At midnight on Friday, Inside Edge — Amazon’s first original series from India, about the power-hungry individuals behind a fictionalised version of the Twenty20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League — returned after a long absence: nearly two and a half years. According to Inside Edge creator Karan Anshuman, that was partly because a second season was never on the cards. In fact, it’s the response to the first innings that is responsible for the existence of Inside Edge 2. Anshuman also spoke about the character of Bhaisaab, who was written as a MacGuffin and is now played by Aamir Bashir, and why the Prime Video series has a tone that’s akin to a soap opera.
“[Inside Edge] was just a concept that I had and then we worked on it and it was just a big fun experiment for us, because there were no constraints,” Anshuman told Gadgets 360. “We were shooting it like one long film and I don’t think anyone was really aware of what we were getting into at that point. There was no plan, so to speak, of a second season, and it’s only after it came out and, everyone was like, ‘Man, this has really struck home in a way that we didn’t see coming.’ And so, then we had to huddle and get back into the writers’ room. And that process, from that point to finishing it, it’s how much time it takes to put the show together. So now that we have a bit of a thing going, we’re better prepared. So, if there is a [season 3], it won’t be that long.”
Given the Inside Edge makers hadn’t anticipated a second season, they also had to deal with the character of Bhaisaab, who had only existed as a voice all through the first season. Anshuman rightly called it a MacGuffin, in that it was important to the plot and characters’ motivation, but otherwise irrelevant. But after the character became more popular than they could have imagined, going into Inside Edge 2, Anshuman & Co. had a decision to make.
“It’s not something the writers planned, ‘Oh, this is gonna go viral,’ in the way that it did,” Anshuman added. “Obviously you don’t plan for that kind of stuff. [But season 2 brought] that whole pressure of, ‘Do we even introduce Bhaisaab in the second season? Or do we just keep him the way we did in the first and just play with him as like a voice of God, or a deus ex machina to sort of come in and help move the plot along?’ But then we took a call and we went with it.”
As you already know, that call ended up being the former route. Aamir Bashir (Sacred Games) plays Bhaisaab in the second season, whose full name is Yashwardhan Patil. Inside Edge 2 also reveals that Bhaisaab is the president of the Indian Cricket Board, analogous to the real-life Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Bhaisaab is one of a very few muted characters on Inside Edge, in what is otherwise an over-the-top show filled with larger-than-life individuals. Anshuman said that’s because Inside Edge was one of India’s first originals and they wanted it to act as a bridge for Bollywood audiences.
“In all honesty, we have a tradition in terms of our viewers and audiences who are so conditioned to watching Bollywood in a certain sort of hyper band of cinema,” Anshuman added. “I have always been a champion of going towards the kind of cinema that I like, which is, I love indie cinema. But that doesn’t mean you limit yourself to a certain kind of thing. So, because this was the first show, this was sort of bridge I thought at the time, and then I really enjoyed doing something like this.
“I think Mirzapur [which I co-created] also was hyper-real in a way. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be interested in doing something that’s closer to [what I like], in terms of the treatment and style and a way of doing things. [Inside Edge 2] is slightly different, you’ll find there’s an evolution in that regard from the first to the second.”
Inside Edge 2 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.