The revolution has been well and truly defeated in the second season of Shantit Kranti. We are left with three of the most delightful man-boys you will ever meet and a sequel in search of relevance in more ways than one.
The Marathi series has been premiered on Sony LIV. The first season from 2021 followed Prasanna (Lalit Prabhakar), Shreyas (Abhay Mahajan) and Dinar (Alok Rajwade) on a trip that was headed to Goa but ended up instead at a meditation centre in Maharashtra itself.
The barely mature adults grew up – somewhat – at the end of their shared adventure. Prasanna accepted his impending fatherhood. Shreyas appeared to have moved on from his broken engagement with Rupali. Dinar made peace with his tense family dynamic.
Or did they really? Prasanna, who now has a daughter with his wife Nishi (Mrinmayee Godbole), is stung by a version of buyer’s remorse. Shreyas has not only been bullied by his mother into joining her travel company but is also engaged to Samriddhi (Priyadarshini Indalkar), whom he often calls Rupali. The chaos-loving Dinar has embraced his inner yogi and acquired the maddening air of the recent convert.
Once again, a road trip brings this trio together – only, it’s a pilgrimage. Rather than imbibing spirits, Prasanna and Shreyas are forced into a spiritual journey beyond their capabilities.
The series, based on a concept by Abhay Mahajan, has been written by BhaDiPa co-founder Sarang Sathaye, Chetan Dange, Saee Haval and Paula McGylnn. Sathaye and McGylnn direct a fine cast over five episodes, in which snarky repartee and sharp character sketches – the creative team’s strengths – clash with a wandering, unwieldly narrative.
There is effortless hilarity. There are wide-ranging pop culture references, from a line of dialogue from the cult film Gunda to The Hangover and Three Men and a Baby. There are also quite a few mini-lectures in religious beliefs, in keeping with the show’s generally risk-free, critique-agnostic attitude towards life’s important questions.
Mild feints are aimed at the mercantile nature of temples and the ritualistic aspect of religion. One of the pilgrims confesses that she has joined the tour only so that she may leave her family behind and travel by herself.
It’s safe, but not always sorry in skewering its unholy trinity. Once again, Lalit Prabhakar, Abhay Mahajan and Alok Rajwade keep the attention from wandering with their superbly judged performances. The actors have a lived-in comfort that makes their on-screen friendship deeply credible, just as they have the skill to carry off the frequently questionable decisions made by their characters.
If Shreyas hasn’t lost his manic edge from the first season, the alcohol-loving Dinar is now addicted to gnomic pronouncements. Prasanna’s encounter with fellow traveller Kani (Priya Banerjee) makes him question his vows.
Season one had a loose, episodic quality. The new season is more eventful – there is also the matter of Dinar’s inheritance – but doesn’t have a strong enough focus beyond the need to give its bumbling heroes an opportunity to stumble towards life’s truths once again.
The tone is a bit more sombre too. The emphasis on honesty – in accepting mistakes, confronting immaturity, and going with the flow – trumps the feeling of being handed a show that doesn’t work hard enough to justify its return.