Mirzapur season 3 review: Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal’s Prime Video series returns with more boredom, less ‘bhaukaal’ (2024)

If Mirzapur was roaring fire, and Mirzapur 2’s lethal glow flickered here and there and yet kept steady, Mirzapur 3 is banked embers which burst into flame only once in a while.

The battle field now extends to the entire ‘Pradesh’, with ‘Pashchim’ wanting more than ‘Purvanchal’ is willing to give, and the stakes, the series is at pains to point out, are higher, but this Who Will Be The New Bahubali game gets old before our eyes, and season 3 is less ‘bhaukaal’, more boredom.

It isn’t exactly as if it’s been steadily downhill from the first season (2018) which introduced us to a fictional Mirzapur, coasting on the trappings of the real one with its characteristic combo of carpets and kattas, and its self-confessed ‘king’, Akhandanand Tripathi aka Kaleen Bhaiyya, (Tripathi) and his bigda-hua-beta Munna (Divyenndu) who has notions about himself but no matching skill-sets.

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Their dominance is challenged by other mob bosses who have high stakes in the flourishing drugs-and-guns business, as well as unexpected irritants in the shape of local lad Guddu Pandit (Fazal) and his straight-arrow lawyer father Ramakant (Tailang). Pankaj Tripathi exuded a distinctive Purabiya menace in his Kaleen Bhaiyya, Divyenndu was suitably manic, the goons and the good guys exchanged ‘gaalis’ and ‘golis’ with equal felicity and ferocity, and the whole thing was wildly entertaining.

Season 2 (2020) gave us the sway of the Tripathis under threat from all sides. Kaleen Bhaiyya’s enemies grow by leaps and bounds, both within his palatial house where resides his much younger, carnally dissatisfied wife Beena (Dugal), and outside where the growing smarts of Guddu and his faithful compatriot Golu (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) emphasise the rule of the jungle– ‘jiske haath mein bandook, power usiki paas hai’. New characters keep joining the fray to keep our interest from flagging, and everything is satisfyingly bloody and brutal.

Those who’ve been tracking the goings-on in ‘Mirzapur’ will remember how season 2 ends in an extended shoot-out, with Kaleen Bhaiyya’s grievously wounded body vanishing, Munna’s lifeless eyes staring back at us, and Guddu and Golu being left empty-handed.

Season 3, written by Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann, Avinash Singh Tomar, Vijay Narayan Verma, and Avinash Singh, starts with a long prologue, which goes about reacquainting us with the dramatis personae, and where they are at now: fair enough, as it’s been a long gap since the previous one. But all too soon, familiarity of both character and locale sets in, and you go along the ten episodes, 45-50 minutes each, waiting for something terrible to happen.

For crime thrillers which depend on the bestial*ty-brutality-viciousness quotient, the problem is clear. How many shockers can you build into the proceedings to keep up the momentum? Season 3 feels like everything has settled into an all-too comfortable groove, and the only time it jolts us is when the next dose of brutality is administered in the middle of all that chai-and-nashta-and-chat.

I won’t be spoiling things if I tell you that there are a couple of killings which we don’t see coming, but the novelty factor has now decidedly worn off, and the two characters that made the first two seasons are mostly missing: the rest, despite Ali Fazal’s terrific act as the conflicted Guddu, are left to wade their way through long, repetitive tracks, heavy on declarative, flowery dialogue. Though liking her as a performer, I never really bought into the diminutive Shweta Tripathi Sharma as a Bahubali, and her Golu gets a lot of play in this season: she shows her mettle when not desperately trying to be gangster, but then she is given this line: ‘ab hum challenger nahin contendor hain’. You don’t say.

Again, Tailang is a solid actor, but his struggle between clinging to his morals and survival-in-prison, loses steam, even when it’s upended by a shocking killing. And you keep waiting for the wonderful Rasika Dugal to come into her own, but her Beena Bhabhi is determinedly saddled with a wailing infant and not enough occasion to show us her wiles.

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Mirzapur season 3 review: Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal’s Prime Video series returns with more boredom, less ‘bhaukaal’ (2) Mirzapur Season 3 will release on Friday.

The sly political undertones of the rampant lawlessness in this ‘Pradesh’ do come up for air once or twice this time around, but there’s no sting. Isha Talvar’s crafty chief minister Madhuri, harping on a ‘bhay-mukt pradesh’, while keeping a pulse on the dirty money, Sharad Shukla ( Anjum Sharma), the ‘daavdear’ of the Mirzapur ‘gaddi’ cosying up to the power centres in Lucknow, Vijay Verma’s troubled surviving twin (is it Bharat or Shatrughan?) revealing his rancid boudoir habits, Priyanshu Painyuli’s hovering in the background in his printed shirts, all come off much less effective than they should have. A walk-on bad guy who seems to have come straight out of the movies, makes mention of ‘mann ki baat’, but doesn’t leave as much impact as a throwaway legend on a wall– UP, Ummeedon Ka Pradesh’– glimpsed in season one.

Read more – The complete Mirzapur family tree: As Kaleen bhaiya and Guddu Pandit battle rages, here’s a quick recap

Speaking of dialogue, there’s an incessant shower of ‘offers’ and ‘deals’, ‘control’ and ‘naye samikaran’, and so on. The endless ‘baithaks’ of the baddies add very little. All through the toings-and-froings, I missed Kaleen Bhaiyya and his machinations, and I wished Divyenndu would somehow be resurrected: we really need a humdinger season 4 to get us back on track.

Mirzapur Season 3
Cast – Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Rasika Dugal, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Rajesh Tailang, Vijay Varma, Anjum Sharma, Isha Talwar, Manu Rishi Chaddha, Sheeba Chadha, Anil George, Priyanshu Painyuli, Anangsha Biswas, Meghna Malik, Lilliput, Alka Amin
Directors – Gurmmeet Singh and Anand Iyer
Rating – 2/5

Mirzapur season 3 review: Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal’s Prime Video series returns with more boredom, less ‘bhaukaal’ (2024)

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