist lens the show fails, because it tells the story of what a woman wants from the eyes of a man, yet again. Something, our Hindi film industry reuses to take note of.

Suggested Reading: Imtiaz Ali’s ‘She Season 2’ Receives Mixed Feedback From Audience, Read Reviews Here

As far as the cast apart from Pohankar is concerned none in the police department make a mark. A character worth mentioning is T Resh Lamba as the eunuch Durga. However, Durga remains underutilised.

What is interesting to observe is how Bhumi changes, learns to understand her mind, develops ambition and learns that she needs to work for self-preservation. She has to fight for her survival as between seasons 1 and 2 she emerges as the only person who has seen the drug lord Nayak outside of his innermost circle. It is interesting how rather than following the orders of the two men Nayak and Fernandez she learns to work on the dictates of her mind.

However, she never comes across as the person who knows her mind well but is confused at her best. She emerges as a godmother to the sex workers whom she met first as an undercover agent and makes them part of the larger plan, but we are not convinced she can do things in cold blood makes the show underwhelming.

Between Nayak and Bhumi, there are several exchanges about how you achieve real power. As Nayak suggests, you get it when you kill your loved ones. Bhumi on her first attempt fails this test. Will, she ultimately sell her soul to the devil and get trapped in the world she so unwillingly entered? Well for that you need to watch the show.

The show is available on Netflix and stars Aaditi Pohankar, Vishwas Kini, Kishore Kumar G, Saqib Ayub, Vishesh Sagar, Paritosh Sand, Shivani Rangole, Monika Dabade, Suhita Thatte, Sandeep Dhabale, Dhruv Thukral.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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