Aspirants 2 review: It's Abhilash's coming of age journey of becoming an idealistic IAS officer

Sakshi Sharma
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Aspirants 2

Aspirants 2 review: If Aspirants was about Abhilash's aspirations of becoming an IAS officer, this season focuses on what the job entails and how his time during preparation comes in handy at the job!  

Aspirants 2 review: TVF has a pattern of making a show on a competitive exam course where they depict the entire course as a learning curve for the job ahead and what it entails, whether it is Half CA preparing for the role of CA or whether it is Aspirants that prepare you for the post of an IAS officer. And if season one of Aspirants was about the struggles of a student balancing friends, relationships, and aspirations of becoming an IAS officer in old Rajendra Nagar, then Aspirants 2 is about the preparation for mains exams not just preparing you to clear the exams but also managing the ups and downs of the job. 

The five-episode follows the same route of being divided into timelines with just a minute difference. This time around, the tripod (Abhilash, SK, Guri) are not together in the past, where Abhilash (Naveen Kasturia) is back for another attempt and stays in the same place. But they are still figuring it out in the present, where he is seen tussling with his newly appointed post of DM of Rampur and balancing the relationships from the old Rajendra Nagar. 

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Created by the same team and directed by Apoorv Singh Karki, this season has a center point which is Abhilash as everything that is happening connects to him. Now there lies the dichotomy towards the show because on one side you really get engrossed in Abhilash 's dramatic but real life which is aspirational but on another, you miss the layers that the lives of others like SK (Abhilash Thapliyal), Sandeep Bhaiya (Sunny Hinduja), Guri (Shivankit), Dhairya (Namita Dubey), and more could have provided only if there were not reduced to act and react according to Abhilash. They took 'sirf ek bandaa hi kaafi hai' too literally!

Every episode title like Self Study, Strategy, Murphy's Law, Mock Interview, and Final Interview, a TVF usual, reads like a guide in Abhilash's IAS journey that starts from a selfish, self-centered, highly knowledgeable, dedicated student and leads to him being idealistic, practical, righteous and an ambitious IAS officer whose EQ has somewhere gone for the toss. The trump card of the show lies in making you understand the violently idealistic character of Abhilash which is unlikeable. He is someone who perceives the world the way he wants to without the consideration of anyone else. Naveen Kasturia understands this so well that his body language from head to toe, the way he nods, his eye movement, or even the way he exhales has Abhilash written all over it. And he can do this with the amazing supporting cast who can pick their characters up from the back of their hands.  

I absolutely loved the tussle between the heart and the mind in a professional setup that comes out in the form of Abhilash vs Sandeep Bhaiya up until the end where they were both sorts of categorised as hero vs villain. Yes, it is a season that feels leaning towards pro-establishment. Because an ambitious DM who aspires to reign development of pichada Rampur resolves issues between businessmen and laborers quite easily and dramatically. But in the wake of it, the show never loses believability! As you do understand that not all businessmen are bad, better ways are there to get the rights of laborers, and whether fractured system or friendships, proper communication is the key.  

I wish they could have done better justice to their female characters, Dhairya and Deepa, in spite of reducing them to their male counterparts. But I still have hope for them as well as SK and Guri who will get something more deserving in the next season which is inevitable given the end. Is Aspirants 2, with all its flaws, too aspirational where exams conquest metaphors to life conquest? Maybe! But it is still one of the shows you really need!

Aspirants 2 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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TVF Naveen Kasturia Abhilash Thapliyal tvf aspirants Aspirants Apoorv Singh Karki