Aashram 3 continues the gripping narration of a charlatan ‘god-man’

Bobby Deol, who portrays the unholy Baba Nirala, with Poonam in Ek Badnaam…Aashram 3. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The story continues from where Aashram and Aashram Chapter 2: The Dark Side left off. The earlier seasons never had a culmination and the desire for a fourth season in the filmmaker’s mind is clear when we see a similar end to Ek Badnaam…Aashram 3.

Inspired in part, as we all can guess, from the real-life shenanigans of charlatan, self-styled “god-men”, this time, the focus is on Pammi, the daredevil girl who has lost her father and brother to the notorious Baba Nirala (Bobby Deol), and has broken —literally—out of the shackles of his citadel, the Aashram. What’s more, she has now been framed for their murders!

Baba Nirala is continuing his power games with his political protégé and puppet chief minister Hukum Singh (Sachin Shroff), while keeping Hukum’s defeated rival Sunder Lala (Anil Rastogi) dangling. Baba’s “youth ambassador” of sorts, pop sensation Tinka Singh (Adhyayan Suman) introduces him to a literal El Dorado in drug dealings, while his sexual escapades, with the complete connivance of his women deputies, continues within the precincts of his sanctum sanctorum.

For all his political maneuvering, Baba is now obsessed with Pammi and wants her back alive, though his trusted lieutenant Bhopa Singh (Chandan Roy Sanyal) realizes how dangerous she is and would prefer to eliminate her. Their hoods chase her but she manages to escape their clutches, with the help of scribe Akki (Rajeev Siddharta), a rare honest cop (Darshan Kumar) and his trusted aide, senior constable Sadhu (Vikram Kochhar) and forensic expert, Dr. Natasha (Anupriya Goenka). They are all aware of the real exploits of Baba and want to nab him, Pammi wanting to kill him for destroying her family.

Babita (Tridha Choudhary), Pammi’s late brother’s widow, has seemingly forgiven Baba and is in his service. And Sonia (Esha Gupta, a new entrant in the series) is close to Hukum Singh, and an international brand-building expert. Though Hukum seems to be a puppet in Baba Nirala’s hands, Sonia and he have their own agenda against Baba.

In short, the odds against Baba are building up, and if Season 4 (said to come next year) does not conclude the saga, audiences are sure to wean off it as it would be stretching it too much!

As of now, however, Jha has a tight grip on his subject, manages to keep the sets of the Aashram bewitching and the technical aspects like cinematography (Chandan Kowli), editing (Santosh Mandal) and background score (Advait Nemlekar) are in brilliant tandem with his script.

The characterizations, and therefore the level of performances, remain extraordinary as always, though Season 2 was too run-of-the-mill in some ways. Bobby Deol is amazingly more and more in sync with his despicable character and Aaditi Pohankar is superb too as Pammi. Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sachin Shroff, Darshan Kumar, Anil Rastogi, Adhyayan Suman, Vikram Kochhar, Rajeev Siddharta and Tulika Banerjee (as Baba Nirala’s wife—yes, he has one tucked away!) lead the roster of consummate (and more) performances. Poonam, as Komal, his latest victim, is also spot-on, especially in her breakdown while she narrates her tarumatic experience.

If you are a fan of this franchise, do not miss it. As for those who will come in late, the superb background music itself is enough to hook you for starters, before the narration keeps you engrossed.

Finally, a statutory warning to Mr. Jha and team: Do see the writing on the wall: Season 4 must end the saga.

Rating: ****

MX Player presents Prakash Jha Productions’ Ek Badnaam…Aashram 3 Produced and directed by: Prakash Jha Written by: PJP Team,Avinash Kumar, Madhvi Bhatt & Sanjay Masoom Music: Sunny Inder & Advait Nemlekar Starring: Bobby Deol, Aaditi Pohankar, Esha Gupta Darshaan Kumaar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Anupriya Goenka, Tridha Choudhary , Tulika Banerjee, Vikram Kochhar, Anil Rastogi,  Sachin Shroff, Anurita Jha, Rajeev Siddharta, Jahangir Khan, Adhyayan Suman, Tanmay Ranjan, Preeti Sood, Anurita Jha, Parineeta Seth, Rushad Rana, Esha Dey & others



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