The second season of Mirzapur ended one revenge tale, only to lay the foundation of another one. While there were several unexpected moments and character arcs that left people conflicted, the undisputed winners of the show were the women.
After a season of being used as mere pawns in a male-dominated fight for the control and power of Mirzapur, the women finally struck back, refusing to let men write their fates.
Here are some of the most memorable moments from the show, that had us rooting for the women in the show:
1. When Beena expertly plays the three men in her life, ensuring maximum protection for her child.
When Beena Tripathi (an exceptionally brilliant Rasika Dugal) gets pregnant, she realizes that Munna may view her child as competition, especially when her own husband hints at the same thing.
She thus convinces three men--her husband who left her sexually dissatisfied, her lover who she was forced to castrate, and her father-in-law who abused her--that they are the father, for the simple reason of keeping the child safe.
From a woman who contemplated suicide to a mother who could plan her entire family's demise, Beena Tripathi had one of the most spectacular transformations. As she goes, "hum survive karenge."
2. When Beena creates an alliance with Golu and Guddu, passing on information and instruction while being pregnant and living between her foes, literally.
Badass does not even begin to describe what Beena did. Just to put in a little perspective, Munna could not plan his father's assassination, but Beena managed to topple the entire Tripathi family, thanks to clever planning, a need to keep her child safe, and a desire to exact revenge.
And she managed it all, while she was pregnant and living with the very people she wanted to kill.
3. When Beena exacts small acts of revenge against Bau ji.
Sometimes, it's the little things that keep you going, before the end result is in sight. Beena first uses her pregnancy to escape being sexually assaulted by Bau ji. At the same time, she also tries to save her house-help from the same fate but knows that there is only so much that she can do.
So later, she spikes Bau ji's meal with excessive spices and does not give him any water because messing with his meal was the only way she could take revenge at the time.
4. When Beena kills Bau ji with a meat cleaver that her house help (also abused by Bau ji) hands her.
When Beena notices that Maqbool is about to kill Bau ji, she takes over the task, finally retaliating against his abuse, and laying down her demons to rest.
5. When Dimpy refuses to turn into a crusader for justice or a violent avenger, but rather, takes her own path.
At a time when your life is anything but normal, it is easy to stick to familiarity - which in Dimpy's case is to fight idealistically like her father or violently like her brother.
But, right at the start, even as Golu succumbs to the need for revenge, Dimpy refuses to let violence drive her, acting to defend herself, but not to kill.
And later, she does not side with her father, refusing to turn witness for her father's case against her brother. She instead, chooses to chart her own path and look after her own interests.
6. When Madhuri admits to not having any sexual contact for over a year and reaches out to Munna.
Because physical contact and sexual gratification are not just a man's prerogative.
7. When Madhuri calls out Munna for not standing up to his own father and marrying against his own desires.
When CM Yadav first discusses Munna's marriage proposal with Madhuri, she clearly asks him if Munna actually is interested in marrying her. She does not automatically assume that just because she had sexual relations with Munna, they should get married.
Rather, she yes to the marriage believing that he reciprocates her feelings. And when she finds out that isn't the case, she instantly calls him out.
8. When Madhuri refuses to have sexual relations with Munna, just because she is his 'wife'. She goes so far as to threaten him with physical harm, if he tries to force himself on her.
This scene was a powerful example of the fact that women, whether they are in love with their partner(s) or not, do not 'owe' sex to anyone.
9. When Madhuri announces herself as the new CM, expertly tricking Kaleen bhaiya into doing the 'dirty work' and avenging her father, who Kaleen bhaiya had used for his own advantage.
Madhuri deceives Kaleen bhaiya into taking action against her uncle, by making him believe that he could take the CM post.
However, she pulls the ultimate long con by declaring herself as the CM in the end. Later, it's revealed that this was her plan all along because she knew her father-in-law's intentions towards her father were not genuine.
10. When Golu calls Chhote and asks if he would have sex with her, because yes, women can ask for sex too.
It's high time we normalize not just women having sexual needs and desires, but also women actively seeking to satisfy those desires, rather than just submerging their needs.
While the show definitely failed in accurately representing BDSM relations, the fact that Golu was not shy in admitting her desires, deserves to be celebrated.
11. When JP Yadav does not give Zarina the position in politics that she was promised, she decides to take matters into her own hands and look after her own interests.
Zarina has sexual relations with JP Yadav because he promises her the position of his official PA when he is made CM. However, he constantly treats her as his 'property', offering her 'services' to Sharad and even ignoring her, once he is made CM. She retaliates by joining forces with his rival, the Tripathis.
12. When Geeta Tyagi refuses to cower down in front of her husband, clearly stating that she alone is not responsible for her son's supposed misdemeanors.
Dadda Tyagi is a formidable opponent to have, but right from the start, the creators make it clear that his wife, Geet (a brilliant act by Alka Amin) is not one to take things lying down.
Thus, when he discovers his son is the one dealing in opium, a trade he absolutely disapproves of, he shouts at his wife in anger. But she does not take it lying down and gives back as good as she gets, reminding him that a wife/mother has just as much a say in the family business as a husband/father.
Obviously, not all of these characters were morally right but, if male characters are not burdened by morality, why should female characters be? What was important is that season 2 built female characters that had distinct personalities, and who did not just react to situations, but rather took actions that changed the course of the game.
Suffice to say, we're eagerly waiting to see how these characters develop, as the story progresses further.
All images are screenshots from the show on Amazon Prime Video.