Hotstar doesn't have the predilection to churn out original content with the same voracity as rival Indian OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, AltBalji and MXPlayer. Perhaps that's why when it does, the product exudes quality more often than not. Just look at their recent lineup, which reads special Ops, City of Dreams and Criminal Justice. And they streaming service maintains their enviable recent record with another binge-worthy web series, Aarya. Almost mirroring, the digital platform's path is the lead star of Aarya, Sushmita Sen, who makes a stunning comeback on screen after a gap of five years (her last release was the Bengali film, Nirbaak) — ten years if you only count Hindi releases, with the extremely problematic No Problem (of all movies) being her last Bollywood film.
Scroll below to read my full Aarya review...
What's it about
Aarya revolves around a mafia family, which deals in opium-tinctured medicines, and their drug rivals, whom they rub the wrong way by trying to meddle with their more deadly-narcotics business. How this scenario forces our eponymous star to forgo her life of a homemaker and assume the responsibility as the matriarch of her family's criminal empire, while also trying to uncover a dark secret forms the rest of the plot. What's hot
Aarya is carried with poise, power, pith, might, merit, beauty and brilliance by
Sushmita Sen. It's not that the supporting cast isn't good, but she's so, so, so good that the best which everybody else beings to the table is completely overshadowed by her — we dearly missed you, Sush,thanks for the grand return. Thankfully, Flora Saini, Namit Das, Sikandar Kher, Manish Choudhary and Vikas Kumar back her up with their A-game. In fact, Flora Saini is particularly convincing in her part. Also bringing his A-game to the table is writer, Director and creator Ram Madhvani, who had earlier made the phenomenal Neerja.
Madhvani has adapted Aarya from the Dutch show, Penoza, but having not seen that show, I can only base my judgement on what I've witnessed here, and the evidence on display is seriously good. It also helps that Madhvani's creative efforts are backed strongly by the technical departments, among which the production design, camerawork and background score shine the most. And speaking about comebacks, Chandrachur Singh's return also makes us wonder why he had disappeared all these years.
If Aarya suffers quite a bit from something, its the editing by Khushboo Agarwal Raj, Abhimanyu Chaudhary and Satyajeet Kelkar. It could've easily been two or even three episodes less, minus several portions in the first four to five episodes that lag and stretch and don't add much value to the narrative.
Notwithstanding a few moments in the initial episodes that drag, Aarya is a gripping crime web series, with an undercurrent of mystery, that's sure to satiate your appetite for binge-watching. Most of all though it reminds us how dearly we've wished watching Sushmita Sen on screen. I'm going with 3.5/5 stars.
3.5 out of 5
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