Asur 2—Mythology meets mayhem, megalomania and machines!

Arshad Warsi, Atharva Vishwakrama & Rajiv Kachroo in Asur 2: Welcoem to the Dark Side. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

In Hindu mythology, there is ample mention of the asur or demons, who always intended that evil to take over the world. Asur, made in 2020, fashioned an ingenious if (moee than) a shade absurd thriller on this premise, mixing it with psychological elements. A child, Shubh, is traumatized by his father due to an idée fixe that this offspring was born under a certain constellation that made him a demon. The child kills the father. And from there we come to a modern thriller.

Asur 2 takes the story forward to present day, when the grown-up Shubh (Abhishek Chauhan) has convinced or persuaded (with subterfuge) an army of men and women who will also stop at nothing to fulfill their nefarious goal of a new order in this world. This is the time that unimaginable things can be done with technology, including peeping into the private life of an individual, or breaking in visually onto a departmental screen to say your bit!

Logic must be severely curtailed if one has to otherwise enjoy this thriller with a novel twist—where megalomania and mythology merge with mayhem and machines! The ATF (Anti-Terror Force) is helpless as its main agents, Dhananjay Rajpoot (Arshad Warsi), till now suspended from service in Season 1, Nikhil (Barun Sobti), his ex-wife Naina (Anupriya Goenka) and colleague-in-love Nusrat (Riddhi Dogra) have all faced personal losses due to Shubh and his shenanigans and supporters.

The ATF’s digital expert Rasool (Amey Wagh) is also now under suspicion and ATF chief (Pawan Chopra) is facing a barrage of pressure from politicians as well as the media as the murders keep mounting. Shubh kills even his benefactors, on the pretext of awarding them salvation, and knows how to manipulate all.

An ornate digital setup in a remote village where no one except a kid has seen the man who lives alone in a house, sans even domestic help and with uninterrupted network connectivity—that is just the biggest illogic! But once you suspend logic and go with the flow (the way we all do in those extravagant Hollywood entertainers including the ‘Marvel’ous ones!), Asur 2 is a distinct improvement on Season 1 in terms of the thrill and twist quotients, and thus becomes a riveting entertainer.

The new characters introduced in this season, the blind Vrinda (Barkha Bisht Sengupta), the arrogant Paul (a largely expressionless Meiyang Chang) and the doughty Ishani (Adithi Kalkunte) are all interesting. The end is finite, but as in most supernatural thrillers that we have seen even before web series came into being, there is a hint of a continuation. And due to the outstanding actor concerned who will follow Shubh as the demon, I frankly cannot wait.

The tension and suspense, without being extraordinary, succeeds in keeping is riveted and wanting to binge-watch. And adding to it is the succesive quick intercuts between past and present, and the various activities of the ‘good people’ and the ‘bad people’. The director (Oni Sen) succeeds in keeping us captivated all through and the sharp and succinct dialogues help, alongside the powerful performances.

Arshad Warsi, as Dhananjay, delivers brilliantly again as a serious performer. Here is one consummate actor who has successfully smashed his comic ‘Circuit’ image repeatedly, on big-screen and web. Anupriya Goenka is earnestness personified, as is Barkha Bisht Sengupta in her cameo as Vrinda. Barun Sobti, with his hangdog-meets-I have-a-hangover countenance is excellent as the often-confused-always-distraught Nikhil, and Abhishek Chauhan as the grown-up Shubh underperforms with great effect. We also see Vishesh Bansal as his teenage version, who is even more chilling. Amey Wagh makes a mark as the mysterious Rasool. Riddhi Dogra as Nusrat gets a rather raw deal and she and Pavan Chopra are just okay. But Atharva Vishwakarma as little Anant is fabulous as the calm do-gooder who is taken to be God himself!

The background music (Dharam Bhatt) and technical side are far above average, especially the cinematography (Ramanuj Dutta).

The series also has to be appreciated for its clever references to mythology and for including Muslim characters without in-your-face references to the religions of their characters.

Rating: ***1/2

Jio Cinema presents Reliance Entertainment’s Asur 2 Welcome To Your Dark Side  Created by: Gaurav Shukla  Produced by: Bhavesh Mandalia, Sejal Shah & Gaurav Shukla  Directed by: Oni Sen Written by: Abhishek Garg, Chirag Salian & Gaurav Shukla Music: Dharam Bhatt  Starring: Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti,  Riddhi Dogra, Anupriya Goenka, Vishesh Bansal, Amey Wagh, Meiyang Chang, Rajiv Kachroo, Gaurav Arora, Abhishek Chauhan,  Barkha Bisht Sengupta, Pawan Chopra, Adithi Kalkunte, Atharva Vishwakarma & others








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