The ‘Hero’-Next-Door

The Family Man series has won people over with its brilliant storytelling and a talented ensemble – but more so, with the simplicity and humane touch in it

Heroes fight the bad guy. They are “hunks”, and always win in the end! — That’s what Bollywood, and moreover the Indian film industry, had projected on-screen heroes to be since time immemorial.

It was tough to imagine a Salman Khan cooking in the kitchen after fighting those villains; or a Rajnikanth being abused by a random guy on the road or his boss in office. But the common “family man” changed such notions, and for good!

Srikant, the protagonist of The Family Man series (played by Manoj Bajpayee), is a father of two. He picks up and drops his children to school, cooks for his family, shops and even gets an earful from his bosses, wife, and even kids. But he also fights the “bad guy” aka terrorists and saves the day, just like “heroes” do.

The much-loved Family Man franchise released its second season last month. It received immense love and appreciation from critics and audience alike. The show is at the fourth spot on IMDB’s list of most popular shows – worldwide! Even after a month, it’s been widely watched and talked about – making it reach new heights, creating new records with each passing day.

Created by director duo Raj & DK, the show boasts a talented ensemble, consisting of Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni, Priyamani, Darshan Kumar, Sharib Hashmi, among others. Its first season premiered on September, 2019. The pandemic caused a delay, and after a gap of one year – the second one was launched.

What makes The Family Man so admirable? Apart from a solid and engaging story, and a talented cast and crew, the show owes its popularity to a host of other factors.

Even though we have had numerous films and shows on secret agents saving the nation from terror attacks, this one is unique in its own way. The relatability factor that The Family Man possesses is something that makes it real and human.

These men who work for the country are humans after all, and so are the terrorists. The show never takes a side. Instead, it presents both sides in a neutral manner – and let’s the audience decide who is right, and who isn’t. Though, acts of violence are never to be supported, and the show doesn’t do so, but it even depicts the terrorists with a humane touch.

The officers, like Srikant, work day and night, putting their lives at risk on multiple occasions. But they make mistakes too. He kills an innocent man, who he believed was a terrorist. He then tries to redeem himself by making the man’s lover aware of the truth.

He is hard-working, honest and committed to his work, but engages in heavy drinking from time to time to cope up with his emotions. And all these things make him human. A hero is probably not someone who doesn’t make mistakes, but is someone who bravely faces the consequences of his own action.

That’s exactly what Srikant does and even the ones around him. We see how their lives unfold, the way they face fears, guilt, desire, love, pride – and everything in between. Winning is optional, but not giving up is mandatory. The show stands firm on this belief.

The smallest details in The Family Man are also so accurate. The dinner table conversations Srikant has with his family, the way his adolescent kids defy him, and how he tries to retain normalcy in his everyday life even when nothing about his life is normal.

The makers chose to create a world, no matter how many times we have seen on-screen, that the majority of us aren’t aware of. But these small elements of everyday life, and the portrayal of the characters from the lens of humanity, is what made the audience feel that they too are a part of this world.

Thus, if you are yet to watch the show then it’s time. Even with memes, posts and videos of the show flooding the social media every day – if you have managed to steer clear of the major spoilers, and contemplating whether all this hype about The Family Man is worth or not, then go for it!

(Cover:  Manoj Bajpayee in a scene from The Family Man 2 series)

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