Season 2 of Mumbai Diaries, set after the terrible Mumbai floods, returns popular characters played by Mohit Raina and Konkona Sen Sharma, among others.
During a particularly tense scene in Season 2 of Mumbai Diaries, the chief manager of Bombay General Hospital requests a single minute of respite. “Sir, samosa mil sakta hai,” he is told. Mil sakta hai cold coffee with ice cream. “Bombay General Hospital mein, par bina problem ke ek minute mil sakta he.” This same ignorant frenzy is applicable to Nikkhil Advani’s new series, which is now available on Amazon Prime Video. 8 episodes of approximately 45 minutes each, all coaxed into the framework of one fatal day… this is a show that strives valiantly to be interesting. The more it tries to keep afloat, the more it drowns in its own confusing waters.
Season 2, set in 2009 after the terrible Mumbai floods, begins with a sense of urgency, picking up where the previous season left off. Incompetence and more serious charges are leveled against Dr. Kaushik Oberoi (a subtle and strong performance from Mohit Raina). Ananya Ghosh (Tina Desai), his pregnant wife, is concerned about him. In an early scenario, he freezes in the middle of a medical emergency, costing a life. The press is all about him, and 73% of the public believes he is a criminal. We also meet Dr. Oberoi’s three trainees, Dr. Sujata Ajawale (Mrunmayee Deshpande), Dr. Ahaan Mirza (Satyajeet Dubey), and Dr. Diya Parekh (Natasha Bharadwaj), who would soon be faced with their own set of difficulties, each more egregious than the last.
Then there’s Dr. Chitra Das, the director of Social Services at Bombay General Hospital (played with dependable complexity by Konkona Sen Sharma), who gets a visit from a certain Dr. Saurav Chandra (Parambrata Chattopadhyay, who takes his cue from honing his British accent a little too well). Chitra has no time to notice that Ahaan has two tickets to a Love Aaj Kal performance because she is losing her footing. Tragic. As the rain continues to wreak havoc on the city and endanger its residents, the hospital transforms into a living nightmare, with various patients, operations, and revelations all taking place at the same time.
The weakest connections
With so many individuals and tales to cover, Mumbai Diaries jumps from one to the next, withholding information when needed. Writers Yash Chettija and Persis Sodawaterwala remain focused on the various threads that connect these characters. The series’ perseverance in giving each character their own individual arc works in stretches. Some of them succeed, while the majority fail. The entire back-and-forth between Ahaan, Chitra, and Saurav, for example, is the narrative’s weakest link, sticking out like a sore thumb. Include the complete subplot involving news anchor Mansi Hirani, who is forced to report Breaking News against her will. Her frustration is never felt, and her path takes a detour midway to a predictable path. Shreya Dhanwantary’s presence is never felt in between Maahir Zaveri’s heavy cuts.
Mohit Raina is the star of the show.
The primary issue with this season of Mumbai Diaries is that it never finds a happy medium between the individual narrative points and the wider structure of a hospital struggling to make ends meet. Instead of focusing on the flawed system and the perilous sense of impending danger, the show is preoccupied with personal outbursts and dramatic revelations. Consider the entire subplot revolving around a nurse attempting to steal drugs from a store. Or the one in which a large number of children were purposely brought into the hospital. Fortunately, some moments have a resonating force. The entire Dr. Kaushik storyline, especially that one sequence afterward where he finally finds Ananya, is very powerful. The show’s true highlight is Mohit Raina’s painful and emotional performance.
In the sequel, Mumbai Diaries is stretched beyond its bounds. The show rarely takes a breather while covering the various strands. Some of the interpersonal contractions are allowed far too much time to develop, slowing the tragedy’s speed. The greater context of the climatic disaster, a fabricated environment of media consumerism, and the state of the healthcare system are never highlighted. The subjects cast a shadow on their own worlds. By the end, in all its dramatic complexity, their anxieties are met with a sense of predictable resolution. The show takes pleasure in its own brand of self-reliance. The sun will rise after the mystery is resolved. There is relief that the worst has passed, but where has the rage gone?