After a fairly faithful remake of the first season of the Israeli drama series of the same name, season two of Hostages picks up where the last episode left off.
Adapted by writers Nisarg Mehta, Suraj Gianani and the Cine Raas Writing Team, the new season sees the return of some of the old cast members and the introduction of new characters.
The twist this time is that the hostage-takers are the ones who are trapped. When Prithvi Singh’s elaborate plan to save his ailing wife gets derailed, Prithvi (Ronit Bose Roy) and his core team, along with a few hostages, are forced to hunker down in a dilapidated house.
Ayesha (Divya Dutta) is an ace negotiator who prides herself on her ability to read people and situations. Except that the kidnappers are one step ahead of her. Also in the situation control room are the head of the police force (Kanwaljit Singh) and Prithvi’s replacement in the force, Dutt (Sachin Khurana).
Over the course of a dozen episodes, we see a detailed account of the events leading up to the resolution of the crisis. As the hours and days pass, tensions build outside the house and inside it.
Unfolding elsewhere are related tracks including an assassination plot, a multi-million dollar deal, office politics in the Intelligence Bureau and a murder investigation. With each episode running at over 30 minutes, the makers indulge in a whole lot of detailing and fleshed out side-plots, some of which are wholly dispensable.
While not quite as riveting as its precursor, this season has impressive production values and fine performances. Among them are Ronit Bose Roy, who returns as the mastermind Prithvi Singh, Aashim Gulati as Prithvi’s sensitive and steadfast brother-in-law Aman and Divya Dutta as the perceptive negotiator. Kanwaljit Singh provides the temperance associated with a commanding police officer. Amit Sial, Mohan Kapur, Faezeh Jalali, Dalip Tahhil and Shriswara Dubey reprise their roles as Peter, Subramanian, Sarah, Handa and Saba respectively.
The central crisis is the hostage situation, but there is a greater conspiracy at work. The screenplay visits the points of view of the negotiator, the hostages and hostage takers, a death that is bullishly pursued by a keen but mercurial young intelligence officer (Shweta Basu Prasad), and the big corporation behind the twisted plot. Shibani Dandekar and Dino Morea represent the money behind the madness. Morea plays a cold-blooded killer with such glee you might think he’s landed the part of Hannibal Lecter.
Sachin Mamta Krishn takes over as director while Sudhir Mishra serves as creative director. Krishn crafts solid action scenes, convincingly captures the frenzy in the control room and also pulls through an emotional thread. The most interesting track is the interaction between Prithvi and Ayesha, which establishes a delicate shifting of the power balance. How much can you push before you bring down an entire operation?
A bunch of guest appearances, some unexpected returning characters and a lot of going round in circles later, the season ends with a dramatic climax, which should satisfy fans of Hostages.