The Night Manager was released on Disney+ Hotstar in February without its final three episodes. The truncated season traced the rise of undercover agent Shaan in arms dealer Shelly Rungta’s operation, Shaan’s entanglement with Shelly’s girlfriend Kaveri, and the efforts of Shaan’s handlers to put the screws on Rungta.

It’s time to pick up the tab for Shaan (Aditya Roy Kapur), who has now apparently gone rogue. Shaan accompanies Shelly (Anil Kapoor) to a fictitious Arab country to hawk weapons of mass destruction. Apart from the fire power on display, there are verbal feints and fisticuffs as Shaan works on retaining Shelly’s faith in him while staying connected to his handler Lipika (Tillotama Shome).

Shelly’s factotum Brijpal (Saswata Chatterjee) has become even more suspicious of Shaan. An old connection that threatens to blow Shaan’s cover has resurfaced. Shelly has begun to wonder about Kaveri’s intentions.

There’s a sense of urgency to the concluding episodes, each of which is about an hour each. The Hindi-language adaptation of the British series of the same name – itself based on John Le Carre’s novel – is in a hot race to tie up loose ends and reach a conclusion not vastly different from its source material.

The changes to the original show included Shaan’s motivation for nailing Shelly. Haunted by the murder of the child bride of one of Shelly’s gang members, Shaan agreed to be recruited by Lipika for a life-threatening mission. Shaan’s feelings for Kaveri (Shobita Dhulipala) emerged as another reason for putting Shelly away.

Tillotama Shome in The Night Manager part 2 (2023). Courtesy The Ink Factory/Banijay Asia/Disney+ Hotstar.

The series has been adapted by Sandeep Modi and Shridhar Raghavan, written by Raghavan, and directed by Modi and Priyanka Ghose. Among the seriocomic scenes is the aforementioned arms display. Even as deadly weapons light up the sky, belly dancers keep writhing away.

Over roughly three fast-paced hours, the heavily pregnant Lipika battles intra-office politics as well as dodges her dodgy boss (Vikram Kapadia). There’s isn’t enough time to deal with the disappearance of characters or absorb the introduction of a new one.

Shelly gets a competitor who perhaps outrivals him in his amorality. With indications that a spin-off is in the works, we might see more of this unnamed merchant of death, played by Prashant Narayanan with a big smile and ample chilliness.

The show’s business-like approach suits Aditya Roy Kapur, who is nicely cast as the enigmatic hotel manager whose skillset includes seduction. Anil Kapoor is effective as Shelly, but despite adopting his snarliest snarl and a threatening manner, Kapoor can’t disguise his joie de vivre.

The reasons for the frisson between Shelly and Shaan – a kind of love at first sight situation but without the romance – isn’t always clear. “I take time to trust people,” Shelly tells Shaan. “But I trusted you for some reason. Why?”

Keep wondering. Meanwhile, stand by for further seasons, which might give Tillotama Shome’s beautifully played intelligence officer a new mission to worry about and Shaan a fresh hunting ground for risky pursuits.

The Night Manager (2023).

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