MX Player announces third season of Ek Badnaam… Aashram 3

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The Aashram 3 team with Prakash Jha at the press meet. Photo: Parull Gossain

The third season of India’s most-watched web show, Aashram (said to have been watched by 160 million ‘unique users’) was announced recently. The trailer has already been appreciated. At a press meet, the first episode of the Bobby Deol starrer was shown to the media fraternity.

Bobby Deol is back in this riveting social drama as Baba Nirala, his vicious character continuing to bend every rule. Among the stars, this was easily the most successful debut apart from that of Sushmita Sen as a protagonist.

Producer-director Prakash Jha said, “It was indeed a pleasure working with the team of MX Player, who supported us throughout in all our decisions. I’m blessed to have landed such a lovely set of cast and crew members who put their life into the show. Everywhere I went in the last two years, I was asked one question – When is the third season coming? Well, now you all know. A lot of research was done prior to the making of the show and now that it is almost here, I hope everyone loves it.”

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Gautam Talwar, chief content officer at MX Player, said, “I genuinely believe that cinema reflects society and vice-versa. It’s important to create an impact with your work. Personally, I have never come across or met any Baba. It requires a lot of time, effort, energy and passion to create a show of this magnitude and scale. The first two seasons of Aashram were watched by more than 60 million users in Maharashtra and Delhi NCR alone. And the trailer of Aashram 3 was trending at number one in India within six hours of its launch organically. This is the power of a good show, and it has been made possible by a lot of people – my team at MX Player and the entire cast and crew of the show. But above all, the credit goes to the captain of the ship, the man with a vision, the man who breathed life into all the characters and the story—Prakash Jha.”

Bobby Deol, who essays the central character of Monty a.k.a. Kashipur Waale Baba Nirala, was shooting in Singapore and joined the event virtually in an audio for a short while. He said, “It is really heartening to see this kind of love and appreciation that Aashram has been receiving over the years. I am grateful to our loyal viewers who have made this the most watched show and hope they continue to shower their love on us with the third season.”

When newsindiatimes asked the filmmaker what made him imagine and choose the soft-faced Bobby as the vicious anti-hero, he countered, “Can you think of anyone else I could have cast? I have always felt that he was a great actor.”

Darshan Kumaar, essaying police officer Ujagar Singh, said, “I am grateful to Prakash-sir and Gautam Talwar for this opportunity and for the love they have showered upon all of us. A special thanks to MX Player for their support throughout. I know there’s a certain responsibility to live up to the audiences’ expectations and we all have worked really hard to deliver the best performances. Hope people enjoy watching it as much as we did while shooting it.”

The cast present (including Rajeev Siddhartha, Adhyayan Suman, Sachin Shroff, Tridha Chaudhary and Anupriya Goenka) narrated their personal beliefs and experiences about gurus and god-men, and the general thrust was that a perceptive person who was not a blind follower could sense a true guru. They added that we should not let such men rule our lives but be guides, as it was human to seek such help in adverse times. Darshan Kumaar was the only one present who declared that he had never searched for spiritual help.

Ek Badnaam… Aashram 3 combines politics, crime and drama, and revolves around the meteoric rise of god-men in India and how the masses blindly follow them in the name of religion. Backed by the elite and the political class, these self-proclaimed gurus fear no one, and despite convictions for violent crimes like murder and rape, people continue to believe in their supremacy. Ek Badnaam… Aashram 3 brings to light the hard-hitting narrative through a fictional story of a megalomaniac, Baba Nirala, who continues to exploit women, indulge in the drug trade and control the politics of the town.

The ensemble cast includes also Aditi Pohankar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Darshan Kumaar, Anupriya Goenka, Esha Gupta, Sachin Shroff, Adhyayan Suman, Tridha Choudhury, Vikram Kochhar, Anuritta K. Jha, Rushad Rana, Tanmaay Ranjan, Preeti Sood, Rajeev Siddhartha and Jaya Seal Ghosh.

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