Aarya Season 3 - (Parts 1 and 2)
Onto the next release of the weekend and I have finished watching the third season of the Hindi show Aarya(Part 1 and 2) which is streaming on Hotstar. My journey with Aarya did begin in 2020 during its first season wherein my main motivation for watching the show was Sushmita Sen who was making her comeback while debuting in the OTT space. And while the season wasn’t entirely perfect, it did highlight the persona of Sushmita Sen from her real life as well – from being soft spoken and articulate to always voicing her opinion in the most graceful manner. The role was tailor made for her to an extent that I couldn’t quite imagine any other actor pulling off a performance with so much grit and grace in the same breath. Since then, as the show has progressed and I have been witness to the growth of a character who sole motivation was to take care of her kids – from almost being naive to adapting and coming into her elements to be the king pin(or should I say ‘queen’ pin) of the drug cartel.
So come season 3, I was really expecting a final outburst in what was touted to be the final chapter in the life of Aarya. And Hotstar being Hotstar conveniently sabotaged another one of its prime shows by splitting a single season into two parts. However, my strategy for watching Aarya was simple, I wouldn’t simply go after the first four episodes, and wait until all the episodes are out. The same was validated by Sushmita Sen too in the FC First row event wherein she said that the third season had a beat to it and any interruption would ruin the viewing experience as a whole. And finally, Hotstar decided to drop its remaining episodes while there was a palpable excitement on my part to witness the final season of Aarya. So then is the third season of Aarya worth your time, let’s find out.
Story & Screenplay
The third season of Aarya follows the story of the protagonist, now at the center of the drug cartel who has to deal with the cops and a few enemies that she may have made along the way. Will she survive the onslaught? The story here is compelling and gritty while unfolding at a break neck pace. There are a chain of events that unfold this time around that do not really provide any respite while consistently keeping you on your toes. The only time the writing dips is in its final act that ensured that the show didn’t end on a high but instead on a whimper. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes of 30 odd to 40 odd minutes are intense with the twists and turns and quite gritty for most parts of the runtime up until the routine final act that doesn’t quite nail its conclusion.
The drama opens with the introduction of the protagonist who happens to be shot by a stray bullet. This foreshadowing of the timeline from the end was a promising start wherein the viewers’ interests would definitely pique. Soon, the drama shifts to an earlier timeline wherein the protagonist is independent in handling her business without even showcasing a grain of remorse to her enemies within her group or outside. Yet, there is a good amount of empathy in her character that is reflective of her behavior towards her near and dear ones, with whom she continues to share a warm relationship. The writers introduce a constraint in the form of an old friend turned foe from the previous season who would stop at nothing while wishing to extract revenge on Aarya for the murder of his wife. Needless to say that the cops along with other parties of the drug mafia form the third dimension, all of whom must either be controlled or eliminated by Aarya.
The proceedings are engaging and engrossing particularly with the extended kidnapping sequence at the start of the season. The writers keep you on tenterhooks by dabbling with the shifting dynamics between the characters that automatically allow the stakes to rise in the drama. The intensity of the show is right up there particularly in the first half of the show even as bodies begin to pile up around the protagonist all over again. All of it leads to a resounding conflict resolution at the halfway mark that perfectly blended with the character motivations of the protagonist. This, while things were nicely setup for the home run in the second half of the show which unfortunately faltered in its final act.
Things did look bright in the second half of the show with a conflict less owing to the death of a character. However, the intensity was pretty much prevalent. My issue here though was the conflicts introduced were met with an immediate conclusion in the very next scene. Perhaps, the resolution could have been a little more layered while flirting with the gradually shifting character dynamics leading to the final act. Even the brief conflict involving new perpetrators did not have enough meat to truly call them the perfect nemesis for the protagonist. This equation in particular was exposed in a simplistic final act that ensured that the show ended on just a whimper. Here, I am unsure on whether the universe would expand to a few other characters but the conclusion for a character like Aarya felt a little underwhelming. Overall, the screenplay is definitely compelling although a little simplistic with its conclusion that still accounts for a good watch.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are understated but very well thought out in terms of what message the makers intended to be conveyed. The music involving the placement of the song ‘Bade Achche Lagte Hain’ was pretty good and it did emote the right kinds of emotions. The BGM was quite good as well while blending well with the core emotions underlying the drama. The cinematography captures some stunning frames filled with tension that does manage to keep you on tenterhooks. The editing is good apart from the sword fight sequence at the end that just diluted the impact to an extent. The director’s chair is shared by three individuals – Kapil Sharma, Shraddha Pasi Jairath and Ram Madhvani, and the direction barring the final act is pretty good. While the final act seemed to be haphazardly staged and executed, the buildup of tension in the drama was impressive and it added to the intensity of the drama. Even the shifting character dynamics on top of which the drama was mounted, was pretty good and well controlled although the proceedings could have been a little more layered. But overall, the directors did a fine job here.
The performances are outstanding by the ensemble cast. Shweta Pasricha as Roop is wonderful to watch despite a limited screen time and she is quite impressive with her screen presence. Ketaki Narayan as Urvi and Sohaila Kapur as Rajeshwari have their moments to shine. I quite enjoyed the stoic act of Sikander Kher who is amazing to watch as Daulat. Aarushi Bajaj as Aru didn’t feel out of place at all(given that she was replacing another actor for the same role). She was quite good emoting effortlessly in an act that did create a significant impact. Geetanjali Kulkarni as Sushila is such a pleasure to watch, and she is such a natural onscreen. Maya Sarao as Maya is wonderful to watch as well.
Bhupendra Singh Jadawat as Dhruv definitely gets his body language right and does contribute well with his screen presence. Ila Arun as Nalini is wonderfully understated although I did wish that her character had a little more screen time, it was such a pleasure listening to the pronunciations of the words that she spoke. Shashvet Set as Abhimanyu is menacing and intimidating in a nicely performed character. Indraneil Sengupta as Sooraj is top notch in a character that has an uneasy intensity for the viewer’s consumption, something that makes him unpredictable. Viren Vazirani as Veer is pretty good and definitely makes an impact.
Vishwajeet Pradhan as Sampat was my other favourite character here wherein he approached his role with utmost sincerity and earnestness. The loyalty angle that he brought to the table was quite refreshing, my only complaint was on the way his character concluded that didn’t allow him to have the arc that he deserved. Vikas Kumar as Khan is absolutely top notch right from his body language to demeanor. If not for the one-dimensional character traits(in this season), Vikas is otherwise excellent to watch.
Sushmita Sen as Aarya is an epitome of grace and assertiveness wherein there is an understated quality with which she approaches a scene. The tone is low but firm while being effective in conveying the underlying emotions. And she commands your undivided attention through her massive screen presence in a towering act of valour and grit. It was a pitiful end to her character(maybe?) wherein she deserved better but take nothing away from a resounding act by a performer who never fails to impress!
The third season of Aarya(Parts 1 and 2) is a gritty and compelling drama with strong performances that falls a little short of greatness due to its simplistic final act. Nevertheless, it still deserves to be watched and savoured. Available on Hotstar.