It’s a strange feeling watching Pushpavalli. Because the only other time we’ve made these squinty, scrunched-up engrossed faces is when we’ve had tamarind candy. Season 2 of comedian Sumukhi Suresh’s hit show has us scuttling between shock and laughter. Pushpavalli may rank high on our disapproval scale, but you just can’t take your eyes away from her or the show.
Season 2 picks up from where it left. Albeit without the aftermath of the messy end to Pushpavalli’s obsession. It looks like she’s moved on. Until you find a familiar face outside her window - T-Boi, Pushpavalli’s loyal co-conspirator.
Not much has changed in Pushpavalli’s world. She’s still got eyes for only one man. But what’s more enjoyable this season is the greater presence of her inner circle. Pankaj (Naveen Richard), her perpetually snarly, snarky, potty-mouthed friend who is clearly a connoisseur of quirky printed shirts, is more than just that. He may not be a fan of Pushpavalli’s shenanigans but he’s the one friend who’d stick his neck out for her. Then there’s T-Boi, now promoted to second-in-command when it comes to plotting. But it’s no longer a transactional relationship between them where she hires him to do her dirty bidding. T-Boi considers himself a friend and in his own twisted way, cares for her well-being.
As for the resurgence in friendship between Nikhil (Manish Anand) and Pushpavalli, it makes us want to scream ‘Why, man! Why?!!!’ Can anyone ever get over a stalker as fast as Nikhil Rao did?
But never mind that for this is where makers of Kabir Singh and the like can take some pointers. The audience can be invested in a ‘grey’ character, and even sympathise with the circumstances that fuels their detrimental behaviour without forgiving, approving and especially glorifying their regressive actions.
Also, Vasu’s back! Shraddha as PG warden Vasu is an absolute delight! Always in a nightie and terrorising the girls in that trademark lingo is deserving of rewinds and playback. This time though she’s a little more than an uncouth crook as she holds up a mirror to the worst of Pushpavalli.
Meanwhile, fiancée Vidyut (Vidyut Gargi), is a good guy who never misses a chance to let her know how awesome she is.
It boggles our minds as to why someone smart, funny and sassy would stoop to such depths just to get attention. When it comes so easily and naturally her way. So it’s not until Nikhil points out her best qualities that Pushpavalli actually listens. But for her to truly believe it, it comes with the caveat that he love her.
Does he? Does it matter anymore? Has her shocking desperation led to a revelation that she is awesome as she is and is in no need of validation? The last question is more a reflection of our hope but in Pushpavalli’s reality it’s just wishful thinking.
In an addict’s world the fallout affects the near and dear. And so too, we see in Pushpavalli’s case. She plays fast and loose with everyone’s emotions no holds barred. She endangers them in the blink of an eye before her conscience can even break into a yawn. (It better not be T-Boi!) Her machinations are riveting in their scale and deviousness. Cringey-amazing! That’s the spell Pushpavalli Season 2 has got us under.