The second season of the crime thriller web series, Aarya, focuses on the titular character’s return to the country and her attempts to fend off threats to her and her family coming from multiple directions.
Aarya (Sushmita Sen) is brought back to India to testify against the very same people she threw under the bus at the back end of the first season in exchange for her freedom and safety. She struggles to deal with the feelings of fear regarding her safety and the exhaustion from constantly looking over her shoulder and staying on the run.
Her children are dealing with their own issues, as ‘Aru’ (Virti Vaghani) goes through bouts of depression and even commits an attempted suicide following the loss of her father and the difficulty in getting through those feelings. Her youngest son, Adi (Pratyaksh Panwar), is also trying to process his feelings over what they’ve been through in the past.
Aarya’s family dynamic is in chaos with her brother Sangram (Ankur Bhatia) expecting his first child but still set in his freewheeling ways as he tries to orchestrate multiple shady deals out of greed which ultimately leads to his demise. Her father tries to show his affection for his daughter but it’s all in vain because of his actions.
Aarya’s mindset gradually shifts from reluctance to acceptance as she initially carries out tasks in the hopes that she can escape with her family but ultimately realizes that there is no point in running, and it would benefit her to rather take control of the situation instead.
A powerhouse performance by Sushmita Sen yet again lifts the season as her character showcases her acting range so many different faces depending on the circumstances ahead of her. She flexes her acting chops as she portrays vulnerability and defiance, sometimes in the space of a few moments.
The children truly shine bright in their performances with Virti Vaghani standing out. Her performance as an angsty rebellious teen who’s going through a serious mental issue feels very real and extremely well done. Viren Vazirani as ‘Veer’ shows off a maturity beyond his years as he seems to be one holding things together as everything around falls apart.
Vishwajeet Pradhan is great as the muscle who goes around throwing his weight to get things done with his comic timing still making him one of the more endearing characters in a story filled with traditionally bad people.
Vikas Kumar’s role is much more subdued when compared to the first season but he still manages to incite contempt for his character despite technically being on the right side of the law. He leans into his desperation, even more, this time around willing to bend the rules even more in order to get his man.
The story is well written, with the intersecting plotlines made distinctive enough not to confuse the audience. Many of them are resolved quite fittingly, making sure no loose ends exist by the end.
The script is quite solid and well delivered. The writers do well to express the intensity of the exchanges between some of the most dangerous characters involved in the story.
While it does affect the pacing of the season, the end result makes the build-up quite worth it as the audience is shown the gradual evolution of Aarya into a fearsome leader by the end.
The soundtrack is quite pleasing with the use of some classic melodies at the right moments. They evoke strong feelings of nostalgia while also enhancing the mood of the situation.
The cinematography is nothing to write home about. Basic set designs that do not necessarily catch the eye are in contrast to some of the locations involved in the first season and that is a letdown.
The depiction of adolescent drug abuse as well clinical depression and suicide is not held back and should definitely include a trigger warning due to the sensitivity of the content shown on screen.
The second season of ‘Aarya’ is definitely a promising addition to the series, with the performances of the cast a true standout. The story concludes at a thrilling point leaving the door open for some exquisite stories to be explored going forward.