When strapped for thriller ideas, a director is most likely to pick a gangster plot, but if a dash of patriotism is needed, there’s always a terrorist or two on the rampage.

 Apoorva Lakhia’s Crackdown was a brisk RAW vs ISI, that is India vs Pakistan, save-the-nation thriller. The plot revolved around an ordinary young woman, Divya (Shriya Pilgaonkar), trained and sent undercover into a terrorist gang. By the end, the RAW chief had been killed and an operative, Zorawar Kalra’s (Iqbal Khan) wife Garima, revealed to be an ISI plant Mausam Masoud (Waluscha D’Souza). He quite rightly faces a great deal of embarrassment (if he can’t  save his own home from enemy infiltration, what hope does the country have? and it spills over into Season 2.

Crackdown 2 brings back ace RAW agent, Riyaaz ‘RP’ Pathaan (Saquib Salim), Divya and Zorawar, butting heads with new chief, Avantika Shroff (Sonali Kulkarni), with a rapier tongue and giant ego.

When an Indian plane with 80 passengers on board, including RP’s estranged wife Preeti (Rashmi Adgekar), vanishes from the radar, it sends shock waves through the intelligence team. Worse, they cannot find Mausam, a vital link in the events. Meanwhile, the plane lands in the Afghan wilderness, where a terrorist, Khalil (Freddy Daruwala)– who had escaped the last season with a half burnt face and wears a stylish mask– has a more sinister plan in the works.

Goaded with insults by Avantika, who in turn gets a dressing down by the PM, RP relentlessly works on the case. Zorawar is officially removed from duty and Divya, who is not a real agent, sent back home. They keep working, however, and the one who works hardest on the trail of the terrorists is the techie, Max (Ram Menon) who never seems to sleep. A bit worrisome, though, that RAW has just one all-purpose guy to track planes, trace cell phones and disarm bombs!

It’s not a spoiler that Khalil’s plot is foiled, but there is also a high body count and much treachery. Even though the plot (written by Raj Vasant, Chintan Shah, Chintan Gandhi and Varun Badola) is at comic book or video game level, Lakhia keeps the thrills coming, and the compact 30-minute episodes pack in a lot of action. The way it is edited, the scenes and locations change at a quick pace, which can be disorienting if one wants to know how a sequence ends, but it also gives the series a breathless feel. This makes it both enjoyable—if one can ignore the déjà vu—and binge-worthy, going through the eight episodes without blocking too much time.

The performances are adequate—Saleem and Pilgaonkar muster up the necessary focussed look that denotes sense of purpose and total devotion to the cause of nationalism. And it ends with the promise of a Season 3.

Crackdown 2 

Directed by Aditya Lakhia

Cast: Saqib Saleem, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Iqbal Khan, Freddy Daruwala, Sonali Kulkarni and others

On Jio Cinema