Aashram season 3 review

Aashram season 3 review: Aashram season 3 review: The performances of Bobby Deol and Chandan Roy Sanyal are the only bright aspects in this otherwise dull and formulaic show that reminds one of all the bad 90s action films.

Aashram follows the exploits of Baba Nirala (Bobby Deol), a godman/conman who has built a political/criminal empire in the guise of a spiritual enterprise. It takes off from the last season when one of his disciples Pammi (Aaditi Pohankar) escaped his clutches after being sexually abused by him and is now out for revenge. In the background is a multitude of characters and plot lines about Baba’s lust for power and women and the changing political fortunes of the state where his ashram is.

Aashram is built on a solid idea. Internationally, shows about fraud godmen and their cults have been critically acclaimed and well received by the audience. But Aashram lacks the finesse of something like Waco, True Detective season 1, or even Orphan Black. It does not believe in the art of subtlety. The drama is magnified, the music is loud (more on that later), and the performances are over the top. There is no nudity or vulgarity but at times the show tends to titillate.

Aashram season 3 review: Bobby Deol’s’ show offers ten episodes of tedium

 The tone feels like that of a 90s crime drama at times and not one of the good Abbas-Mustan ones, but the corny Rajiv Rai ones with continuity errors. 

My biggest issue with Aashram is how it treats its women. It is said that the show has come from Prakash Jha, the man who gave a strong female cop in Jai Gangaajal. But Aashram adopts a piercing male gaze when it comes to the depiction of its women, even those in the position of power. It brings in Esha Gupta, who plays an internationally-renowned publicist and brand consultant. Aashram chooses to introduce her with a seductive dance sequence. Some might say there was a need for that sequence in the plot but what it essentially does is reduce a successful, powerful female character to an object of sexual interest, dancing for a more powerful male character.

‘Aashram’ season 3 review: Baba Nirala returns, soaring and slumping

The show is clear that while Baba Nirala is the central character, he is not a good guy. It does not depict him in a sympathetic light but that crass tone negates that. Each of the charlatan’s exploit is presented with some added cinematic masala making it ‘enjoyable’. What that does is it turns the baba and his henchmen into some sort of anti-heroes. You know they are evil but you subconsciously root for them. The people they swindle, torture, and kill do not get the sympathy they should. They, instead, come across as bumbling and naïve fools. And since you don’t feel sorry for them, you do not feel the rage you should towards the baba.

Bobby Deol is the fulcrum of the show and he delivers the performance of a lifetime. He is believable as the cunning yet charming 

Aashram Season 3 Review: I Don’t Think This Bobby Deol Show Is Targeting Hindus, It’s Targeting All Humanity At Once!

a charlatan and brings to the fore a creepiness that was required for the role. Supporting him splendidly in the acting department is Chandan Roy Sanyal as Bhopa Singh, the Baba’s trusted lieutenant. Chandan’s performance breathes life into the narrative. But the show does a disservice to the talents of Anupriya Goenka and Darshan Kumaar. As the doctor and upright cop on a crusade against the ashram, their screen time is much reduced as compared to previous seasons, giving their characters very little room to grow. The characters have become caricatures of themselves. I realized just how unfair the script is to them when I figured that the plot would not have changed much had the two not even been in it this season. Esha Gupta looks good as Sonia but the show under-utilizes her. 

Aashram 3 Review: Bobby Deol’s Baba Nirala Loses Charm In Journey of Becoming ‘Bhagwaan’

Despite being pitched as a thriller, the narrative moves at a snail’s pace. Episodes drag by and characters are stuck in the same situations and same dilemmas. The same cat-and-mouse game is repackaged and reproduced every 30 minutes or so. And it does not work as a slow burn too. Despite having so many intriguing plot lines, Aashram dulls them to such an extent that it tends to get boring. And the atrociously random background score does not help either.

Aashram tries hard to be a smart show but it fails because it isn’t smartly written. The show takes a concept and incidents from the real world and sets them in some make-believe world where things are exaggerated and fake. The depiction of judicial and investigative processes is so amateur that it becomes laughable. The realism is missing, which wasn’t the case when it began two years ago. The realism is what made Aashram successful in the first place in seasons one and two. Season 3 ends with a teaser for the fourth season, which means the show shall go on. But for its own sake, I do hope that it either gets back on track or ends before it is reduced to a shadow of itself. Ashram’s third season begins streaming on MX Player on June 3.

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Aashram Season 3 · Release Date 3 June 2022 · Language Hindi · Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller · Director Prakash Jha · Producer Prakash Jha · Music Director Advait 

Release Date: 3 June 2022

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

 Rating: 3.8 · ‎29 votes 

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