BY SUMAIYA SHEIKH
Director Prakash Jha has made his digital debut with Bobby Deol starrer Aashram. The nine-episode series is a story of a corrupt godman aka Baba Nirala (Bobby Deol) who holds a cult following with millions of devotees just like any other real-life baba we see on our TV sets. The show starts and you see Aditi Pohankar as Pammi trying to escape from the hostel of the Aashram. Now the whole story runs in a flashback of what drove her to take this decision. There are some parallel plots running in the entire series all of which links to baba and his Ashram.
The story is written by Habib Faisal, Kuldeep Ruhil, Sanjay Masoom, Tejpal Singh Rawat, Avinash Kumar, and Madhvi Bhatt. It is a typical Prakash Jha creation with a lot of twists and turns. While the writing is strong, there are still some loopholes that need to be patched.
Director Prakash Jha tried to cover up the lazy writing with his big canvas direction. Although this couldn’t help to impress much. Each episode could have ended in 20-25 minutes but lenghty shots and long dialogues stretch it to almost an hour which makes it boring.
Bobby Deol as Nirala Baba tried really hard to pull the show on his shoulders but failed miserably. Either he was the wrong choice for this character or this is how he acts, everything is messy as this show is. Anupriya Goenka as Dr. Natasha was decent in her part. Special mention for Aaditi Pohankar aka Pammi as she was excellent in her part and her performance was commendable in the show. Tushar Pandey was remarkable, he was very believable with his character. Darshan Kumaar, Vikram Kochhar, and Chandan Roy Sanyal delivered good performances. Undoubtedly, Tridha Choudhury is a brilliant actor but she became the victim of poor writing.
Prakash Jha has made a whole salad with elements like politics, caste, religion, religious brainwashing, law, the land mafia, sexism, sexual harassment, fascism, drugs, etc. It feels we have too many options to eat but we are suffering from food poisoning.
Aashram offers nothing new, we have seen such cases in the past years. Our news channels have already made this so sensational that everything on the topic just looks unconventional. We also get to see a sneak peek of the second season at the end of the last episode. We hope the makers will tie all the scattered plots that seem like left midway.