Made at the height of the pandemic, there was an element of thrill, not so much in the plot, as in the way The Gone Game (Voot Select) was shot mostly by the actors themselves in their homes. They did not appear in any frame together, but a lot of the communication was on video calls and computers. There was suspense built up over four briskly-paced episodes about the fate of Sahil Gujral, who allegedly scammed a bank of Rs 300 crores and vanished, while his wife, Suhani, was arrested for his murder.
Season 2, directed by Abhishek Sengupta, written by Radhika Anand, begins with the release of Suhani (Shriya Pilgaonkar), who declares that she will prove her husband is alive. Then she ends up shot dead and the Gujral family—Rajiv (Sanjay Kapoor), Sunita (Rukhsar Rehman) and their daughter Amara (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) are thrown into a tizzy. The pandemic is still on, mask worn and sanitizers bandied about, but with the virus on the wane now, that added excitement is lost.
A CBI officer, Sharmila (Harleen Sethi), looking like she just stepped off a ramp modeling designer saris, puts the Gujral’s under “hotel arrest” because their DNA was found in Suhani’s home, and father-daughter do not have an alibi for the time the murder.
No spoiler to mention that the very much alive Sahil (it was revealed in the last season finale), runs about like a fugitive in seedy Bihar hotels, waiting to cross into Nepal when the border opens—a counter displays the seconds passing, an unnecessary device, since the scenes are not shot in real time. He has his phone with him, however, and answers it even when he is caught in a tense moment—which is strange, because he ought to know that cell phones can be tracked.
The script has many of such what-the-hell moments, like Sharmila inviting murder suspect Amara into her home and offering her a drink. Characters like Prateek (Inraneil Sengupta) and Chaudhary (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) reappear from the last show, but have nothing to do. There is the obligatory hacker too, who flirts with Amara as she seeks his help, and the corrupt politician (Amit Jairath) who is involved in the bank scam. (The scene in which he demeans Sharmila is truly creepy).
The experimentation of Season 1, gives way to a very mediocre whodunit in Season 2, which has little to add to the story, and tries to whip up some tension with a frenzied background score that never lets up. Then there’s too much of the media screeching on about the Gujrals as if there was nothing else to cover on national news.
Shweta Tripathi Sharma and Shriya Pilgaonkar do all the acting on behalf of the rest of the cast–the others just look, bewildered (Kapoor), annoyed (Mathur) or comatose (Rehman).
The Gone Game Season 2 is a lesson in how not to mess up the memory of a good show with pointless extensions.
(This piece first appeared in rediff.com)