STORY: ‘Aarya’ season two follows a mother as she battles the dark world of crime and criminals in order to protect herself and her children from unseen harm.
REVIEW: When a crime thriller is full of twists and turns, it becomes engrossing. And ‘Aarya season 2’, directed by Vinod Rawat and Kapil Sharma and created by Ram Madhvani, is a compelling watch.
This season picks up right where the last one left off, with Aarya’s (Sushmita Sen) father Zorawar Rathore (Jayant Kripalani), brother Sangram Rathore (Ankur Bhatia), and Udayveer Shekhawat (Akash Khurana) imprisoned and awaiting trial for their roles in the drug mafia. In exchange for saving her from a Russian gang and assisting her in settling down in Australia with her children, Aarya gave ACP Yonis Khan the pendrive that promises to blow the lid off a black money trail and drug deals with the Russian Mafia. Regrettably, she will have to return to her home state of Rajasthan to testify against all three of them. Once back in town, however, Aarya must deal with her family, whom she does not trust (due to their involvement in the death of her husband, Tej), Udayveer Shekhawat, who wants to avenge his son’s death and vows that Aarya will pay with her life, and a Russian gang who wants their stolen consignment of 300 crores of heroin back by any means necessary. Will she be able to survive the war while also protecting her three children?
This time, Aarya takes command and walks a fine line to protect her family. It also depicts the various ways in which Aarya’s children deal with their father’s untimely death—youngest son Aditya aka Adi (Pratyaksh Panwar), who is shaken by witnessing his father’s murder, attends therapy sessions, while daughter Arundhati aka Aaru (Virti Vaghani), who is unable to overcome the trauma, is now depressed and suicidal. Veer (Viren Vazirani), the eldest son, acts as a pillar of support for his mother and siblings.
‘Aarya’ is an official adaptation of the Dutch series ‘Penoza,’ which depicts the journey of a woman from housewife and mother to don. While staying true to the basic premise, the writers (Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh and Anu Singh Choudhary) have expertly woven in the ups and downs of Aarya’s life, as well as the shifting equations of love, loyalty, betrayal, and family ties. The screenplay isn’t particularly good, but it’s executed well. The characters are well-written, and as the storey progresses, you grow to like them. However, the show moves at a leisurely pace for the most part and fails to create the kind of suspense that one would expect from a thriller.
The use of classic melodies like “bade ache lagte hain” in the background music is noteworthy. It’s catchy, and it also serves as a reminder of Tej’s fondness for old tunes. The exotic architecture of Rajasthan and the royal vibe of the city could have been captured in the cinematography, which appears to be lacking.
Aarya’s attitude toward everything can be summed up in two statements she makes in different scenes: “Kamjor hum nahi waqt hota hain, this time will pass,” and “Not a don, I am just a working mother,” in the first. She recognises that she must be strong and powerful in order to compete with evil.
Sushmita convincingly portrays Aarya’s various avatars, including a grieving wife, a scared mother, and a tough woman battling crime lords. Sen’s abilities are heavily reliant on this crime drama, as they were in the prequel. Throughout the show, Sen maintained a calm, vulnerable, and tall demeanour, despite the action-packed stunts. Aarya attacks one of the government officials with her legs while in the interrogation room with her hands tied to the ceiling. This sequence is directly lifted from Marvel Studios’ ‘Hawkeye,’ despite its excellent execution.
Unlike the prequel, the other women in the storey play an important role in changing the equations and adding twists to the storey. Whether it’s Hina (Sugandha Garg), who is pregnant with Sangram’s child, Rajeshwari (Sohaila Kapur), who has her own dark secrets, Maya (Maya Sarao), who is Aarya’s only confidante, or Geentanjali Kulkarni as inspector Sushila Shekhar, the cast is diverse.
ACP Khan, played by Vikas Kumar, is a determined investigator who is out to bust the drug ring. His love storey with partner Ajay Kumar (Nishank Verma), on the other hand, appears to be an afterthought.
Jayant Kripalani as Zorawar, Ankur Bhatia as Sangram Rathore, Akash Khurana as Udayveer Shekhawat, Vishwajeet Pradhan as Sekhawat’s main henchman, Sampat, and Sikander Kher as Daulat round out the cast.
Overall, by the end of the eighth episode, you’ll be eager to see what else Aarya has in store for her, only to learn that you’ll have to wait until the next season to find out. Sushmita’s performance and the climactic scene are two of the show’s highlights, both of which are well worth watching.