Aarya is a crime-thriller drama based on the Dutch drama series ‘Penoza‘. Sushmita Sen plays Aarya Sareen, an independent woman who seeks to protect her family and becomes a mafia gang to take revenge for her husband’s murder. Earlier, the show has been nominated for International Emmy Awards for best Drama series.
Having said so, the first thing that comes to my mind is about the producers / platform’s release strategy. They seem to be caught between being periodic or one-timer. I mean, most of the (Indian) web series that we see are released in one go (called a season). Fair enough, for, if the audience likes the content, they binge watch and feel satisfied. On the other hand there are these TV shows that release episodes on a daily/weekly basis. Similarly, we have seen quite a few international web series content release their episodes on a weekly basis. This probably helps the platform in getting visitors on a regular basis for quality content who also stumble upon something new every time they visit.
Here, and the likes, the platform has released a limited part of the season – Aarya Season 3 (part 1)! The problem is, if the content is good then the wait is killing and if the content is not so compelling than who cares ‘remembering a web show’!
Aarya Season 3 is all about Sushmita Sen and her central character, a driven ‘working mother’, and successor of a sprawling narcotics empire, and her battles to safeguard her children on the tough turf. In Season 3, Aarya is totally unabashed and ruling the game life once played with her, chasing her old and new enemies. Though she strengthens her alliance with the Russian cartel, yet she is cobbed in a world of family dynamics, a dangerous business, vengeance from the past and newer enemies.
Set in a universe where morality is fickle and betrayal a cherished value, Aarya tries to retain its captivating intrigue and texture. But destiny has something else in store for Aarya. She and her children once again get sucked into the plot of her siblings, friends, rivals and of course the Russian mafia. Watching such a story makes me feel caught in a catch 22 situation, literally! You see, whenever we get involved in some sort of drama, we tend to take sides. Here (or in similar content), we tend to take Sushmita Sen / Aarya’s side knowing pretty well that Aarya too is also a wrong doer!! She has to settle her scores, for that she has to transport a thousand crore worth of contraband and she will do whatever it takes to get it done. This is the only part in the plot that provides some thrill in knowing – what next, will she, can she, how?
In between the mercurial tensions, Ram Madhvani tugs the heartstrings with few sharp and meaningful dialogues in this tale of greed where redemption is not easy. The underlying theme of ‘my family is my strength and weakness too’ is not novel, but the way Ram Madhvani has mounted the series, one tends to remain invested till the end of each episode.
Sushmita Sen brings a certain grace to Aarya (she did so in her previous author backed role in ‘Taali’ too) which she doesn’t shed even when she is pushed to the wall. More than anything else, it is this kindness and elegance that unsettles her enemies and wins over the audience. Apparently there is negligible content showcasing a female ganglord and Sushmita Sen does display the tigress in her forced to hunt down her enemies to save her family.
Sen brings in her gravitas, polished demeanour, and emphatic voice modulation to own a larger-than-life heroic character; displaying a range of emotions, she embodies the fears, the moral dilemmas, and the courage.
Overall, watching Aarya is more so watching Sushmita Sen in this drug lord Avatar in a twisted tale of bad versus badder.
Web Series: Aarya Season (part 1)
Based on: Dutch drama series ‘Penoza’
Director(s): Ram Madhvani, Sandeep Modi, Vinod Rawat
Cast: Sushmita Sen, Sikandar Kher, Indraneil Sengupta, Ila Arun, Vikas Kumar, Maya Sarao, Geetanjali Kulkarni.
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar
Episodes: 4 Episodes around 40 mins each