TVF Pitchers Season 2 (Zee 5) Review:  “Tu beer nahi, ab tu whiskey hai bhai”

Brimming with Naveen’s frothy dreams, Yogi’s squiffy sense of humor, and Mandal’s peppy quirks, the TVF platform is finally back with Pitchers- Season 2 after an excruciatingly protracted wait of 7 years. The iconic platform drama shook up the masses in 2015 when it broke free from the conventional tropes of Indian TV soaps and heralded a new revolution for dramas owing to its refreshingly realistic storyline and narrative edge. Pitchers 2 followed the lead of its forerunner and furthered the story of four friends (minus one in Season 2) who venture into entrepreneurship.




 

While the first one was based on real-life relationships and showcased the despotic rise of start-up culture in India, Season 2 pivots from the original storyline (see what I did there) to become more impersonal (relationships-wise), intense and focused on the more murky realities of what happens in nascent startups. Boasting a stellar cast who come through with outstanding performances, Pitcher 2 does manage to evoke a melange of emotions; unfortunately, it could not live up to the legacy of its predecessor. 

TVF Pitchers Season 2

The second season follows in the footsteps of the first and picks up from where they had left off. The previous season ended on a high where the four friends- Naveen Bansal (Naveen Kathuria), Yogi (Arunabh Kumar), Jeetu (Jeetendra Kumar), and Mandal (Abhay Mahajan)- had moved past the bottlenecks of their 9-5 jobs and gotten together to start their own app after securing a seed fund. The second story begins from here, and the three friends are back (minus Jeetu, who apparently left after a fallout). The app is in place, and so is the new glitzy office, but now the goal is to close Series A since the company is falling short of funds quickly.




 

The plot mostly revolves around Naveen and the others running from VC to VC, asking for money, and then facing rejection. Other constrictions like overdue taxes, idea theft, and employee management add on to the already difficult lives of our protagonists. The tone of the show has shifted from comedy-drama to realism which helps bring to light more murky realities of this world. Besides, the gripping screenplay is sprinkled with monologues citing examples of startups and quotes by stalwarts like Steve Jobs and brands like Zomato and Ola. However, despite its shining moments, season 2 fails to impress entirely. And by the end of it, it just becomes an exceedingly long tirade, and the audiences off-screen reach a burnout just like the central protagonists on screen.

TVF Pitchers Season 1 v/s Season 2

Pitchers Season 1 was one of the early creations of TVF that drifted the audiences towards the new India by telling a story that we didn’t know we needed. It talked about the domineering rise of startups and the flow of youth into this unchartered territory. It became a relic. And how! So, it will only be fair to give a little leeway to Season 2, for it had really big shoes to fill.




 

Season 1 had a disarming charm and a close-to-home culture (more realistic depiction of people); it was mostly about hope, about aspirations…friends you could bet on and fuzzy relationships. Season 2 was more intense and in trying to do too much and show too much- how difficult it is to run an office, how difficult it is to get money from investors, how many hardships you encounter and how many sacrifices you make in order to run a business so on and so forth. So much so that it ends up becoming an anxiety ridden, shadow fest of the previous one. Needless to say, it lacks breathers, it lacks friendly banter (that Season 1 was so rife with) that could have led to its redemption.

Another important thing that we missed was Naveen’s and Shreya’s relationship. The trope added a warm shade to Naveen’s character, making him look more real and human-like. In the absence of the witty repartee between the couple, Naveen became a duller and more mechanical version of his previous self that we had grown to love so much. Lastly, the absence of Jeetu hurt like going to a beach without the sun. It just felt wrong without the charm, charisma, and humor that Jeetendra Kumar brings to the narrative. His relationship with his father and his new bride were all elements that added to the story to engage and keep the viewers hooked.




 

Season 1 was easier to love because it swooshed in like beer- light, refreshing, and quenches a thirst you didn’t know existed. While Season 2 is also all heart, it is more hard-hitting, like whiskey. You would get the buzz but without the playfulness. Season 1 sets the bar too high for 2, and while Season 2 tries high to level up, it never succeeds. 

Good Things, Bad Things

Naveen stays the moral anchor, steering his co-founders and the audience in the process. Yogi is his usual best with his wit, crude sense of humor, and his adept use of slang. However, Mandal steals the show with his improbable charm and surprisingly developed problem-solving skills. The show makers have also sprinkled intelligent metaphors in between- like the elevator scene where they showcase how Yogi helps by doing the dirty work, or Jeetu’s emergency cigarette that Naveen smokes, etc., that add to the appeal.




However, TVF disappoints in the character-writing department since it has set our hopes so high up with magnums like Tripling and Permanent Roommates. Pitchers 2 has no coherence in its characters- they are aloof and withdrawn and showcase JUST the one aspect of their personality that is crucial to the storyline- Naveen becomes the angsty driver, Yogi becomes the friend with a sense of humor, and Mandal takes on the role to keep the group together. The show could have benefitted so much more only if the characters were more nuanced, layered, and polished.

There is no communication about the app Pragati- what is it about, what does it help solve, and what is the differentiator factor? That did not work, at least for me. I could not relate to and trust the subjects on screen. Besides, the run time was way too long, and that too, without breathers. The factual and funny monologues from season 1 become way too preachy in this one. And yet again, the absence of Jeetu left a resounding silence that could not be filled up even by the constant chatter of a dozen new people (office employees).




 

But, having said that- I would still like to maintain that TVF Pitchers Season 2 is a pretty great show despite its prosaic climax and tiny blemishes. So although the journey is long and not without turbulence, rest assured, you are definitely going to have fun. 


Related: Slow Horses (Season 2, Finale): Recap & Ending, Explained


Where to watch TVF Pitchers Season 2

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