After the success of The Family Man Season 1, Raj & DK are back with Season 2 – which starts streaming on June 4 on Amazon Prime Video. In an exclusive conversation with Anupama Chopra, the directors, Manoj Bajpayee and Priyamani talk about what to expect from the upcoming season, and the secret behind the realistic portrayal of Shrikant and Suchitra’s fraying marriage.
Anupama Chopra (AC): When you deliver a blockbuster like The Family Man, what is your biggest concern when you start to tell that story; when you start to pick up the threads again?
Raj (RN): We were lucky enough that we had already finished our story before we started shooting our second season, even before season 1 released. So, there was no pressure in trying to match up, re-write or enhance things, so thank god for that. So, you just stay true to the concept of the first season. That way the pressure was automatically avoided.
AC: But you changed nothing, Raj?
RN: We might have tweaked a bit, not more than that. We were shocked especially at the Lonavla question, which I thought, you know, it’s okay — it’s a story, it’s her [Suchitra, played by Priyamani] story. But the interest was slightly baffling.
AC: It’s like who killed Kattappa, finally?
RN: There was some article that said after Kattappa the next question is… this. So, if you see season 2, I think at least 50% of the people are going to have a smile on their faces [after seeing] our reaction to that question — things like that were considered.
DK: Yes, but we didn’t wait for the results of Season 1 to start writing Season 2. We already had it ready. There were a few tweaks here and there when we realized there were so many expectations and interest on certain things, or when we felt that something deserved to be addressed. It’s not always a question, sometimes we also see a certain thing that plays out well and we realize we need more of that here.
AC: Manoj, you did such a stellar job playing this guy, such a human hero. Now in Season 2, what did you discover about this character, how did you enlarge him as he goes through these new life changes?
Manoj Bajpayee: You said it very rightly. In the second season, this is what changes. Srikanth Tiwari gives a lot of importance to his family life, and does something he would otherwise not do. He doesn’t know whether he has taken the right decision or not. Whether his mind is in that outfit or not is something that people will get to see. Does he manage to stay back, does he manage to find out what his wife is having in her mind? Does he manage to answer all the questions of his growing up kids? All this is something people can look forward to in the second season.
I’ve been given a great arc from Season 1 to 2. Shrikant’s life is moving, it’s not about jumping, say five years henceforth. Where you left him and where you are picking up, has a natural graph to it. Eventually, he is a family person. He is caught up in a conflict in Season 1 because he has his concerns for the family. He is superlative at his job but he doesn’t want his family to go away. But can he save his family? Is he sacrificing enough to put his family together? All these questions are going to be answered in season 2.
AC: Priyamani, you and Manoj have these really nice scenes, and I feel like the fraying of the marriage is very real. It’s the small hurts, it’s little slits. How do you figure out the rhythms of those scenes, as actors?
Priyamani: I think we just go through it once we come onto the sets. There were times I would tell Raj sir and DK sir that this is so realistic that I would probably say the same thing to my husband; probably we would fight the same way. My husband also said the same thing after he saw the 1st season and when he saw the fight sequences between Srikanth and Suchi, he said this is so you and me. So, I maybe imbibe on what I can bring out from real life — certain nuances, certain phrases. We go through a scene once or twice and we go about it. By now, I am used to how Manoj sir does the scenes, probably not a 100%, but I can pick up on the things that Srikanth Tiwari would probably say. So, I play on that and he plays on how I would react. I think it always helps to act with such a fabulous actor like Manoj sir when you’re working on such scenes — it’s natural and it flows.
DK: In season 1, there is a long banter-ish fight sequence they have and season 2 as well, they have an argument where things get worse and worse. When these scenes happen, we instinctively don’t dictate what happens, but we just let them play it out and we cover it as much as we can. That’s been our trick for those scenes.