Aashram: Review, plot, cast, and Everything about season 1 and season 2
The plot focuses on a Baba (preacher) named ‘Baba Nirala,’ portrayed by Bobby Deol, whose followers have complete faith in him and would do everything he asks. Baba Nirala, on the other hand, is a scam artist who makes sure that his followers give him their money and stay at the Aashram for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, in this series, Darshan Kumar is a cop who is hell-bent on discovering the truth behind the bones and dead bodies discovered on Aashram’s premises.
Every episode tells the true story of a mystery involving Baba Nirala. Part II of ‘Aashram’ will reveal if the cop will discover proof and prove anything. On November 11, 2020, all episodes of Part II of ‘Aashram’ were shown.
• Bobby Deol as Kashipur Waale Baba Nirala / Monty
• Chandan Roy Sanyal as Bhopa Bhai / Bhopa Swami / Bhupendra Singh
• Aaditi Pohankar as Parminder aka Pammi
• Tushar Pandey as Satti aka Satwinder Lochan
• Darshan Kumar as SI Ujagar Singh
• Anupriya Goenka as Dr. Natasha
• Tridha Choudhury as Babita
Other Honorable Mentions
• Vikram Kochhar as Sadhu Sharma
• Anil Rastogi as CM Sundar Lal
• Sachin Shroff as Hukum Singh
• Anurita Jha as Kavita
• Rajeev Siddhartha as Akki
• Jahangir Khan as Michael Rathi
• Kanupriya Gupta as Mohini/ Sohini
• Adhyayan Suman as Tinka Singh
• Vikram Katyal as Himanshu, Kavita’s Brother
• Keshav Pandit as Kavita’s Father
• Mala Sinha as Kavita’s Mother
• Rupesh Kumar as Nonny, Pammi’s Cousin
• Dimpy Mishra as Warden of Girls Hostel
• Sandeep Yadav as Bagga, PA of Hukum Singh
• Navdeep Tomar as Sunny, an Aashram Goon
• Mirza Ajhar Beg as Gabha, an Aashram Goon
• Siddharth Srivastav as Jhonny, an Aashram Goon
• Nawal Shukla as Gurusharan, Pammi’s Father
• Puneeta Awasthy as Navjot, Pammi’s Mother
• Akash Jaiswal as Vishal Singh, Pammi’s Best Friend
• Agraj Panday as Iqbal Kureshi, Pammi’s Coach
• Anand Prakash Sharma as Gurubaksh, Nonny’s Father
• Simmi Bhatia as Kuljot, Nonny’s Mother
• Amit Sinha as IG DP Sharma
• Amit Sahu as Haricharan Das, a Police officer
• Ikram Khan as Samandar Singh, Bada Mohalla Head
• Ajay Singh as Sumit Kaushik, CM’s PA and Brother-in-law
• Tulika Banerjee as Baba’s Wife
• Akhilesh Tripathi and Jigesh as Baba’s sons
• Pradeep Kukreja as Baba Mansukh, Baba Nirala’s Guru And Aashram Predecessor
• Uday Veer Singh Yadav as Ishwar Nath, Snober’s Father and Baba Mansukh’s close person
• Aakash Pandey as Rohtas, a lower cast sewadar
• Varun Tamta as Vikrant Punia, NCB Officer who busts Tinka
• Midhat Ullah Khan as Malang, an old sewadar at Aashram
• Subrato Roy as Goyal, Aashram Head Administrator
• Manish Mishra as Yogesh Rehghar who is a transgender
• Preeti Singh as Sangeeta Wrestler
• Akanksha Pandey as Renu, an Aashram Wrestler
• Parinitaa Seth as Sadhvi Mata
• Preeti Sood as Sanober
• Arun Trivedi as Harbhajan Singh, Bada Mohalla Resident
• Adarsh Pandey as a member of Bada Mohalla.
• Jaimin Panchal as a member of Bada Mohalla
Aashram SEASON 1
Baba Nirala Ji Maharaj aka Baba Kashipur Wale (Bobby Deol) is revered as the savior of minority populations and the oppressed in the hamlet of Kashipur (Uttar Pradesh). However, this self-proclaimed Godman has a checkered past that is now coming up with him. Baba ji has two options: let fate take its course or use all of his power to quiet those who are looking for him to be brought to justice what will you choose.
The year is 2012, and the skeletal remains of a corpse have been discovered on forest territory that the government has illegally given to a business behemoth. Baba Nirala (meaning unique) is losing sleep over his previous sins in another section of Kashipur. This dead corpse only adds to his concern, and the top-ranking members of the Aashram realize they must act quickly before everything is traced back to them, even Baba.
Prakash Jha is a director recognized for addressing deep-seated societal concerns in his films, and his most recent project is a nine-part exposé of a Godman. Baba ji is a figure created to first instill dread, and then to demand respect not just from his devotees, but also from those watching him continue his reign of terror on their television screens. Jha, interestingly, juggles many issues in ‘Aashram,’ the most prominent (and humorous) of which are the prevalence of prejudice against Harijans and a particular section’s unhappiness with minority reservations.
The mistreatment of Dalits, on the other hand, is penciled in to set the tone of the online show and lay the way for what’s to come. However, the issue is only lightly touched upon in the first two episodes before being abruptly discarded. Jha adds political goons and lawlessness into his tale because some believe that corruption and religious fanaticism go hand in hand, and the battle between these two realms — the influence of Godmen in India and the power of politicians — makes for a riveting film.
Story writing and flow
After the first several episodes, however, the focus quickly shifts to the megalomaniac Baba and his henchman Bhopa (Chandan Roy Sanyal), who are both calm and cunning. Bobby Deol stepping into the wicked footsteps of a seasoned conman/cruel historical rap sheeter isn’t what one would expect. Deol’s Baba Kashipur Wale is hypnotizing because of the tranquility he gives to the role, which contrasts with his larger-than-life demeanor.
Bobby is every bit the poor man’s Robinhood that he is made up to be in the moments where he is performing ‘pravachans’ with a bhajan-like background soundtrack. When the curtain lowers, the horrific deed emerges in the blink of an eye; the shift from a God-loving to a blood-sucking Baba is as seamless as a whistle. As if they were the crime world’s Gabbar and Sambha, Bengali actor Chandan Roy Sanyal undertakes all the dirty job for his partner-in-crime that’s a compliment, by the way!
When forensic specialist Dr. Natasha Kataria (Anupriya Goel) arrives, Sub-Inspector Ujagar Singh (Darshan Kumaar) has an epiphany. They constitute the anti-Baba Kashipur Wale squad together. Kumar is convincing as a strong guy who is second best in most things, while Goenka exudes confidence as the only female doctor in Uttar Pradesh dealing with post-mortem reports. There are other notable performances as well, including Tushar Pandey, Vikram Kochhar, Anurita Jha, Aditi Sudhir Pohankar, and Rajeev Siddhartha deserve special attention for their parallel plotlines that propel the story along.
Without a doubt, ‘Aashram’ is well-researched, and cinematographer Chandan Kowli and production manager Manoj Sharma’s attention to (set) detail is evident, from walls adorned with life-size portraits of the Godman and thick books of the leader’s sermons to coffee mugs bearing his photo and calendars depicting Baba’s hands folded in humility. Jha’s sophisticated narrative is deserving of recognition.
We may summarise this societal critique by quoting one of Darshan Kumaar’s greatest lines from the series
Jahaan noton se hoti hai kanoon ki aiei ki taisi, usiko India main kehte hain democracy.
Aashram SEASON 2
The second season starts off where the first left off, with Baba becoming nastier by the day and politicians becoming more greedy by the night. A handful of his victims have also woken up from their wallowing and are now hell-bent on vengeance. Is this the end of an era or the start of something new?
Baba Nirala Ji Maharaj aka Baba Kashipur Wale’s (Bobby Deol) reign of terror in Kashipur (Uttar Pradesh) continues and, in fact, becomes grimmer than ever. With Baba’s hand above his head, Bhopa (Chandan Roy Sanyal) is plainly powerless to stop him. Babita (Tridha Choudhury) has matured, and Pammi’s (Aditi Pohankar) life has altered dramatically.
Characters that remained mute throughout season one, such as Sanobar and Kavita, are finally summoning the guts to speak out about their backstories. Dr. Natasha Kataria (Anupriya Goenka) is leading Ujagar Singh (Darshan Kumaar) on a mission, and Akki (Rajeev Siddhartha) is not going to let him down. The second installment of this criminal thriller focuses on two facets of Baba’s numerous organized crimes: sexual exploitation and drug trafficking.
Unlike the first installment, which tackled a slew of societal ills at once, Prakash Jha’s current offering concentrates on two major concerns that are both scary and urgent, as well as comprehensive and effective. While the tone is mostly the same – Baba creating havoc in his customary calm demeanor — with drooping eyelids and raised eyebrows — Bhopa inciting terror with his cutting tongue, and the duo’s ‘chamchaas’ insulting everyone.
However, the difference this time is in the execution: the languid tempo and the well-described undertones. All nine episodes of ‘Aashram 2′ are significantly shorter than their predecessors, clocking in around 30 to 35 minutes apiece, despite the plot moving at a slow pace.
Writers Madhvi Bhatt, Avinash Kumar, Sanjay Masoomm, and Kuldeep Ruhil have woven a sub-theme of love into the lives of some of these battered and despondent individuals, and curiously, Baba, too, shows evidence of harboring feelings in his heart – although warped ones. Sanobar (Preeti Sood) and Kavita (Anurita Jha) go through a sea shift in their personalities, and the mystery around them diminishes as they get their closures in the form of confrontations. Even before Baba says, “Yeh chudail hain, sabko kha jayegi,” we have a feeling his “vansh” is on the way, but owing to some deft writing and a slew of plotters, we have no idea who will take retribution and how.
The topic of systemic abuse of women and the techniques used to keep them from speaking up is one that has to be spread far and wide, and Jha and his team of writers make every effort to do so. The lesser characters might have avoided the melodrama, but there is no calm way to represent a drug addict or a religious zealot.
Actors and their Performance
Bobby Deol is still in great form and continues to weave the spell he did in season one — both physically and metaphorically. Chandan Roy Sanyal turns out to be the kind of henchman no rational person wants to meet.
Aditi Pohankar, Tridha Choudhury, Anurita Jha, Preeti Sood, and Anupriya Goenka are among the ladies who give outstanding performances, particularly in the breakdown sequences of Aaditi and Tridha’s fights.
Niharika, played by Goenka, takes a backseat in terms of driving the plot along, but she is crucial in bringing the criminals to justice.
Darshan Kumaar is an out-and-out undercover addict with a burning desire for justice, and Rajeev Siddhartha is enraged after being wronged; the actor is back to his best in season two.
Adhyaman Suman, on the other hand, is a disturbing rockstar on a joint tour with Baba; we don’t get to see much of Suman as an actor because of all the shouting and leaping around he performs.
Direction and Set designing
Chandan Kowli deserves special recognition for his outstanding work behind the camera, which gave the series a regal atmosphere. Similarly, production designer Udai Prakash Singh deserves praise for constructing a set right out of a historical play without making the sights too overwhelming for the audience.
When the megalomaniac of a Godman, Baba ji, travels to a ghat for a celebration – the lake is brilliantly illuminated with diyas all over its water body, with garlands decorating its bricks and walls – Deol turns around and exclaims, “Japnaam japnaam…” That sight is imprinted in our memory. The backgrounds of Inder Bawra, Sunny Bawra, and Advait Nemlekar.
‘Aashram 2′ is a film about wrath, retribution, and atonement, but it also internalizes the adage that quiet is never an option. Finally, we’d like to point out that while the second installment of this cult-centered drama doesn’t offer much new in terms of narrative development, it was nice to watch these wounded souls find peace in some manner. And to that, we reply, “Japnaam.”
Watch it here: MX player
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