Aarya season 3 review: Sushmita Sen returns as woman on top in blood-and-gore series

By now, those who have followed the tumultuous story of Aarya Sareen, she who is fit enough to do a headstand in the air, are familiar with the twin elements that define her: a mother intent upon protecting her children till her dying breath, and a drug baroness running her business with the help of a few loyal men. This time around, in Aarya Season 3, she is about to find that being in bed with bad Russian mobsters — as if there are any other kind — is not as easy as she thought it would be, even as she is up against dangers closer home.

Aarya Season 2, which came out two years back, ended with Sushmita Sen’s Aarya bathed in vivid splashes of crimson, the colours of the Holi party she is attending. It is also the colour of blood, something that flows generously in this series, created and directed by Ram Madhvani, and based on the Dutch series ‘Penoza’.

As a large drug consignment is about to shipped to the waiting Russians under the eagle eye of Aarya’s right hand man (Vishwajeet Pradhan), the clutch of law enforcement officers, led by the dogged (Vikas Kumar) who in turn is being tagged by his dodgy colleague (Geetanjali Kulkarni), is on high alert. Aarya’s teenaged son’s (Viren Vazirani) girlfriend is being targeted by a man (Indraneil Sengupta) who can’t get over the killing of his wife; her artist friend (Maya Sarao) is trapped in a terrible situation; her former faithful lieutenant (Sikander Kher) is adrift. And as if all these messes were not enough, a formidable new foe (Ila Arun) is snapping at her well-shod heels: what will Aarya do now?

The familiar nagging feeling at the way Sen delivers her lines — meant to be calm and controlled even when things are going south — but come off practised, is back. I guess that will never go, because the actor playing the eponymous Aarya is the same, her get-up as immaculate as ever, accompanied by designer attire, and those large handbags she wears on her arm. But, as ever, Sen manages to stay on top of everything, because the plot privileges her, and her doings. We know that Aarya will never let up, even when she is forced into letting down those closest to her, because she wants to keep them safe.

There’s no let up in the blood and gore either, with characters happily smashing bones and snapping off fingers, and shooting their way out of tight spots. This is a series that doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to bumping off its characters, so those with delicate sensibilities need to be careful. Only four episodes are out till now, the makers strategically wanting to make us wait; at the half-way mark, we are left with the striking image of Aarya turning into a snarling sword-waggler, very ‘Kill Bill’ type. How will it go from here? Stay tuned.

Aarya season 3 cast: Sushmita Sen, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Sikander Kher, Vikas Kumar, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Viren Vazirani, Indraneil Sengupta, Ila Arun, Maya Sarao
Aarya season 3 director: Ram Madhvani

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