AASHRAM, India has beheld the power of spiritual gurus and ungodly godmen. While we have witnessed the shady dealings of these people, we have hardly had any conversation regarding the societal issues and factors that cause the rise of these godmen to prominence and popularity. We have had enough real-life cases of godmen exploiting people who trust them in the name of devotion.
Aashram by Prakash Jha is a vivid look at the society that paves the way for these tricksters to spread superstitions among people and build their ‘empire’. It explores the social practices that force people to believe these spiritual gurus and their tricks. Prakash Jha’s first full-fledged dive into web content is appealing due to its superbly woven storyline that highlights the social prejudices and how the cycle of suffering never ceases for the oppressed.
The show is straightforward with its presentation of casteism. It starts with some lower caste people getting beaten up. Then the plotlines follow a great maze of subplots, perfect schemes, shady figures and a lot of politics. Aashram is primarily about the faith of the masses where they blindly trust a godman and walk into obvious traps, unaware of the consequences. This generally happens when they lose trust in the governance system and those who are meant to protect them.
Incredible Performances of the Star Cast
All characters are perfectly grey as Prakash Jha explores the bits of one of the best storytelling in the Indian webspace. Bobby Deol made his mainstream comeback as the godman of the Aashram. His innocent but unsettling smile leaves the mark of a soul method actor. Chandan Roy playing the Baba’s trusted aid, hitman and trouble-shooter is a strong figure. Other strong performances by Aaditi Pohankar, Tridha Choudhury, Sachin Shroff, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Tushar Pandey, Anupriya Goenka and Vikram Kochchar etc. are a delight to watch.
Production and Direction
In the backdrop of a small city, to not let the immersion of a story fall apart is a brilliant directorial achievement by Prakash Jha. The way he stirs up audience attention to significant subplots is admirable and he does not leave a single plot string loose. The show is a real reflection of our society and the use of natural lightening and the police station sequence highlights that.
This nine-episode series has each episode roughly one hour long and achieves to give us satisfying ends to character arcs and sub-plots. With tense cliff-hangers, you’ll find it hard to not click on the next episode. The dialects used by the characters are on point and little bits of information being dropped in layers and at places where the sense of despair is perfectly covered, we have this riveting watch.
Nothing less than being totally binge-worthy, Prakash Jha’s Aashram is available for you to stream for free on MX Player. It deserves your dedicated attention and promises to leave you thinking.