Sushmita Sen, Chandrachur Singh, Sikander Kher, Namit Das, Vikas Kumar, Alexx O'Nell, Maya Sarao and others.
Streaming on Disney + Hotstar
Ram Madhvani, Sandeep Modi, Vinod Rawat
In the very beginning of Sushmita Sen’s Aarya, (in fact the very first scene) you see Sen (Aarya) doing some aerial exercises, you realise that soon the time has come where this strength will be sorely tested. Married to Tej (Chandrachur Singh) Aarya lives richly in North India. Enjoying the luxuries her status brings her and the love of her kids. The convoluted dynamics between her father, mother and her father’s girlfriend doesn’t bother her. She is an expert in handling situations and rolling with thing when needed.
Her first setback comes in the form of her youngest, Adi. The child tired of being bullied in class, sneaks his father’s gun to school and trains it at his bully. Subsequently the kid gets expelled and pushes the parents into a conversation they seemingly have been brushing under the carpet.
Tej heads a pharmaceutical company, Aaryasattava but the pharma co. is a mere face to an opium racket he takes care of, on behalf of Aarya’s father Zorawar (Jayant Kriplani) alongside, brother in law Sangram (Ankur Bhatia). Aarya wants Tej to leave the job and make a new life. With the kids coming so close to a gun, her determination doubles. Tej gives in but getting a new life would mean leaving everything behind, especially the pharmaceutical company and its illegal ways. The only way forward is by becoming a police informer.
While Tej is getting his plan into action, things go badly awry. Sangram is arrested, a family friend Jawahar (Namit Das) threatens to kill Tej for not falling in line with their nefarious plans. With Aarya having no clue as to how things are at the work front, Tej thinks it is best to cut short the wait and go to the police with all the details. Before Tej could sit in his car, the man in murdered in broad day light with only his little son Adi as a witness.
Aarya isn’t allowed time to weep over her loss, she is suddenly pushed in corners by everyone. ACP Khan (Vikas Kumar) insists, Aarya owes him a pendrive with all details about the illegal dealings of Aaryasattava. A random man accosting her for Rs. 2Crs. While the kids and Aarya are mourning Tej, they suddenly don’t really know what the man was all about. Lost and confused, Aarya comes face to face with Shekhawat (Manish Chaudhary) who informs her that her husband’s 300Cr debt will have to be now paid by her.
How Aarya manages to find out the truth, how she manages to safeguard her children is what makes Aarya a thriller to watch out for. That and of course, Sushmita Sen. The lady is so graceful and poised throughout the series that you look forward to seeing her come out of indignity with her serenity intact. Except for one break down scene which goes flat, Sushmita Sen aces the series. Each and every member of the cast, helps make this series better than one would have imagined it to be. Ram Madhvani is excellent when it comes to dealing with relationships. He almost always nuances his stories with small details that makes it so much more than regular. ACP Khan’s sexuality, Aarya’s daughter Aru’s conflict with her mother, Adi’s trauma post witnessing his father’s death, it all amounts to enriching the script beyond its thriller quotient. It is the human quotient that makes you like the series. The use of old Bollywood numbers that work absolutely in contrast with the situations, are a masterstroke.
Inspired by the Dutch series Penoza, Aarya manages to convert the story into an Indian tale very well. The choice of location (North India) with its grand heritage, the mix of cultures not only between the old princely palaces and Delhi rush hours but between the west and the east, the good and the bad, and the choice of choosing the lesser evil makes Aarya a scrumptious meal while you sit locked down in your homes.