Hello 2 Review: Having considerably piqued the audience interest with a trailer, Hoichoi has now released the much-awaited Season 2 of Hello, the first original web series of the Bengali video streaming platform. Season 1, starring Raima Sen, Joy Sengupta and Priyanka Sarkar, was an instant hit due to its bold theme and an unusual storyline, and there had been a big demand for Hello 2.

After a gap of more than one year, Hello 2 has reached the palms of viewers. After eight episodes in the first season, Hoichoi has brought eight more episodes.

The story picks up from where it had left the audience in Season 1 – at Neena’s house where Nandita (Raima) had landed, unconscious, having betrayed by Anonyo (Joy), her philandering husband and father of her two children.

Hello Season 1 was a story of two very close childhood friends, Neena (Priyanka) and Nandita who got separated when in school and grew up separately. Many years later, Neena finds Nandita, who is now married to Anonyo and lives in Kolkata. The series shows Anonyo in a relationship with Neena who keeps trying to contact Nandita and wants her to know about her and Anonyo. It becomes clear soon there was something more than simple friendship between Neena and Nandita, and that Neena has come back to assert that. She succeeds in straining Nandita’s relations with her husband. The season ended with Nandita landing at Neena’s house in an unconscious state.

So, what happened to Nandita? Why did Neena snatch Anonyo away from Nandita? The cliffhanger ending had left the audience with many such questions.

Hello 2 has brought all the answers. The series begins with Anonyo standing outside Neena’s house, asking her to let Nandita out. The door opens, and he accuses both Neena and Nandita of cheating him. It is now clear Neena is a homosexual who always had feelings for Nandita, and she hooked up with Anonyo only to get Nandita away from him.

Hello 2 picks up fast as Anonyo engages in a heated exchange of words with Neena, unable to fathom that she had used him as a pawn. Nandita wakes up, and sneaks out of Neena’s house after seeing the two fight. In a fit of rage, Anonyo pushes Neena who gets severely injured in the head. He takes her for dead, and hides her body in her house, before leaving.

But strange things start happening soon.

Even as Nandita returns home, agrees to forgive her husband and start afresh, Anonyo is unforgiving, and so are his mother and the married sister who is visiting them along with her husband.

Neena makes her presence felt despite not being physically present, driving Anonyo crazy. He calls Nandita lesbian and blames her for the situation he is in. At the same time, he also wants her support to get out of the mess. You would also like to ask why is Nandita putting up with this person so aversive that he commands her to take the blame for the murder on herself reasoning that she should be grateful to him for not throwing her out of his life.

The treatment of the story gets slack by the time it reaches mid way. The dialogues become repetitive, sounding forced at times and lacking conviction. The pace gets slow with non-gripping, though relevant, flashbacks. Rabindranath Tagore however comes to the rescue often, giving a musical break through Neena, Nandita, or good old radio.

The slow pace does not pick up until the last episode that packs in a lot of surprises.

Is Neena alive? What does Nandita actually want? What will Anonyo do? All these answers can be found in the last episode that closes on an open-ended note, leaving adequate scope for a third season.

As far as performances go, Nandita is the protagonist and Raima plays her part with full conviction. Priyanka is a good actor and is convincing as Neena. The philanderer Anonyo in Season 1 had been accepted well, but Joy as a fallen-from-grace husband, who is also a murder suspect, does not match up. The spineless and irritating character he is playing evokes no sympathy, but the actor too does little to make Anonyo indispensable to the story.