Director: Oni Sen
Cast: Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Anupria Goenka, Ridhi Dogra, Meiyang Chang, Abhishek Chauhan, Amey Wagh, Gaurav Arora, Adithi KS
Where: Streaming now on Jio Cinema
Rating: 3.5 stars
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, 'Asur' became a show that largely kept us engaged while we remained confined and glued to our couches. Blending Indian mythology and forensic science together, we saw a legit combination of themes that no other Indian show had managed to pull off earlier. That it drew the most commendable performances from its ensemble cast, led by Arshad Warsi and Barun Sobti, enabled 'Asur' to emerge as a lockdown hit. Does 'Asur 2' manage to live upto the precedent set by its predecessor? Let's gauge.
The show commences from where the prequel ended. Dr. Dhananjay Rajpoot or DJ (Warsi) is dealing with regret and seeks refuge at a monastery to come to terms with his shortcomings and his inability to save his wife and his friend Lolark Dubey (Sharib Hashmi in the previous season) from Asur's atrocities. Meanwhile, Nikhil Nair (Sobti) is contemplating suicide, having lost his daughter to Asur's cruelty as well, while his relationship with his wife Naina (Anupria Goenka) has hit rock-bottom. On the other hand, Asur or Shubh Joshi (Abhishek Chauhan)'s pursuit of supremacy is relentless and goes a notch above. He is willing to go to any lengths to fulfill his vision of global domination, come what may. Will Rajpoot and Nair forget their ideological differences and rise above their adversities to take Shubh down?
A still from Asur 2
Written by creator Gaurav Shukla and aided by Abhijeet Khuman, Niren Bhatt and Pranay Patwardhan, the 8-part series, directed by Oni Sen, maintains its inspiration from Indian mythology and forensic science, but this time it also weaves in artificial intelligence into the plot. Which makes the sequel a lot more interesting, given life and times in this digital age. It is effectively communicated how our greed and our need to control will eventually become the cause of our downfall as a generation. While the pacing in the first two episodes does take a while to establish the premise, it duly engages us with wanting to unearth and understand the motives and the reasons that compel Shubh to do what he does. In season 1, we saw how Shubh mercilessly killed his own father. In season 2, he reveals much more than what meets the eye.
Much of the superbly written material by the makers work because it is enabled by a fine ensemble of solid actors. Warsi as Dr. Rajpoot means business. While the earlier season showed a more sensitive side of him, he is unabashed in the new season, which reflects Rajpoot's pain and angst. Sobti is consistent as Nikhil, who must walk the fine line between dealing with the challenges at his job and his inconsistent mental, emotional state. The actor displays vulnerability beautifully. Goenka maintains grace and calm as Naina, even in the most tense situations. Ridhi Dogra as CBI agent Nusrat Saeed and Meiyang Chang as ATF Chief Paul Shangpliang are affirmative and humane, in equal measure. But, it's to the credit of Abhishek Chauhan who makes Shubh Joshi, an arresting character. You despise his actions and his reasoning, but you remain glued till the last minute, wanting to know what would happen to him. A brief mention for young actors Vesesh Bansal and Atharva Vishwakarma who hold your attention as young Shubh and Anant, respectively. Amey Wagh as Rasool Sheikh, Gaurav Arora as Kesar Bhardwaj and Adithi KS as Ishani Chaudhary add further heft with their brief screen-time.
A still from Asur 2
Leaving aside it's worrying length, 'Asur 2' is worth the long wait and certainly watchable, by all means. The first two episodes are now streaming on JioCinema and consecutive episodes will follow on a daily basis.
Without revealing further, let me tell you that the show does end with the promise of a season 3. Enough a reason for you to hit play, right away.