Never Have I Ever Season 2 Review: An intelligent Indian drama for a global audience
New Delhi | Jagran Entertainment Desk: Mindy Kailing's Netflix series ‘Never Have I Ever’ came back with its season 2 that started streaming on Netflix on July 15. Devi Vishwakumar (played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) justifies the long profiles that in many international platforms called her a ‘breakout actor’ following the success of Season 1.
The series, narrated by Tennis legend John McEnroe, follows Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a straight-A student at a high school in California, juggling between both her raging hormones and struggle of staying true to here Indianness while footed into American modernism. She lives with her mother Dr Nalini Vishwakumar (Poorna Jagannathan) and her cousin Kamala Nandiawada (Richa Moorjani) who, according to Devi, is too good looking to have nerd-like preferences.
Devi’s father Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy) passes away before the events of the series and we not only see a grieving family but also a young teen dealing with her grief while managing to put up with her straight-A spirit.
A new narration entrant is super model Gigi Hadid who narrates Paxton Hall-Yoshida this season.
Season 2 of the popular Netflix drama doubles up the intelligence quotient in terms of Devi's quintessential struggle to be the best at everything a typical high school teenager in the US is supposed to do in picture-perfect fashion. Be it doubling up with an intelligent Ivy League-ready teen as a date along with the most good looking popular teen around as double dates or managing competition from another Indian entrant in high school, Devi aces all of it with an admirable Maitreyi Ramakrishnan phenomenon ruling the screen.
Just how the first season had introduced the audience with grief that festers the internals of head and heart, the second season introduces us with the gradual loneliness that builds up into a vacuum following a permanent loss.
We see Devi through an uncomfortable lens of male chauvinism and a new-age stubbornness refusing to bow down in front of it. It forces us to look at ourselves and acknowledge how much, during our teens, we were more problematic than we like to admit. Maitreyi is even more comfortable in her acting skin leading to a wonderfully deep performance of a less-than-perfect teen who knows to stand up for herself after erring up as a teen. Devi makes you laugh with creative one liners and her much fauxier presence of mind induces love, drama and entertainment in equal proportions.
The thoughtful writing, without the mash and masala too often mixed up to show ‘desi diaspora’ on-screen, makes this season of Never Have I Ever fiercely accurate and stunningly entertaining with most boxes of relativism checked.
Mindy Kaling and her cast and crew do a great job of telling a story that evokes emotions while keeping you hooked with multidimensional aspiration-filled American landscape. It's not the South Indian women you end up rooting for but rather a raw, subtle and yet a delicate landscape of a multicultural melting pot that makes you wonder, what all can make you fill up the words after ‘Never Have I Ever__?’
‘Never Have I Ever’ is streaming on Netflix.
Posted By: Mukul Sharma