Anil Kapoor and Tillotama Shome's terrific performances are the highlights of the second part.
In the spy thriller The Night Manager, ex-soldier Shaan (Aditya Roy Kapur) is recruited by the Intelligence services to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer, leading to complications in the form of love and betrayal. The story follows Night Manager Shaan as he stumbles upon events that turn his life on its head and reawaken his inner soldier. The RAW agent Lipika (Tillotama Shome) then recruits him to blow up the unholy relationship between the intelligence community and the underground arms trade that international businessman Shelly (Anil Kapoor) has formed. Shaan has to fight off Brij (Saswata Chatterjee), his chief of staff's suspicious questions, and Kaveri (Sobhita Dhulipala), his girlfriend's allure, if he ever wants to get to the heart of Shelly's massive enterprise.
It came as a shock and also a sort of disappointment when the first installment of The Night Manager was released but not the entire series. Now, after a wait of about four months, there is another surprise: the remaining three episodes, which were supposed to premiere on June 30, 2023, have been released a day earlier.
We see that the fourth episode ended with Aditya Roy Kapur's Shaan Sengupta joining hands with Anil Kapoor's Shelly Rungta's empire. He gets a new name, Abhimanyu Mathur, and once again, the process starts of creating a new identity altogether.
In the fifth episode, Shaan must pass a critical test as he becomes a sort of right-hand man for Shelly. BJ's mayhem brings a sudden jerk to the empire, but there's no stopping the Rungta empire.
The series finally reaches its true nature by being set against the backdrop of war. Shelly's arm dealing finally brings into picture something that has been circulating in code language. This leads to Shaan showing himself going rogue, according to Lipika. As a viewer, even you might feel for a second that it could happen; who wouldn't when they have almost Rs. 2000 crores in their bank account?
The suspenseful buildup is well executed with thrilling music, and there is also more information coming Shaan's way, thus to the viewers' eyes too. But in the final three episodes, we see his character being braver than vulnerable, which was how he shaped up in the first four.
Moreover, we see the distanced chemistry between Shaan and Kaveri finally culminating in closeness. Well, it's surprising to see Aditya doing a full-fledged consummation scene without the usual tropes of how it's filmed in Bollywood.
On one hand, things are being made and broken in Shelly's camp; on the other hand, Lipika, who is back in India after being on mission in Sri Lanka, digs out how RAW is somehow involved in this bad business world. Her career is at risk, but her mission to bring Shelly down is getting thicker as the day passes.
The series, which started in Bangladesh, travels to Shimla and Sri Lanka in the first four episodes. By the time we reach the fifth episode, the whole clan travels to Dubai because arm dealing needs to be in a faraway land, and the luxurious city is the perfect getaway. From there, we are taken to the barren desert land where they set up a camp because arms need to be tested before dropping them on innocents, right?
There's a sense of rush in the last three episodes to reach its epic conclusion, for which people have been waiting for about four months now. However, it's a welcome change to see a character arc in Sobhita Dhulipala's Kaveri. Like I mentioned in my review of the first part, there's more crying but also a double agent act for her character. It's definitely predictable, but that's something that was needed for her character's growth.
The war backdrop takes up all three episodes where we are introduced to new characters, including Prashant Narayan, who is just as dreadful as he was in Netflix's Mai, and also Murder 2. The actor, with an unnamed character, can also be called the "merchant of death," just as Shelly is. Both are on the same side of a coin and once again we see Shaan on the other side.
We are also reintroduced to the new character as Shaan confronts a figure from his past. This happens just in time when he and Lipika stand on the brink of destroying Shelly's kingdom.
What stands out in the second part of The Night Manager is the mammoth scale to which the series gets elevated. It's a big-screen experience with everything in grandeur.
This adds to the show-stealer that Anil Kapoor is. The no-remorse act gets dangerous, and you see Shelly crossing his limit as an evil person. The first four episodes showed his side as a father, and that stops then and there when we enter the fifth episode.
Tillotama Shome, whose character experiences the worst, demonstrates that she is aware of the reasons why she accepted this position. Her pregnancy is not an obstacle at all, and in one of the hospital sequences, she shows the same. It looks quite traumatising, but the actor keeps up the entertaining factor a notch.
I'm still rooting for her character Lipika's spin-off!
On the other hand, Aditya Roy Kapur also shows that he is ready for the war, as the time for small talk is over. This time, the saviour also participates in Shelly's wrongdoings, and there's a tinge of antagonising things like Anil's character does. This series has definitely made his career, and his sharp, suited-up look brings a suave and overly charming charm to his character.
Sandeep Modi, who is the creator, added an extra episode, unlike the British series, which had six episodes. But that also kind of draws an interesting conclusion along the lines of the circle of life. What goes around comes around quickly in seven long episodes.
The Night Manager is a thrilling ride, with the background score being the perfect add-on. With locations that range from snow to ocean to desert, the series is a tour de force with gripping storytelling that makes for an edge-of-your-seat thriller.