Asur: Web Series Review
The concepts that lay down the foundations of Asur are intriguing. We’ve had productions based around science, mythology, crime, etc. but not many have translated a combination of science and mythology into a story with the creative novelty that Asur has – by presenting it in the form of a crime thriller that manages to keep you on your tenterhooks at all times.
Asur touches upon several themes deeply rooted within Indian mythologies by delving into the different ways they can be interpreted and understood. Common perceptions of asuras (demons), devas (gods), the social structure and conflict between them, virtues and vices, justice and injustice, moral flexibilities, karma, etc. are all put under scrutiny in a way or another.
The performances are strong and credible. As a CBI official who has to face his worst fears when the past comes knocking yet continue to remain steadfast while solving the case at hand, Arshad Warsi’s portrayal of Dhananjay Rajpoot is raw and convincing. Barun Sobti, on the other hand, shines as Nikhil Nair, the leading forensic-expert-turned-teacher, who is unable to find happiness in his new life and finds himself forced to return to the CBI in Delhi in the wake of strangely connected serial killings.
The two dominant ladies, Ridhi Dogra as Nusrat, another CBI official and Nikhil’s old flame, and Anupriya Goenka as Nikhil’s wife Naina, deliver strong performances in the limited spaces provided to them. The tension evident in Naina and Nikhil’s marriage is depicted well.
The serial killer is an interesting character, sketched out as a metaphorical asur, much of it as a consequence of his father’s mistreatment, his own religious interpretations, his sense of justice, and his personal beliefs about his own destiny. His self-aggrandized persona as he labels himself Kali, the source of chaos, immorality, evil, and sin, bring you closer towards understanding his psyche, motivations, and actions. He’s not a religious fanatic killing to protect his dharma, he’s a fanatic who wants people to fall victim to adharma, sin, and violence, bringing about an apocalyptic Armageddon-style battle with his archenemy, Kalki, Vishnu’s tenth avatar.
The storyline keeps you on your tenterhooks from the get-go. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat from the first episode itself, with twists that you may not foresee. It’s dark, gruesome, and presents a fascinating blend of forensic science and mythology – though only in the sense of being creative with its murders. While it’s difficult for a common viewer to judge the veracity of the science in the show, the plot becomes intriguing as it flirts with mythological themes.
Other than science and religion, the show also touches upon love, marriage, motivations, consequences of actions, guilt, and psychology, with hints towards religion-based movements and influence of beliefs (which, we might get to see more of, in a possible future season).
“Voot Select’s Asur, starring Arshad Warsi and Barun Sobti, follows two forensic experts caught in a cat-and-mouse game with a serial killer who kills for his beliefs. Does it deliver on its promise to be an ‘edge-of-your-seats’ thriller? Find out in this review.”
While the show presents its non-linear form without chaos, the storyline does get scattered as it goes ahead. It starts off on a high-note but you begin to require a greater suspension of disbelief as it moves on. The coffin trap scene is a tragically hilarious attempt at a twist, reminding us of the typical fantasy dramas on television.
Some of the decisions made by the characters cannot be chalked down to logical human thought process boundaries, neither emotionally nor rationally. The series ends up leaving a lot of questions unanswered. There’s a lot that the series merely touches upon, but does not explore.
The pace of the narrative oscillates quite frequently, as it switches from a fast-paced crime thriller, to a slow-burn inverted detective mystery, to a story that is trying to grapple at too many thematic straws, before switching back. The supporting characters, especially Ridhi Dogra’s Nusrat, deserved more depth in terms of development, story, and characterization. However, despite its pacing issues, underutilized cast, unanswered questions, and the like, it still manages to retain its position as a watchable thriller.
Strong performances and a novel, intriguing, and exciting concept make Asur a watchable thriller.
Also Read: Tanhaiyan : Web Series Review