The second season of this period drama opens in March 1935, three years after the events of season one. By moving the drama forward quite considerably it allows an opportunity for new viewers to step on board while we’re reintroduced to the characters and where they are now.
As the rule of the British Empire draws closer to its end in India, tensions are rising across the subcontinent. Aafrin Dalal (Nikesh Patel) has returned to Simla from a stint in Bangor and is now a member of the resistance, using his high standing in the British Civil Service to access information. Within the resistance, however, is Naresh (Arjun Mathur), a man who believes the only way to expel the British from India is through violence and terrorism.
From the opening scene, it is clear that the action has been ramped up quite considerably for season two, with the tension coming much thicker and faster. Whereas the premiere season was mostly a slow-burning mystery, this concluding chapter escalates matters and relationships, often in highly destructive ways.
A majority of the original cast return, including Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Aafrin’s boss, Ralph Whelan, Jemima West as his sister and Aafrin’s love interest, Alice, and the divine Julie Walters as the exquisitely manipulative manager of the Royal Simla Club, Cynthia Coffin. New in Simla are the aforementioned Naresh, Art Malik as The Maharajah of Amritpur, and Australia’s own Rachel Griffiths as his lover, Sirene.
With Simla located against a backdrop of the Himalayas, Indian Summers again captures the beauty of the landscape, along with the colour and rituals of the local population (despite actually being filmed in Malaysia).
For those who enjoy a period drama that unveils a history that we’ve learn little about, the ten episodes of Indian Summers Season 2 offers an exciting and eye-opening conclusion to a visually stunning serial.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 7
Indian Summers Season 2 is out now on Digital and will be released on DVD from 7 September 2016.