Let me tell you a simple recipe to make a blockbuster web-series in India. You need to have a fading actor in the role of the protagonist. Add many gaalis here and there. Make the audience believe that the rich people in India cannot complete a full sentence without using the ‘F’ word. Have at least one tense sequence where a child is playing with a real gun (My goodness! It has really become clichéd now! Don’t they understand yet?) Now add at least one character from the LGBT community. Add enough unnecessary steamy scenes to keep the audience craving for more. Add at least one spicy extra-marital affair. To make a pot boiler, you can even add many. Now add all these to a plot which could otherwise be told in a couple of hours. You now have a web-series with eight or more episodes with a runtime over six or seven hours. Aarya , the latest offering from Ram Madhvani , the director of Neerja is no exception. Only thing is that the oomph factor of its protagonist is its real asset which keeps the show going for the whole nine episodes.
Aarya is a crime thriller set in the contemporary Rajasthan. This is a one woman show of Sushmita Sen who for the first time gets a real opportunity to act. Does she act well? Mmmm, she cannot act and you cannot deny this truth. This is a fact and ‘Aaarya’ is no exception. She tries too hard to prove a point with this offering though unlike her earlier ventures where she had miserably failed without even trying. At times, her earnest desire to act becomes evident and that is not a good sign for someone who has spent almost twenty five years in the industry from the day of ‘Dastak’. The plasticity of her expressions is at times irritable. However, her natural charm cannot be denied and this is what keeps the web-series alive to certain extent. Her smile, her confident body language when she is not talking, her mannerisms everything add so much of joy to the title role she plays. The show rests on her not so narrow shoulders and she does a brilliant job to carry it even without displaying much acting skills. Of all the other characters, only Chandrachur Singh shines in a brief yet adorable role. And trust me all other characters are simply unbearable. The father, his kept, the mother, the cop, the girl, the firangi, the brother, the bodyguard, and the girlfriend everyone is so irritating that you get pissed off. I don’t simply know why I simply loathed even the looks of the characters. The mother remains absent throughput the movie and she makes sudden appearances with her vodka and cigarettes only to add to your irritation. I still don’t have an iota of idea why there was the role of the kept played by someone named Flora Saini. Too add some spices? Maybe. What was the reason to show that scene where she is being laid by the old man? Only the director knows. The dialogues at times are so weak that they become funny. I mean the uncle is asking a 16 year old kid to use a condom. Just absurd! Did they start the work with a notion that rich people mean drugs, sex, F words and perversions? The elder son’s girlfriend is so disturbingly irritating that I wish she never appears on screen again. What was the casting director doing? How could the choices go so much wrong? I mean whole nine episodes without a single lovable character apart from the protagonist? The ACP was always over the top and not for a single moment looked like a genuine officer. The least we talk about other characters, the better it is for your mental health. A good director would have pruned half of the characters and made it a show with a runtime of around three hours instead of its soporific eight long hours.
Again I am telling you, I just watched it till the end because of Miss Sen’s unending charm. Had it been someone else, I would not have watched even two episodes. Oh, did I forget to mention that the cinematography was brilliant. The use of songs was cartoonish though. Grow up, guys.
Overall rating- 5.5 out of 10 out of which 5 is for Sush.
Available on – Disney Hotstar