Ashram web series Review: Prakash Jha directorial is an alarm for those who misuse religion for their personal agenda

Bobby Deol’s Ashram will hit the OTT platform on 28th August. Directed by Prakash Jha, here is the review of the upcoming series. Have a look!

Web series – ASHRAM

DIRECTOR- PRAKASH JHA

STORY AND SCREENPLAY- MADHVI BHATT AND AVINASH KUMAR

CAST- BOBBY DEOL, ANUPRIYA GOENKA, AADITI POHANKAR, ADHYAYAN SUMAN, DARSHAN KUMAAR, TUSHAR PANDEY, TRIDHA CHOUDHARY, VIKRAM KOCHHAR

Rated: 3.5 out of 5 stars

In its attempt to produce a show on par with Netflix’s dramas, MX Player might have just subtly outdone itself. Ashram is a stunning achievement to potray the ‘not so good’ picture of people mishandling religion for their own sake. The beautiful yet brutally honest portrayal of caste division in society is delivered in full packged manner.

The very first scene opens with a young girl brutally hitting her hostel warden to flee, this creates doubts in the mind of viewers as the scene leaves a question mark yet thirst for freedom. The flashback ends and we are introduced to a wrestling match between two girls, one belonging from high class society and the other from Dalit section. The match creates a fuss as it clearly potrays the indifference and biasness towards the Dalit girl. Then comes a scene where the higher class society beats up a bunch of Dalit people for taking their ‘Baaraat’ from their colony. Jha has clearly shown how the lower class is always suppressed and looked down upon. We are then introduced to Babaji (Bobby Deol) who is not a ‘god man’ but a ‘conman’. He potrays a calm and composed guru who has a devoted set of disciples. Nirala is a popular and wealthy guru, helps the needy. But the Guru is no God. He too has his own share of nightmares. The flashbacks crawls up again and we are introduced to a disturbing scene here, the girl is brutally stabbed by 4 goons of Babaji and thrown in a jungle. The twist and turnover of events is what makes the series gripping and worth watching. The real face behind the mask of Babaji is a suspense to us as he is charged guilty for his deed. The mystery behind the dialogue, “Once you come to the ashram, you can never go back” is the one which needs to be decoded. The romance between a head constable and a doctor is the getaway from the world of Babaji for viewers to sit back and enjoy their chemistry. But the turnover of events without any signal is definitely eye catchy and builds up the interest.

Jha’s production has always examined with social and economic issues faced by small town people. Mrityudand(1997) dealt with gender violence, Apaharan (2005) dealt with kidnapping mafia of Bihar and Gangajaal(2016) to name a few. While Jha was one of the first mainstream filmmaker to take up social issues, Anurag Khasyap and Anubhav Sinha has made it trendy. Jha believes in telling stories with issues through which the main problem is correctly conveyed to the audience.

It’s an ambitious show, both in terms of narration and theme. The involvement of dirty politics is explored in the sub plot and the catch is beautifully potrayed in the series. The theme is strong and impactful, will leave the viewers to ponder for a while- where as a society have we have gone wrong? The color tone used throughout the series is subtle and apt for the topic. The cinematography should be specially appreciated, the close up shots are very strong and will give chills to the viewers.

A good series comes with a good cast and a power packed performance, Bobby Deol is the centre of attraction as he plays Babaji, but he is no Pankaj Tripathi. Having said that he is too good in the show and manages to wow the viewer in every scene. The show further shows how underrated an actor he is. Aditi Pohankar does an excellent job with the role of small town girl. Darshan Kumaar and Tushar Pandey do justice to their assigned role as well.

The concept of the series serves as neat metaphor for caste politics with an intense undercurrent of immorality. It’s a sure fire success for MX Player.

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