Digital Review: ‘Asur: Welcome to your Dark Side’

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VOOT premiered ‘Asur’ this year, as a VOOT Select Original, which was a much-awaited show starring Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Ridhi Dogra and a whole host of others. It’s a psychological thriller that promised to keep viewers hooked in its season of seven episodes.

The story surrounds Nikhil Nayyar (Sobti) who plays an ex Indian CBI agent who is looking to re-join. When he starts getting coordinates sent directly to his phone, he realises that a dead body is being found at that particular point within the sub-continent. At the CBI, on the other hand, Dhananjay Rajpoot (Warsi) tries to determine how one person was murdered, who was found buried, little does he know that it’s someone close to him. This prompts Nayyar to return to the CBI, as officially being called back, potentially also returning to a love he once had in Nusrat Saeed (Dogra) and leaving behind his family in another continent. What happens there on in sees Nayyar have to get involved in orchestrating the murders, in a quite gory fashion.

Oni Sen, who directed the series, has definitely done it in a way which keeps the viewers engaged and wondering what’s going to happen next. The way he’s shot the show, in a dark and dreary colour scheme plays on this thrilling aspect and manages to create enough intrigue to continue watching. The plotline is also very strong and credit goes to the writers – Gaurav Shukla, Niren Bhatt, Vinay Chhawal, Eisha Chopra, Vibhu Kashyap and Abhijeet Khuman. Each episode gives a further insight into each of the characters, unravelling in an interesting way – albeit quite slow in terms of the series being just seven episodes.

The cast of the show could not be more spot on. Warsi as Rajpoot makes a great digital debut, showing the audiences exactly how versatile he is – especially when there are questions about his intentions. Sobti as Nayyar gives a great performance as someone who is blackmailed into crime, reminding anyone who has watched any of his shows before that he is a popular actor for a reason. Dogra as Nusrat plays an intriguing character who seems to have a past with Nayyar but this isn’t explored as much as it could’ve been. Aside from this, Anupriya Goenka makes a great addition to the cast as Nayyar’s wife. She shines in pretty much any role she does and this one is no different. The ensemble cast – Sharib Hashmi, Pawan Chopra and Amey Wagh, to name a few – are all great in their respective roles.

Unfortunately, there are a few shortfalls in the story of ‘Asur’ which prove to be small letdowns. Firstly, there are some strands of the overall narrative which are never investigated. There’s some suggestion that Rajpoot discovers there’s someone on the inside involved in the murders but this is never investigated further. The back story between Nayyar and Saeed is never really touched on – if it was then it was very shrortlived. This proves to give a very incomplete feeling generally. Aside from this, there are certain times that the narrative feels quite slow, although it does rescue itself quickly.

‘Asur’ is an interesting take on the story and it has to be said that it does successfully tick the psychological thriller box. However, it has to be said that the gaping holes in the narrative prove to be slightly disappointing for the viewer. Yes, there could well be a forthcoming season as the ending is open but will that season re-visit these holes? It’s yet to be seen.

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1 COMMENT

  1. #Asur makes for a compelling watch. Evokes many common serial killer tropes and gives it a mythological flavour. While some stretches feel far fetched the overall narrative is intriguing enough to forgive all that. One of the better Indian web series. Recommended.

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