Sushmita Sen reprises her role as Aarya Sareen in the second season of Disney+ Hotstar’s crime drama Aarya.
Aarya’s season two, Ram Madhvani’s second release in two months, tests your patience in more ways than one. A number of factors weigh down this criminal drama, from the bad performances of the supporting characters to the conveniently changing moralities. However, there are some positive aspects to this show, such as Sushmita Sen’s continued perfect fit as the urban mom with a lot of problems, and the brilliant final episode, which comes so close to the craziness of Breaking Bad that you almost want to call Madhvani and ask him why the rest of it couldn’t have been like this.
Instead, we’re given more of the same, sometimes literally, as we were in season one. In the new season, Aarya Sareen (Sushmita) and her family have returned to India (or rather, been dragged back) from witness protection. She’ll have to testify against her husband’s murders, which include her father, who suffers from Raja Dashrath syndrome, her craziest brother, and a newcomer: a cuddly drug kingpin. However, the nasty drag-back and blackmail alienates her from the police and the judiciary, forcing a last-minute adjustment in her plans.
The switch-up causes additional upheaval in her life, and I’m still trying to figure out if that was a really slick piece of writing (that my foolish brain couldn’t comprehend) or a very lazy piece of writing. The turmoil is similar to that which you saw in season one. To be honest, Aarya has to navigate her way among lying, backstabbing family members, neighbourhood drug lords, and cruel Russians who are docile and pleasant. There are still some untrustworthy friends, a daughter who needs a therapy (like yesterday), and a son who is tortured by the spirits of his father’s killer amid all of this. The same tone is maintained for seven episodes before shifting into a new gear in the final episode.
This is where Ram Madhvani truly kicks things up a notch by allowing Aarya to take on a new identity. A botched kidnapping, a nefarious ‘hack’ job, and a complete lack of remorse for all of it finally drag Aarya out of the good mommy zone and into the wonderful grime of the anti-hero (ine). It’s the one episode that almost convinces you that you’ve just finished a fantastic season. However, you must not be taken in by deception. It was just one wonderful episode, preceded by cheesy tropes that no good writer-director would allow near his love project.