Often, we have been amazed at the grit exemplified by mothers to protect their children. The latest web series, Aarya, questions the extent to which a mother is willing to go, in order to protect her children. It is exactly what made me hooked to the Sushmita Sen starrer, Aarya. A woman, recently widowed, is willing to compromise her moral ground to protect her family only to be betrayed by her very own. It is the thought of the safety of her three young children that unbottles her unmatched prowess.
A Smashing Comeback by Sushmita Sen
Aarya marks Sushmita Sen’s comeback after almost a decade. From playing safe being a now single mother to becoming a fully charged lioness, the Miss Universe 1994 does justice to her character. There is a certain grace and elegance that Sen brought to the titular character of Aarya.
I love the rawness of Aarya’s character where she tries to stay strong in the very world she tried to escape.
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What’s it about
The web series is about Aarya Sareen (Sushmita Sen), a recently widowed mother of three young children. Her father Zorawar (Jayant Kripalani), retires from his pharmaceutical company and thrusts it in the hands of his son Sangram (Ankur Bhatia), son-in-law Tej Sareen (Chandrachur Singh) and Tej’s drug-addicted friend Jawahar (Namit Das). Sangram swipes heroin worth 300 crore rupees from another drug lord, Shekhawat. While Tej is against the idea of peddling drugs particularly stolen from Shekhawat the other two jump on board looking at the profits. Daulat (Sikandar Kher), the right-hand man of Zorawar is different from the typical ‘hit men’. Instead of scrutinising Aarya for being a woman in a ‘game only for men’, he pushes Aarya to show her true strength. He plays a vital role in bringing out the deep hidden tenacity and makes her a force to be reckoned with.
Aarya away from her father’s business asks Tej to leave it behind. Unfortunately, the family never gets the fairy tale ending and Tej is shot in broad daylight in front of his youngest son. Soon Aarya is left clearing Tej’s debts and finding people she can rely on. Facades are smashed and Aarya is left trusting none but her children and sister. It’s a drama of an affluent royal family’s secrets, drug deals, and a cop who refuses to settle down.
What works and what doesn’t
The series begins on a promising note but is slow-paced. For an almost nine hours long show, I’d expect a lot more to happen and a lot quicker. Though each character has an impeccable dialogue delivery, there isn’t much to be cherished about the dialogues themselves.
On the upside, each character contributes to the development of the plotline and aren’t just props. All the characters have their own battles and story arcs.
“Pehle dhandha mard sambhalte the, ab bache nahi,” Aarya tells Jawahar.
Shattering the Stereotypes
The show takes on to impair stereotypes with subtle but impacting scenes. We see a female-oriented spin to the commonly seen male-dominated crime drama, especially those involving drugs. Aarya is portrayed as a lady torn apart between doing what is right and protecting her family. In a bid to save those closest to her, she gets her hands dirty by helping Shekhawat in his consignments.
She loses the role of the righteous woman and drops the act of the ‘ideal lady’. She tells Khan, the ACP that the choices presented to her were between what is wrong and what is less wrong.
There is complexity in her darkness where her ultimate goal is to leave this behind but she only entangles herself more with everything. She accepts her fate and then, refuses to bow out of a game where men make and break the rules.
“Pehle dhandha mard sambhalte the, ab bache nahi”, (Earlier men used to take care of business, now there aren’t any left) Aarya tells Jawahar. This annihilates what is meant by ‘manly’ as there were still men there who could’ve taken over.
What blew my mind was Sampat, (Vishwajeet Pradhan) works for the drug lord, Shekhawat, who kidnaps Aarya’s daughter, goes out to buy sanitary pads for her. In the process, he gets the shopkeeper beaten up on the latter’s ‘vulgarity’.
From playing safe being a now single mother to becoming a fully charged lioness, Sushmita Sen does justice to the widowed character of Aarya.
While the ultimate killer remains a well-hidden suspense, I hope the series was fast-paced and not as predictable. Although I admit, I now find myself humming to the tune of Bade Achche Lagte Hain.
Sushmita Sen starrer web series Aarya is out on Disney+Hotstar. Co-directed by Ram Madhvani (director of Neerja), Sandeep Modi, and Vinod Rawat, the series is apparently based on the Dutch drama series, Penoza.
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Bhavya Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.