Cast: Bobby Deol, Aaditi Pohankar, Darshan Kumaar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Vikram Kochhar, Tridha Choudhury, Anupriya Goenka, Tushar Pandey
Creator: Prakash Jha
Star Rating: 2/5 stars
Aashram Review (MX Player): What Is It About?
If you’ve been aware of what’s happening around you at any point during your life, you must be knowing about the age-old ‘Ashram’ scam. This topic has been a daily-soap for most of the news channels because when they don’t have a murderer to find, they start talking about them. Aashram revolves around the life of one such (not so) saint Baba Nirala (Bobby Deol).
It starts with Pammi (Aaditi Pohankar) escaping from what seems to be a ‘safe’ place for the girls from the Aashram. The whole story then is explained in a flashback of what drove her to take this decision. We see, Pammi is a lower-cast wrestler and has been a victim of constant casteism. Baba Nirala helps her for his own good becoming a messiah just like he’s to his lacs of other devotees. Amid a whole lot of brainwashing, we see how the life of Pammi and people around her changes with the entry of Baba Nirala.
Aashram Review (MX Player): What’s Good & Bad?
I guess I’ll have to watch the show again to decide what was good about it. Because, now when I think about it, all I remember is how I’ve sacrificed nine precious hours of my life of which I could’ve done nothing and still be more satisfied. Jokes apart, the show has not many things going in its favour apart from few decent performances. The moment you hope it gets better, it does get better at sloping downward.
The ‘inside world’ of Aashram manages to fascinate you for a while, but that’s about it – just like the people trapped in there, even you don’t want to be there for a long time (luckily, you can get out in 9 hours even if you’re obliged to do your job). Full marks for the one who has penned the subtitles for the show for translating the term ‘Chalakti Jawani’ to ‘Dazed and Desperate’ (Alright, alright, alright!).
Writers (Madhvi Bhatt, Avinash Kumar, Sanjay Masoomm, Tejpal Singh Rawat and Kuldeep Ruhil) never get the ‘motives’ right with any of their characters. This results in very lousy twists and turns which you can see coming a mile away. The makers pack 20 minutes worth of content into the 45 minutes of episodes. One of the primary reasons why the show come across as a caricature is also because of the potential it had.
In the recent flood of OTT shows, many of them fail because they promise too much with the premise of delivering nothing but mediocrity wrapped in a shining paper. Also, I was unable to decide what’s more loud – the background score or Bobby Deol’s silence between the dialogues.
So, the writers use a foreigner to honey-trap a certain someone in the show. She agrees to know a bit of Hindi because of Indian friends and in her next dialogue, she says, “Main tumse bahut prabhavit hui hoon!” Sir Prakash Jha, why you do this? The “Impossible is I Am Possible” dialogue was used in 2007 by Emraan Hashmi in Good Boy, Bad Boy and we all have got it from our uncles on Whatsapp. Why such lazy dialogues?
The worst part is, they don’t even end the show on a high and instead show you the trailer of the upcoming season. I appreciate the guts, but if they think I’ll watch the second season after this, they’re probably right because I still want to retain my job to not end up in an Aashram as shown in the show.
Aashram Review (MX Player): Star Performances:
Bobby Deol sleepwalks! Apart from some genuine efforts invested in getting his look right, he still acts like he has walked in straight from Class Of 83 with the additional beard. If you watch both Class Of 83 and Aashram back to back… sorry I thought I’ll end this line with a joke, but that’s impossible because no one can do that.
The show gets good support from its supporting cast including very good performances by Darshan Kumaar, Vikram Kochhar and Chandan Roy Sanyal. All three of them control their characters very well and never drop anything despite being amid the mess. Aaditi Pohankar was brilliant in She, but here she’s a victim of poor character writing. Makers just couldn’t get the most out of her leaving her role half-baked.
Rest of the two significant ladies Tridha Choudhury and Anupriya Goenka are just about okay. Also because of, not getting much to do. Tushar Pandey is remarkable, and his character is the only one which gets a proper arc by the end. Adhyayan Suman is rightly named after a very famous singer as Tinka Singh because his acting style is actually ‘Tin’ Ka.
Aashram Review (MX Player): Last Words:
All said and done, don’t spend any of your time in this Aashram. Not because it’s awful, but because we’ve almost seen and known everything about conmen disguising as godmen. This could’ve been so much better, but ultimately remains an underwhelming attempt at depicting the brutal reality.