“Dukan phir se khul rahi hai…”
As Aarya Sareen raises a toast in anger, helplessness, fear and utmost strength during her party, Sushmita Sen basically announces back to the entire world boldly that she is back in the business and how! Without any doubts, it is the most definitive performance of her career, and she nails down the complex concoction of a varied range of emotions of Aarya in every single scene. This is classic Sushmita Sen at her resilient, fearless, terrified, graceful and affectionate best, and helps raising an already solid writing of a highly engaging show to the next level. Sushmita with Aarya, and Aarya with Sushmita, flies and soars, in all her shades of a mourning wife, a helpless but super protective mother, a smart and sharp thinker, a vulnerable woman, and a go getter, never losing her focus or poise in her messy and challenging journey.
The good thing is that the show is equally strong as its protagonist, and other than parts of the final episode going somewhat over indulgent and one or two other stretch tracks possibly, there are hardly any misfires. The drama created by Ram Madhvani, Sandeep Modi, Vinod Rawat and team is engaging, the tensions feel real, the aesthetics do not tamper with the impact, and the pace is a good balance of poise and edginess. Instead of creating a high dry drug cartel mafia drama, Aarya connects because it brilliantly grounds itself on the emotions of complex family dynamics, a mourning family, a crumbling empire and humanness of trust, friendship, grief and protectiveness. There is an agency, a sense of grace even in the dysfunctionality of little kids and young adults here. Some of the other characters are also very thoughtfully written and the writing gives a scope for most of the characters (big or small) to perform. Watch out especially for the performances of Namit Das as Jawahar, Vikas Kumar as ACP Khan and Pratyaksh Panwar as little Adi, who are pretty solid. Maya Sarao as Maya was a good improvement over Thappad, while Sikandar Kher clearly demanded more with his Daulat. It was good to see Chandrachur Singh and Jayant Kriplani back on screen after long as well, but they may need some more space and time to get rid of their rust of time, we will wait for more.
Wish Ram Madhvani and team had kept their indulgence in reign towards the end and resisted the forced fusion of the concert hymns to underline the final showdown. Thankfully, it didn’t matter so much since the show does enough to make Aarya’s turbulent journey as its focal point rather than the destination, making the predictable final reveal somewhat inconsequential. Aarya glows in its finer intimate moments, its smaller victories, its whys and hows, and is one of those rare shows that tries to bring graceful closures for everyone without rushing through any of it. Mango would have found its peace too.
Aarya also shines in its aesthetics and atmospherics, right from the lavish Rajasthani royalty, to its restrained but excellent use of background score to add layers to the overall storytelling. So much so that the 14 different tracks of retro hindi film music playing across the show becomes the inseparable inner circle of the Sareens in their own glory and intoxicating beauty! Bade achhe lagte hain…!
Aarya is now playing on Disney Hotstar, and is easily the best hindi webseries that has come out on the Hotstar platform. It is based on the much acclaimed Dutch drama series Penoza, and leaves you on a note so that one will now eagerly wait for its next season.
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