Director: Sachin Mamta Krishn
Creative Director: Sudhir Mishra
Cast: Ronit Bose Roy, Kanwaljit Singh, Aashim Gulati, Dalip Tahil, Divya Dutta
Disney+Hotstar’s Hostages 2 with a whopping 12 episodes of under 40 minutes each despite its thriller genre, seems stretched, and I was certainly disappointed with Sudhir Mishra, known for some great cinema. Hostages 2, which takes off from where season one ended, gives us all the ingredients of a popular Bollywood bonanza that includes gun fights, kidnappers who kidnap for an emotionally moving reason, office politics, bad blood among top cops, corruption in the higher echelons of political power, a swimming pool scene with a bikini-clad woman and a killer who appears as evil as Hannibal Lecter. Some of these are totally unnecessary that merely added up to the number of episodes. A plot that could have been wrapped up in just six episodes goes on to do double that number.
What is even more disappointing is that there are scenes which reminded me of the recent Spanish crime caper, Money Heist. Take, for instance, Ayesha Khan (played by Divya Dutta), essaying a police negotiator in a temporary camp set outside a dilapidated building where the kidnappers and the hostages are holed up. Khan resembles the police negotiator in Money Heist, who later crosses over to the other side of the fence and becomes the kingpin’s (called Professor) lover. Wow!
Season Two of Hostages does not go that far, probably bearing in mind Indian cultural sentiments (what will my folks think of me!), but is no match for the kind of character buildup that the Spanish series gave us. Ayesha prides herself as one who understands the psychology of the criminal, and is often at loggerheads with her chief, Karnail Singh (Kanwaljit Singh). She somehow wants to thread the path of peace by convincing her boss (he is a more a soldier), ready to shoot them all – a conflict we saw in Money Heist as well.
After bad cop Prithvi Singh (Ronit Bose Roy) with a heart of gold kidnaps a State Chief Minister, who also holds the country’s Defence portfolio, Kushwant Lal Handa (Dalip Tahil), in order to save his seriously ill wife, Sabah, through a bone marrow transplant, things go wrong. They had to. In the first place Handa is unwilling to give his illegitimate daughter, Prithvi’s wife, his bone marrow. And beyond all this is a huge economic and political conspiracy that wants Handa dead, because he is an obstacle to a multi-million deal involving a multinational company.
The rest of the story in not only as predictable, but has incidents that are uncomfortably distracting. Now, why would the series add a part about an assassin – who in the true Lee Harvey Oswald (who killed John Kennedy) style – takes up position on a tall building to shoot a foreign Prime Minister visiting Delhi. But the poor guy, hefty and probably weighing a 100 kg, is outsmarted by a wisp of a girl with the help of presumably a hairpin! This is literally teasing and taunting our basic intelligence.
Writing anything more about the plot would unleash spoilers, but in the final analysis, Hostage 2 could have had some merit if it had cut the fat out. And, yes, Indian cinema and series – in general — must stop taking the easy way out by running and re-running beaten incidents. What about some originality guys?