Asur (Season 2)
And the wait is finally over(this, while I know that I am a few days late to the party). With that, I finished watching the much awaited second season of one of the best webseries produced in India titled Asur. It was way back in 2020 when the world being confined to their homes had witnessed the first season of Asur and were absolutely blown away by it. The subject in the serial killer space having bouts of mythology was an absolute winner in itself and it made for one of the most thrilling web series to have come out of India. And ever since, the people wanted to know just one thing – Asur Ka Season 2 kab aayega?(when would the second season of Asur arrive?).
There were speculations of the show coming out in 2021 which proved to be untrue. In the meanwhile, the show was ready in 2022 but for reasons best known to the OTT platform Voot, the show did not see the light of the day. There were multiple delays up until the Voot and Jio Cinema merger which finally ensured that Asur 2 did get a release date. But the pickle did not end there! Jio made a U-Turn on its decision to have weekly episodes of Asur by releasing all episodes soon after releasing just 3 episodes. What this did was lead to some confusion amongst the viewers, and I won’t lie, it did cause a delay at my end too(as I wasn’t prepared for it). But as they say, if the content is good, no one can act as a barrier which proved to be true here when Asur became the talk of the town. I was quite curious and excited to watch it, and finally I got my chance last night. So then does the second season of Asur match up to the phenomenal last season, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
The second season of Asur picks up from the same point where the first season had ended and it follows the investigation behind a mysterious killer who will stop at nothing in killing people and creating chaos. Will the cops stop the killer? Now I have purposely kept the story vague here to avoid any spoilers. But the writers need to be credited for taking a simple serial killer subject and lacing it with concepts of mythology and spirituality by blurring the concepts of right and wrong in the most seamless manner! Let that sink in first! The story here is phenomenal, that shifts gears mid-season and ascends the series in a league of its own. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes ranging from 40 odd minutes to 60 odd minutes is binge worthy and will keep you on your toes throughout. You will witness shades of the ‘Joker’ and ‘Saw’ but kudos to the writers for adapting the screenplay in such a manner which shall make your jaw drop!
The drama opens with the reintroduction of all the principal characters wherein the viewers are privy to their current states, both physical and mental while the ultimate goosehunt is on. The fact that the writers are able to establish the magnitude of the ‘faceless’ threat early on riding on almost a cult, was important to raise the levels of tension early on in the drama. There are two parallel track unfolding at the same time, one unraveling the past of the antagonist bit by bit, and the other being that of a goosehunt. The emotional trauma of the principal characters in trying to nab the main culprit is shown wonderfully well. The viewers are also silent participants in the drama which soon introduces its first conflict in the form of multiple killings that set the ball rolling nicely for the rest of the drama to follow.
The proceedings are interesting and engrossing while also being layered with its approach. What the writers do well is in getting into the psyche of multiple characters, particularly the antagonist in his formative years with the start of each episode being dedicated to one particular phase of his life. And to mix layers of mythology in the narrative was pure innovation dome exceedingly well. With references to Mahabharata, Shiva, Kali and Kalki along with their set of ideologies told through multiple stories from chapters of mythology, did make for such a compelling drama. The twists and turns in the screenplay were interesting and they kept me hooked and booked right throughout. The stakes in the drama were raised at the halfway mark with the death of multiple characters and I wondered on how the drama would progress further. And from there on, marked one of the biggest high points of 2023 for me.
I was amazed at how multiple threads were tied up so well by the writers in such a seamless manner. What this did was transform a regular serial killer drama into something that was beyond imagination, all while staying true to its original concept. It is here(also slightly earlier) that you are exposed to the kind of chaos that was created in films like the Joker and Saw where the level of threat had suddenly amplified to a whole new level. There are political and social undertones that are deftly integrated in the drama that does add texture to the proceedings. And while the lines of good vs bad begin to blur, the writers are quick to balance the events with a counter argument which is tilted towards the good. This was an interesting approach as it allowed the viewers to weigh on both sides of the spectrum while being witness to a war of ideologies.
The extended final act is perhaps the most exciting sequence that I have witnessed all year. The tension is escalated at every juncture which does keep the viewers guessing on whether the antagonist can be stopped at all. This ends up at an absolute crescendo that left me dazed and gasping for my breath while being eager to witness the next chapter. A small plot point at the end, nicely sets up things for the next season thus summing up the screenplay which is perhaps the best follow up season that I have witnessed in a while that not only matches the prowess of the first season but exceeds it in so many ways!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are extremely well written wherein the sentiment of calmness mixed with angst is amplified to make for a solid impact. The BGM is phenomenal and blends perfectly with the tone of the drama. The cinematography is top notch and some of the frames which are captured add layers of freight to the already tense drama. The editing is sharp and crisp with the drama switching between scenes rather seamlessly. Director Oni Sen does such a brilliant job here and he deserves every bit of the accolades for maintaining a grip on the proceedings and never letting it go. As a result, the drama is engrossing while continuing to ascend in terms of its storytelling throughout the narrative. The direction deserves distinction marks here for being phenomenal throughout.
The performances are exceptional here to the core. Girish Sharma is well restrained and shines once again in a nice little role. Barkha Bisht as Vrinda has her moments to shine and she shall be a super important character in season three. Gaurav Arora as Kesar and Anuritta Kha as Kamini are first rate in their respective roles. Atharva Vishwakarma as Anant is wonderfully restrained and exudes of calmness in his performance. Vishesh Bansal as the young Shubh is just so menacing in a phenomenal performance for the ages. He did send a shiver down my spine every single time he appeared onscreen. I couldn’t believe he was the same affable kid from the first season of Yeh Meri Family which speaks volumes of the talent, the young man possesses. Abhishek Chauhan as the elder Shubh carries on Vishesh’s legacy perfectly in a more calmer manner which was equally intimidating. He is simply excellent here.
Adithi Kalkunte as Ishani is a wonderful addition to the series and she does make her presence felt incredibly well. Meiyang Chang as Paul has matured so much as an actor and here he is incredibly well restrained. The ever-reliable Amey Wagh(whom I had first witnessed in the first season of Asur and had then gone to watch his previous Marathi works) is outstanding as Rasool. The fear that he invokes is commendable. Pawan Chopra as Shashank is natural to the core in what was another winner of a performance by him.
Ridhi Dogra as Nusrat has a sense of poise to her character while showcasing her vulnerabilities really well in a wonderful job done! Anupriya Goenka as Naina is such a fine actor and she is outstanding here right from her mannerisms to feeding on the energy from the situation that her character finds herself in. Barun Sobti as Nikhil is smashingly good in yet another well restrained performance that required him to internalize a few of his emotions. Arshad Warsi as DJ is a revelation, a character which is a far cry from his usual comic avatar. He nails every bit of his character in what was a towering act of the highest order.
The second season of Asur is one of the biggest high points of 2023 that comes with my highest recommendation. Available on Jio Cinema and Highly Highly Recommended!