Readers Write In #587: Asur: A Victim Of Main Text Overpowered By Not So Powerful Subtext

by bollywoodbubbles
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By Vishnu Mahesh Sharma

Serious spoilers ahead…

The second season ends satisfactorily, but before it gets there, it touches on some interesting concepts arranged around a deeply flawed and poorly executed central theme, making the show what it was meant to be. It never emerges as the shocking pulp thriller it should be.

At the end of Season 2 of Asur, there’s a great scene where Nikhil (Barun Sovti) confronts Naina (Anupriya Goenka) over her thoughts on justice. Naina is an accomplice in the murder of Swati (the house helper who poisoned Naina and Nikhil’s daughter Riya at the end of season 1) by Dhananjai Rajput (Arshad Warsi). Nikhil abandons the idea of ​​vigilante justice and calls the act murder. He despises Naina’s karmic theory of swati. Cut to the final minutes of the season. Nikhil himself slays Shub by very coldly conveying the fact that it is one thing to talk about and have an idea of ​​true justice, but quite another to hold to it. there is Once you know who the real culprit is, will you let law and order take over? The culprit is two feet away from you. you know his crimes You know the trauma his crime caused you. You know the damage crime has done to your relationship. You have enough power to eliminate him. Given this power, do you wait for the system to bring justice? Of course, the answer is no. You yourself realize it instantly, without thinking about the ideal direction of law and order.

These interesting ideas aren’t limited to this one sequence. There’s also a beautifully directed scene where Nusrat (Ridi Dogra) confronts her. Sense of guilt The idea of ​​guilt. Very early in season 2, we learn that Nusrat has done illegal things in the past to save her sister from crime. During her family discussion, her sister Shama makes another similar illegal request to Nusrat. Now Nusrat denies suggesting she cannot indulge in similar acts under any circumstances because she has not been able to get over the guilt of her past deeds. . Between what is right and what she loves, her choice will always be right. Jump to the second half of the season. Nusrat is forced to choose between an innocent girl and a criminal’s sister. She has a chance to atone for his past misdeeds. she knows what’s here Yet she chooses life for her sister and death for innocent people. Now she has to face her thoughts of her guilt, not her guilt. Not once or twice, but every time, given her choice, she always chose her family over everything else. Her guilt was never about her wrongdoing, it was always about her inability to shake off anything because she had her righteousness ingrained so deeply.

If there are such sequences (and there are so many of them), why does this headline suggest that I didn’t like the series as much as I would have liked? It lies at the weakest central theme of all the ideas the series wants to explore. The show’s Azul (literally Azul, figuratively there are many) is a firm believer that there is a demon within each and every one of us. That demon is who we really are, and we hide it under the mask of truth, morality, values, law, and justice. A premise cracker to explore. But what does Asur do here to prove his twisted philosophy? He himself hides behind an anonymous mask. Even this would have worked, because on a very basic level of narrative, the show follows the template of a serial killer thriller, giving the show the freedom to reveal the actual identity of the killer at the end. Unfortunately, this template gets the core idea wrong. The reason for the failure is Asur’s use of the tool to spread his cult.

His aides and followers wholeheartedly support his ideas. They believe the devil will set them free. They came to realize that Adharma was their true self. They will do whatever it takes to spread this ideology. However, the way they advertise is the biggest obstacle for us viewers to buy the same thing. The reason is that they release their demonicity by becoming part of us. They fit right into society itself, which they believe is based on false values. They have to wear the same masks they want us to throw masks at. Why are there so many contradictions and contradictions? The problem is compounded by the mention of the Joker, who is also a psychopath, more or less in the same vein as Asur. And the Joker is so sure of his own heart that he never hides behind any mask. In fact, Batman has to wear a mask to fight the Joker’s mess. If Ashur has such deep philosophies and the ability to make anyone part of them, why should they choose the path of gimmicks and deceit? Let the world see the real you you want it to accept. Why do you yourself hide behind the image of the boy next door to get your evil message through. It’s almost a sin that the show never rises above the average watch level, despite boasting an abundance of great peripheral themes.

A case in point is the character of Anant, an 11-year-old boy who is projected as Kali opposing Kalki of Shub. The scene where Anant is picked to negotiate with the terrorists holding his fifty people hostage is him one of the best masala moments in his OTT space in India. His character is used to comment on the mentality of the crowd, which is ephemeral and thoughtless. One moment the whole country wants to crown him as an incarnation of Vishnu, the next moment they want to cut off his head to save themselves.

Some of the central themes are also conveyed very well. For example, the idea that “truth and lies are two sides of the same coin.” Asur is committed to proving himself right, and so are CBI and the team. They also take an unexpected and unjust route to prove Shub wrong. Moreover, both sides face causality as there is a lot of collateral damage in doing so. Truth, in its eagerness to triumph over falsehood, must take some blows from an equally powerful opponent.

Still, it’s the abrupt template switch that keeps other parts of the central theme from looking superior. The show has positioned itself almost perfectly as a racy, pulpy serial killer thriller. Someone is out there hunting people down. There is a pattern to these murders. Cops with conflicting sensibilities are investigating. I have a red herring. There are moments when cases become personal to investigators. Everything is formulaic, but in a good way. Then comes the switch. The main plot is compromised for a weak and paradoxical psychopathic philosophy. Suddenly a serial murder case becomes the subtext and a distorted interpretation of myth becomes the main text. Watching his first four episodes of the first season and his last two episodes of the same season makes us feel like we are in another world. Ideally, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, considering the long form format is intended for such conversions. But it has to be organic and gradual, like Breaking Bad. There, progress to the dark side is measured and the makers are very much aware of the pace of transformation. They address subtexts of an episodic nature. One episode deals with the theme of ego, another with lack of accomplishment, another with family tensions and so on. Nonetheless, putting all the episodes together doesn’t compromise the narrative coherence or setting of the world it’s set in. Unfortunately, in Asul’s case, the changing world is so unsettling that the show doesn’t quite work as either a serial killer thriller or a talented genius going wild.

It is disappointing to observe that if handled well, this material would have had no limits. If only I had focused on the more daring side, if I had accepted the text wholeheartedly. It would have been a very strong addition in an OTT crime drama. Not a bad show by any means, in my opinion. It failed to live up to the potential it had and I am very happy that the final product is above average.

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