The art of storytelling is an innately human quality. It is not affected by the invisible boundaries of religion, casteism, sex or myths. In fact, myths make the entire process of storytelling even more interesting because these mythological stories make the unexplainable seem plausible and they set the standard rules of morality.

It would not be wrong to say that the Indian entertainment industry has revolutionized the content totally. There are more meaningful shows now with terse plots and vigorously expressive dialogues. Gone are the days when melodrama formed the essence of any TV show. The recent show being telecast on Voot, ASUR, is a live proof of what I just wrote. Starring Arshad Warsi and Barun Sobti in lead roles, this show collates anecdotes from Hindu mythology, forensic jargons and sinister killings- all in one web series.

The story begins in Delhi, where the CBI struggles in identifying a serial killer who has been on the loose. The same killer makes sure to send the coordinates of the next murder location to Nikhil Nair, Barun Sobti, a forensic knowledgeable, who resides in New York with his wife, Naina and his daughter, Riya. Things go a little out of hand when Dhananjay Rajput, Arshad Warsi, struggles to come to grips with the fact that the killer has brutally murdered his wife. He is regretful because he couldn’t make out that she was his wife even during the post mortem. As per the protocol, DJ (Dhananjay) is asked to take a step back. Enters Nikhil, who now decides to join CBI again and crack the case. Following this, a chase ensues where the clash between the past and the present becomes the central theme of the plot.

The Good

The show should be applauded for its far-reaching ideas and themes. It touches upon so many concepts- the conflict between science and mythology, the cycle of Karma, the transformation of a human into a demon (Asur) and the habitual dolour associated with the professionals in the field of forensics. Other than this, the efforts put in by the cast are praiseworthy. While Arshad Warsi seems near perfect in portraying the role of an experienced, wise and a savvy officer, Barun Sobti fits well in the role of an astute yet ambivalent forensic expert. With a balance of quick-wit, determination and emotions, these two protagonists embark on a journey that exposes their otherwise pragmatic minds to the mysticism of Indian Mythology.

The storyline is taut and keeps you hooked till the very end. The cliffhanger in the first episode and the last episode definitely send a chill down your spine. Another uniformity that the writers ensure is regarding the beginning of each episode. Each episode begins with the recital of some verses from the Hindu scriptures. However, there is a lack of proper connection of these verses with the plot.

Amidst excellent cinematography and top-notch editing, ASUR passes the muster in keeping the viewers agog during the slow revelation of the antagonist. Some of the performances are sure to leave a lasting impression. Characters like Lolark Dubey (Sharib Hashmi), Young Shubh (Vishesh Bansal) and Nusrat Saeed (Riddhi Dogra) play a vital role in the show.

The Bad

Time and money are the essential components for any entertainment show. This eight-part series leaves behind some unanswered questions that dawdle back and forth in the mind. ASUR possesses a substantial amount of pictorial potency. But it fails to reveal deep insights into all major characters. While a good proportion of limelight is thrown on the protagonists, the writers fail to bring forth the backstory of Shubh (the antagonist who believes that by divulging his dark side, he can summon the God for war). Another flaw that irked me was Barun’s speech that was too fast and unclear to understand. Even though the series could have been wrapped up in 6 episodes, the extra screen only added to the misery of the viewers because the pace became slow and the story became drab. Nevertheless, it was worth the time and effort, for the climax was an unanticipated one.

ASUR might elicit debates and discussions about whether the mind resides in the body or if the mind is a whole in itself. This show explores the truth behind the statement- each one of us has a dark side too. We all are victims of conflicts because these conflicts bring out our dark side (the demonish side). Brilliant performances, crisp editing and an intriguing plot- all help in rendering a thought-provoking message. ASUR is a great option to binge-watch since staying at home is our only focus at the moment.

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