Web Review: Aarya Season 2: Slow and steady wins the ‘pace’

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Sushmita Sen gives an award-worthy performance in Aarya 2. Photo: Trailer videograb

Slow and steady wins Aarya 2.

Based originally on the Dutch TV series Penoza, the sequel starts off with the Sareen family, comprising Aarya (Sushmita Sen) and her three children, the responsible Veer (Viren Vazirani), the depressed Arundhati (Virti Vaghani) and the troubled Adi (Pratyaksh Panwar) being forced to return to Rajasthan after having migrated. And why had they migrated? Because Aarya’s husband Tej (Chandrachud Singh) had been killed in the previous season as their pharmaceutical firm was also involved in drugs.

The layered story continues with its twists and turns. Aarya has to depose before the court that her husband was murdered by her own father Zorawar (Jayant Kripalani) and brother Sangram (Ankur Bhatia) in cahoots with Shekhawat (Akash Khurana), a notorious name extradited from Germany. The drug cartel from Russia that is dealing with Shekhawat also wants back their consignment worth Rs. 30 million that has gone “missing”.

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The lines between good and bad, wrong and right and moral and immoral get increasingly blurred as skeletons keep tumbling out of the Shekhawat and Rathore family closets. “Bad” characters turn good (Shekhawat’s henchman Sampat—played brilliantly by Vishwajeet Pradhan—takes a sick Arundhati to hospital, though his primary job is to harass Aarya). And good characters (like ACP Khan—another brilliant essay by Vikas Kumar) turn to evil machinations.

Aarya herself is cornered, and what she does to protect herself and her three kids against the combined might of Shekhawat, a perverted legal team and the Russians is not for the faint-hearted. Human beings become like commodities, which can be discarded once they have outlived their use!

A fascinating saga on how the end justifies the means and how friends turns foes and vice-versa,  Aarya 2 is a perfect example of the Hindi saying , “Zor ka jhatka dheere se lage (The huge blow comes slowly)”. By the middle of the second episode, the viewer is craving for Aarya 1-level pace and thrills, and then when the plot starts dealing out the cards, you are relentlessly gripped by the proceedings on screen.

Ram Madhvani, who besides the earlier aces Aarya (Season 1) and the 2016 film Neerja, had directed the recent dud Dhamaka, restores his transiently-fallen standard with this series. The script is compelling, a series of placid dhamakas (explosions), leading us to question where does one draw the line between what we can do and what we should not to protect our own from danger.

Sushmita Sen as the bulwark of the tale is astounding in the various avatars of the caring and desperate mother, the aggrieved widow and victim of the family and many more antagonists, and finally as the ruthless fighter. She blends the three shades of her character into a delectably seamless hue with an award-worthy performance.

From the rest, all of whom give terrific accounts of themselves, the highest marks go to Sugandha Garg as the distraught Hina. Ankur Bhatia as Aarya’s brother Sangram is excellent, Akash Khurana is incredibly good as the amoral Shekhawat and Pradhan and Kumar as mentioned earlier, the three Sareen kids and also Dilnaz Irani as the malefic counsel are all memorable essays. Sikander Kher as Daulat is superb, as is Maya Sarao as Aarya’s staunch friend.

This is not a show to be missed. Sequels can be dicey, but clearly, the script, direction and editing make the vital difference.

Rating: **** of 5

Produced by: Ram Madhvani. Directed by: Ram Madhvani, Vinod Rawat, Kapil Sharma, Khusboo Raj and Abhimanyu Chaudhary. Written by: Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh & Anu Singh Choudhary from the story by Pieter Bart Korthuis. Music: Vishal Khurana. Starring: Sushmita Sen, Sikandar Kher, Ankur Bhatia, Akash Khurana, Viren Vazirani, Virti Vaghani, Pratyaksh Panwar, Sohaila Kapur, Jayant Kripalani, Maya Sarao,Vishwajeet Pradhan, Vikas Kumar, Lavishka Gupta, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Shataf Figar, Dilnaz Irani, Shweta Pasricha, Charu Shankar & others

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