AARYA – All hail the queen!

In all these years of her real and reel life, we have admired Sushmita Sen for many things – her beauty, her personality, her life choices etc. but she has never been considered a top lister as far acting was considered. So thank you Ram Madhvani, for bringing her back and reminding us of her prowess.

Sushmita Sen was made for this. The opening scene of her aerial work out perfectly summarises her entire journey as Arya.  It’s a test of her strength when her world turns upside down. It is also refreshing how Chandrachur’s character Tej defies the clichés of a drug lord. Sadly we don’t see much of him. Even more sadly we do listen to his favourite song ‘Bade acche lagte hain’ way too may times.

There are a dozen characters to keep a tab on, and each of them has a progression that goes from weird to weirder, some of which is easily avoidable. Why introduce so many dimensions to every character when there is no time to pursue their stories. As a result, you don’t feel connected or empathetic towards any of them, except Arya herself. It is Sushmita Sen’s powerful presence that holds you through the loose ends of the script

Aarya ticks the checklist of murders, blackmail, betrayal, revenge etc. but for a crime thriller, there is too much melodrama in between. The series rises to these moments of heightened tension but then stays there too long and kills the pace and the mood.

The whole premise of so much bloodshed over a piece of pen drive feels very 90s, but given the number of subplots, there is always something to keep you interested. The story is supposedly set in Rajasthan, but only a few characters and locations remind you of that. It doesn’t bother to leverage the flavour of its location, probably that is too much to ask for.

Aarya makes up for much of its failures with its brilliant cast. Chandrachur Singh, Jayant Kriplani. Namit Das, Manish Chaudhary, Sikander Kher, Maya Sarao and the three kids, all of them do complete justice to their parts.

We know there is a season 2.  I just hope it comes with tighter editing and a li’l more focussed storytelling.

3/5 Cutting Rating

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