Delhi Crime Season 2 is just as effective as season 1. In a couple of respects, it is even better. Because it is sharper. It addresses the problem of being too soft on its own in the first season. In the new season, directed by new entrant Tanuj Chopra, that assessing gaze is much less indulgent. No, not all cops are on the side of the angels. And no, they are not infallible, either. It is also better because it is tighter. There’s no time wasted by way of introductions; we know the main characters, and because we were invested in them, we greet them like people we know.
That was one of the big pluses of the first season, this creation of interesting men and women who are in charge of law and order in rough-tough Delhi. It’s good to have them back. Shefali Shah, as DCP Vartika Chaturvedi who leads from the front, Rajesh Tailang as Bhupender Singh, her able wingman, Rasika Dugal as Neeti Singh, fast learning the ropes of her job, Adil Hussain as the political top cop whose moral fibre has still not frayed completely, and a bunch of others.
I have to say I was sceptical about this season. Very few crimes can be worse than the December 2012 bestial gang-rape and murder of a young woman, known to us as Nirbhaya. How would the new season top that one? A great deal of policing is about putting in the hours in office, endless paperwork, skirting bureaucratic hurdles, the drudgery of long-winding investigations which go nowhere. These day-to-day endeavours keep us citizens safe, and criminals off the roads, but doesn’t make for dramatic television.
Choosing to focus on a series of murders of senior citizens (based on the writings of former police commissioner Neeraj Kumar), with the specific MO of the dreaded ‘kachcha baniyan’ gang which used to be active in the 90s, was the right choice. It provides not just blood and gore, of which there is plenty, but also an examination of the underlying reasons why some perfectly ordinary humans turn into pitiless killers. Which, really, is the only reason why we subject ourselves to the horrific sights of the dead, so that those of us who still live, stay grateful of our privileges, and of the sheer luck of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The domestic diversions of the hard-working cops (no sleep, little money, leave cancelled, no family life) are also better meshed in this time around. Vartika’s pesky young daughter is safely sent away for higher studies, so is not able to create unnecessary diversions. Neeti’s armyman husband (Akash Dahiya) doesn’t know how to deal with his wife’s long hours at work — he isn’t a bad guy, but he is helpless in the face of his traditional upbringing. Bhupender is finding it hard to find a good match for his daughter, because of his profession. That’s real, too. All the performances, especially from the trio of Shah, Dugal and Tailang, are top-notch.
Delhi Crime Season 2 cast: Shefali Shah, Rajesh Tailang, Rasika Duggal, Tillotama Shome
Delhi Crime Season 2 director: Tanuj Chopra