The Family Man has emerged as one of the most successful web series franchise on Indian OTT. Season 1 impressed audiences as it introduced the story of an intelligence officer who pretends to be a simple government employee. Manoj Bajpayee’s Shrikant Tiwari became a household name as he struggled to strike a balance between his family life and the demands of his secret occupation.
The second season is out now on Amazon Prime Video, after multiple delays and controversies snapping at its heels. Nonetheless, the audience is lapping up season 2 as Shrikant Tiwari takes on a new nemesis. Late on Sunday night, two days after its release, the man leading the show opened up about the overwhelming reception and the struggles of shooting season 2. Excerpts from the chat:
After the success of season 1, was the rave reception of season 2 expected?
We expected this season to do well, but this kind of a reception? Definitely no. No creative person can ever expect, you know, it is so unprecedented is so overwhelming. And we are so thankful to the audience for giving us more than we ever expected from them. We are really trying to make ourselves believe that this is true.
Creators Raj and DK have talked about the struggles they went through to make and release Season 2. Did you face any difficulties personally?
In Season 2, Shrikant is not his usual self that you have seen him in season one. He is a troubled man, somebody who is going through a lot of trauma and mental disturbance. To portray that mental state and to get those variations with each and every scene, with the same Shrikant that you have seen in season 1, was very difficult. Also, it was physically exhausting and challenging for me. There are two or three major action sequences, they have really taken a toll on my body. They have challenged my stamina, because they are long shots, the action keeps going on and on. For that, you have to do multiple rehearsals and several takes to get it right. It was mentally and physically exhausting for me this season.
It’s commendable that you are still up for those challenges…
That’s our job. Fitness is something that I’m quite interested in, in day-to-day life. Yes, sometimes one gets hurt, there are some niggles and pains that we try to correct and rehabilitate. And then again, you go back to work. This is our life. But you know, this is something that no one sees, the toil that goes on behind the camera, away from the audience, is something which is not seen. They only see us wearing nice suits to the functions and think life is cozy. It’s not. Come to a Family Man shoot, then you’ll realize what kind of a hard job we do and what difficulties and problems we go through.
You have always given importance to content over everything. Do you feel kind of vindicated and validated with the success of The Family Man?
Time and again I have been validated, be it with Satya or Shool, or so many films of mine. Getting the National Award for Bhonsle, you do feel validated. When I got the Asia Pacific Screen Award For Best Actor for both Aligarh and Bhonsle, I felt validated. But at the end of the day, you’re not working because you want validation, you are working because you love this job in the first place.
I was seven or eight years old, since that time, I wanted to become an actor. And that child hasn’t changed. Till now, I work, I act because I’m passionate about the craft. I have been part of many great films that didn’t get the response they deserved, you feel a little bad about that, but you enjoy the process of making those films and you move on, because the next job is calling me. And I start getting the high when I’m preparing for my next project. At the end of day, it’s about how madly you are in love with the job that you that you are doing.
So have you already started preparing for The Family Man Season 3?
I don’t have the script in my hand. I have only been reading about it in the news. I was just talking to Raj and DK and I asked, ‘How true is it? When are you guys are going to get our dates and where is the contract?’ They said, ‘As soon as we have the script, we’ll send it to you. You read it, then we’ll discuss and make our changes, and make a new draft.’ It’s a long process, you don’t make a season just like that. There are 9-10 episodes, and it’s not an easy task.