Aashram Chapter 2 Review – Exploring the Web with Bharathi S Pradhan


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Nothing sells better than a religious cult. Knowing Kashipurwale Baba or Baba Nirala with Bhupaji, his partner in crime, has his followers in a spell. As the bhakts to sing ‘Japan’ and ‘Babaji ki jai ‘ with increasing reverence, the sprawling ashram which is like a city in itself grows in muscle and financial power.

Outside, when fiery young wrestler Pammi encounters caste insults in the ring and upper caste power hampering her brother’s medical treatment, the savior who enters her life is the revered Kashipurwale Baba.

Blind faith in him brings Pammi to the ashram where caste barriers do not exist and free training for national championships is offered. A mixture of gratitude, naivety, and blind bhakti keeps Pammi oblivious to the activities going on under her nose in the ashram.

Young husbands are castrated in the name of shuddhikaran and their exploited wives.

It was season 1.

Baba’s drug demand laddoos and for its voice capturing power is on the rise.

Crimes inside the ashram are also on the rise.

Collect all the activities that ruthless gangsters engage in. Drugs, debauchery, murder, muscular and financial power surmounted by a clever policy.

Writer Habib Faisal takes all these criminal shenanigans out of gangster territory and transplants them into a Rajneesh-type ashram where the cult of Garibonwale Baba thrives.

This season Baba Nirala is doing better politics than politicians.

The scenes are more striking – like asking an exploited woman to lick the kheer from the ground for knocking it over.

But the net is closing on Babaji with infiltrators in the ashram.

It is time for Pammi to awaken to the sordid realities of her divine Baba and it is time to take revenge.

Director Prakash Jha builds up resistance to Baba and does an interesting trick or two. Like the sequence of physically close struggle that disrupts Pammi’s equation with her “Bhagwan” in human form.

Bobby Deol’s convincing performance comes as a pleasant surprise with his seemingly benign words hiding a cunning, stony-hearted and shady con artist. Chandan Roy Sanyal, his Bhupaji right-hand man, is a credible threat. Aaditi Pohankar is ideal as a wrestler Pammi, strong in her determination and punches but gullible as a blind man bhakt.

There was room for some thrilling music as this season intertwines sermons and satsang with the musical performances of Tinka Singh, the enthusiasm of young people. But the songs don’t go beyond a repetitive ‘Baba layenge kranti ‘.

Since MX Player is a free platform, their business model fills Episode 2 with ads that interrupt the storytelling. But it’s limited to one episode.

After going through 9 episodes, Jha keeps the main cast alive for an obvious season 3.

Those who watched the 1st The episode will feel like it’s part of a world they know now, as Prakash Jha maintains the show seamlessly.

Also Read: An Open Letter to Akshay Kumar – Laxmii Movie Review by Bharathi Pradhan

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Rosemary S. Bishop