All eyes are on The Family Man Season 2 premiering on Amazon Prime Video from June 4.
The Manoj Bajpayee led web series Season 1 is one of the most successful on the streaming platform. Now Season 2 is eagerly awaited and the entire OTT industry is looking forward to its success, which will give a huge boost to web series business.
The first season has worked well as the writer-director duo Raj and DK targeted it at middle-class audiences. The story in a way is a fantasy about an ordinary family man Srikant Tiwary played brilliantly by Manoj Bajpayee with a nagging wife and demanding children who is also a world-class super-spy!
The Family Man 2 has a lot riding on it. Its success will make Indian OTT platforms stronger as very few web series have worked with Indian audiences. Unlike in the USA, where web series are as popular as feature films, in India, only mainstream commercial mass films are preferred. There have been exceptions like Sacred Games, Mirzapur, Scam 1992, Aarya, The Family Man and a few others.
The idea that Indian content providers are toying with is to move away from star-spangled theatrical films and cultivate a taste for content-driven web series. This comes at a time when theatres in India are under lockdown and film shooting has almost come to a standstill. Even if theatres open in a few month's time, fresh content will take a longer time to hit the screens.
At the same time, saleable content which will drive OTT subscriptions are limited due to second-wave lockdown restrictions hampering shootings. A few which hired resorts in Goa, Daman and Diu for web series shoot in a bubble, had to stop as they could not move the shoot to outdoors or actors fell sick as they didn’t keep to the bubble.
More trouble came as the government clamped down on web series as political outfits affiliated with the ruling party demanded censor of OTT content. This came about after Tandav landed in a major controversy over its scenes “for hurting religious sentiments”. Earlier Mirzapur too had run into trouble after FIR’s were filed against the OTT platforms and the makers dragged to the courts.
Meanwhile, The Family Man Season 1 had its share of controversies and brushes with the law over certain scenes which were taken from real-life incidents that landed the content maker in trouble. They were accused of showing “Indian Army in bad light” and an RSS magazine called the content ‘anti-national’. Now Season 2 is embroiled in a major controversy even before its release! Rajya Sabha member and MDMK leader Vaiko after watching the trailer has shot of a letter to Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar to stop the show.
Vaiko’s allegation is that the trailer showed via the “Tamilian character played by Samantha as terrorist and ISI agent with a Pakistan link!” His party MDMK is a part of MK Stalin’s DMK led government in Tamil Nadu. Later the Tamil Nadu government too objected to the series and said that “The Family Man 2 depicts the Eelam Tamils in a highly objectionable manner”. They also objected to the casting of Samantha a Tamilian as a terrorist!
The makers of the serial Raj and DK in a press release said - “We have utmost respect towards Tamil people. Some assumptions and impressions have been made on just a couple of shots in the trailer. We have taken great pains to present a sensitive, balanced and riveting story. Many of our lead cast members of the creative and writing teams are Tamilians. We request everyone to wait and watch the show when it releases.”
The Union government or the I&B ministry is yet to make any official comment on it, which means the series will go ahead with its premier release tonight.
By Sreedhar Pillai