It has been two years since the first lockdown due to the pandemic. But what the pandemic indirectly contributed to was some solid content on the OTT space(as everyone was at home and people needed something to watch), resulting in the boom of the OTT space. One such show which was released towards the end of the first lockdown was the Bobby Deol starrer Aashram which became one of the most popular shows at the time of its release. Political thrillers are always tricky particularly in the mainstream due to the current political environment in the country. What it does is that it generates a lot of eyeballs with people interpreting the show as per their ideologies(remember Tandav?). The art of weaving an “imaginary” tale will always be a challenge for the filmmakers in this genre. And this is where Aashram had succeeded. The follow season was basically an extention of the same season with the people asking when will season 3 be out. Well Aashram 3 is finally out and I have finished watching it. Does it manage to match the previous seasons, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Aashram 3 picks up from the same point where the second season had ended and it follows the story of Monty’s journey from a God-Man to a “God”. The story here packs in all the ingredients for an engrossing political thriller. It is dark and murky and it just shows how “power” can be exercized in the truest form. The screenplay standing at 10 episodes of roughly 45 minutes each was quite intimidating to begin with. If you would recall, the previous seasons were also elaborate. But the writers ensure that this remains an eventful season right throughout. There are not many dull moments amd something or the other is happening onscreen always. Another reason why its length is an advantage here is that it allows the user to settle down in the drama as opposed to scratching his head about what is transpiring on screen.
You are almost instantly settled in the drama as multiple subplots begin to unfold. This includes the introduction of a few new characters which brilliantly expand the universe. Some sub-plots meet a sudden end but some take the story ahead. While I did like the introduction of the new characters, some of the older characters are left slightly under the radar. Their characterization lacked bite and were slightly undercooked. Another minor drawback was that while the twists and turns were engrossing, none of them had a shock value for me. This might be due to various reasons – my political intellect may have gone up or by now I was aware of how things would transpire given the character of Monty.
But having set that, the brisk pace of the drama makes it an eventful one. There are several sequences which were literally edge of the seat stuff. The subtle meta references are tactfully integrated in the drama which gives it a lot of depth. The tensions start escalating towards the fag end of the series culminating into an enthralling finale which nicely sets up the drama for the fourth season which is out next year. Overall, a well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cerebral and just so brilliantly penned. The music is good, the BGM goes superbly with the drama. The cinematography lends a helping hand to the canvas of the series. Director Prakash Jha does a prolific job yet again. This honestly is his forte and very few makers understand the nuances of constructing a political drama more tham he does. The challenge he had on his hands was to restart and reconstruct the world which was already popular in the previous seasons. And he does a swell job here, no two ways about it.
The performances are excellent here. Savhi Shroff as Hukum Singh is first rate. Esha Gupta as Sonia is a welcome addition to the universe and she is well measured here. Anuritta Jha as Kavita is quite good and as Preeti Sood as Sanobar. Preeti Singh as Sangeeta has her moments to shine. Prashantt Guptha as DIG Sinha is first rate as is Tanmay Ranjan as Dilawar. Rushad Rana as Vipul and Jaya Seal Ghosh as Sunaina are both good however I wished their track was extending a little as it was really interesting. Adhyayan Suman as Tinka is good in an underwritten role. Vikram Kochhar as Sadhu is good, Anupriya Goenka as Natasha looks pretty and does a fabulous job. Yet their screen time is limited and wished it was a little more. Parinitaa Seth as Sadhvi Mata is excellent and she does a brilliant job. Tridha Choudhury as Babita looks pretty and I really loved her presence onscreen here. I feel she will play a crucial part in the fourth season. Rajeev Siddhartha as Akki is earnest and affable. Darshan Kumar as Ujagar is incredibly good and here is an actor slowly finding his mojo with some quality work. I really wish to watch more of him going forward. Chandan Roy Sanyal as Bhopa is intimidating yet again and the best actor on display. He is just brilliant and every time he is onscreen, he commands your attention. Aaditi Pohankar as Pammi is just excellent and a firecracker of a performer in every sense. She conpletely owns the stage by taking you on a roller coaster of emotions. And Bobby Deol as Monty aka Baba Nirala just shows his versatility in his 2.0 avatar. He is calm and collected in front of people and almost restless when alone. The kind of range which he showcases is just outstanding. His 2.0 version is a big upgrade from his previous self and is here to stay!
Aashram 3 is a dark and murky political drama which is engrossing and definitely worth your time. Available on MX Player.