‘Aarya’ Season 3 series review: Despite Sushmita Sen’s gutsy turn and goodwill, the action runs out of steam

In Ram Madhvani’s series, where the illegal opium trade is at the centre of the conflict, the drama has ceased to hit the crests consistently

November 04, 2023 03:47 pm | Updated 04:56 pm IST

Sushmita Sen in ‘Aarya’ Season 3

Sushmita Sen in ‘Aarya’ Season 3

Late into the third season of Aarya when ACP Khan (Vikas Kumar) tells Maya (Maya Sarao) that one should not sacrifice one’s future for friendship, the artist friend of Aarya (Sushmita Sen) asks the persevering police officer if he is not tired of repeating the same thing. Perhaps, she is speaking on behalf of a section of the audience, for the crime series that took us by surprise with its explosive premise and stylish treatment when the first season made it to our living rooms in 2020 has fallen into a rut now.

Built on tender moments and Sushmita’s eye-catching turn, the Ram Madhvani series ably celebrated the tenacity of a woman wronged by people she thought were her own. A winsome combination of action and emotion, it emerged as one of the few adaptations of foreign material that didn’t feel like a phony imitation.

The second season where Aarya bared her claws to hunt down her opponents was even more combustive but now things have fallen into a predictable pattern and it seems the makers are taking the goodwill for granted. A series where illegal opium trade is at the centre of the conflict, the drama has ceased to hit the crests consistently.

Aarya Season 3 (Hindi)
Director: Ram Madhvani
Cast: Sushmita Sen, Vikas Kumar, Ila Arun, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Sikandar Kher
Episodes: 4 out of 8
Run-time: 35-45 minutes
Storyline: In the third season, Aarya consolidates her shaky empire and confronts new enemies

Apart from startling us by bumping off characters that we begin to care for, the makers take us on a ride in the same old concentric circles where only the faces of the evil have changed. Aarya’s children are refusing to grow up even as their mother is getting sucked into a world of crime and deceit. The subplots refuse to bring us to the edge and the tension doesn’t get to our nerves. They are like the raids conducted by Khan on Aarya’s business interests that look earnest in purpose but don’t deliver the results. The Russians who seemed ominous in the previous season appear pretty innocuous. So does Sampat (Vishwajeet Pradhan), the new man Friday of Aarya after Daulat (Sikander Kher) is given a break by Aarya.

This time, Ram has introduced Indraneil Sengupta as Sooraj, the good man who is forced to shut out morality to avenge the death of his wife at the hands of Aarya and Maya in the previous season. Then there is good old Ila Arun. Cast as the head of a drug cartel, she gives competition to Aarya in eliminating those who dare to go against her interests. However, unlike Manish Chaudhari, Jayant Kriplani, and Akash Khurana, they cannot stand up to the towering presence of Sushmita who hardly looks under threat this time as the emotional tapestry is not intricate enough and the bullets purposefully miss the target.

Sushmita continues to hold the series together with her remarkable portrayal of a strong woman driven by grace and guts. Perhaps close to her real self, she continues to echo the spirit of Aarya despite flaws creeping into writing. Her dexterity in playing fire and ice with elan remains the reason that one will still look forward to the remaining four episodes of the season.

Four episodes of Aarya Season 3 are streaming on Disney+Hotstar

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