Review of Aarya

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Set in one of the newly built towns of Rajasthan, Aarya does not only reflect the moral strength and courage of a woman but also throws light on the structural failures of the society including the moral obligations of a mother and how she often has to bear the repercussions when anything wrong happens in the family.

With the return of Sushmita Sen and that too with a web series, what most fans and critics expected from Aarya was something unique and distinctive from the odds. The response of the thriller certainly matched their expectations as most media platforms rated it 4 and above stars. Aarya is based on the Dutch series ‘Penoza’ meaning, The Underworld which was first aired in 2010. Penoza told the story of Carmen, an Amsterdam woman -a wife, a mother, and then a widow and a godmother who is forced to take over her husband’s business to pay off his various debts.

The series’ first and last episodes open with Aarya (Sushmita Sen) hanging upside down on TRX straps, a familiar sight for those who follow Sushmita Sen on Instagram. Aarya gives us the story of a woman who is catapulted into the hot-seat of her family business. After initial reluctance, she takes charge, growing in confidence, and facing down one challenge after another. Some of the major challenges being repaying the debt of her husband, protecting her children from the Mafia and also planning ways of how to deal with the police who were trying to establish a link between his husband’s transport business and drugs.

Fashioned as a crime thriller with a strong emotional core, Aarya sets up quite a pace. It is set somewhere in Rajasthan, so we get beautifully appointed homes, old and ornate havelis, polo team-owning crime lords, traditional staff, factories as big as barnyards, fancy cars, and fancier customs. That’s the rarefied setting of the rich people. especially of the landlords.

But the series never really takes its eyes off Aarya, and the ever cheerful and always immaculate Sen, clad in elegant pastels and huge solitaires, fills the titular character. Aarya is not just a designer mom but is involved in the well-being of her children. She fights for them and also teaches them to never give up even in the most barbarous situations. A big pleasure of this series is being able to watch so many good actors, all getting something substantial to do. From Namit Das to Manish Chaudhary, everyone has played their parts so well that the series never looks boring or tedious even for an instance of time. The inclusion of the quotes from the holy Bhagvada Gita also adds that extra charm to the series where they become relevant and often sum up the entire situation. What becomes even more attractive is the fact that they come from Bob, a foreigner, and husband of Aarya’s sister who came to India to learn Sanskrit.

It ends again on a suspense note just like most series these days with a guaranteed season 2. In between the first and ending scene of the thriller, the dilemma of Aarya is not only to fight or not but also to fight for whom once she becomes aware of the planning and plotting of all her own family members. Secrets are often hard to tell, what is even harder is to keep them. Aarya successfully delivers the most important message that it was trying to portray from the very beginning i.e “Sometimes the choice is not really between good and bad but between bad and less bad.”

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