This is truly a Sushmita Sen affair all along. Just at the time when people are talking about camps and how amazing talent goes underutilised, we have the former Miss Universe rubbish all those who ignored her this far. She is a class act. Given a full-length script (9 episodes of about 50 minutes each), she leads with amazing confidence. Her timing perfect, her diction unmatched. Truly, this is a tribute to motherhood and without an apology.
A Rajasthani pharmaceutical company is headed by Zorawar (Jayant Kripalani). His daughter Aarya (Sushmita Sen) is married to Tej (Chandrachur Singh). The Zorawar household has multiple problems with ageing wife (Sohaila Kapoor), nagging Zora for his relationship with Rads (Flora Saini). His second daughter Soundarya (Priyasha Bharadwaj) is about to get married to a westerner, Bob (Alexx O’Neil) when Tej is shot.
Tej and Aarya have 3 children — daughter Arundhati (Virti Vaghani), son Veer (Viren Vazirani) and little Aadi (Pratyaksh Panwar). The business is run by Tej, Aarya’s brother Sangram (Ankur Bhatia) and Jawahar (Namit Das). Things go wrong when a huge consignment of Shekawat (Manish Choudhary) goes missing. Tej is assassinated in the presence of his son Aadi.
Reminiscent of the skewed-up family in Benegal’s Kalyug, directors Ram Madhvani, Sandeep Modi and Vinod Rawat give you a taut script.
Aarya evolves from being a loving housewife into a don prepared to smuggle drugs to save her immediate family. On the domestic front, she has the challenge of handling a son going through adolescence and a daughter threatening to get into an incestual relationship and her youngest child suffering from psychological problems after being a witness to the fatal shoot-out of his father.
Zorawar also has a man Friday in Daulat (Sikandar Kher). As the drug mafia threatens to take control of Aarya and her children, she decides to fight. Also, Jawahar is not only a dope addict but is also privy to the legitimate and the illegitimate activities of the pharma company. Each of the nine episodes has multiple nail-biting twists and gripping turns.
Top class performances add succour to a narrative that is packed with drama and action. Namit Das as Jawahar is a revelation in the negative role. Ankur Bhatia presents his claustrophobic presence in jail amazingly. Even the minor role played by the mother Sohaila Kapoor is impressive. The three children — Virti Vaghani, Viren Vazirani and Pratyaksh Panwar — look real and play out natural stances. Chandrachur has nothing to do. Sikandar Kher is there in almost every moment of the narrative. Often in the background. He leaves a lasting impact. Vikas Kumar as ACP Khan also shows tremendous promise and stays away from cliched scenarios both as the investigating inspector and also as one with alternative sexual preferences.
It’s a world of addictions, kidnaps, killings, shoot-outs, palace intrigue balanced beautifully with romance, caring relations, warmth and an appetite for happiness.
On the big screen we have seen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan — what she could do to get back her daughter in Jazba and Sridevi in a near similar role in Mom. By contrast, Sushmita is out with a commanding performance. This is not just her best outing, it is among the best in recent times.
The serial is unhesitatingly recommended. You don’t get too many opportunities to watching a story so well told, so well mounted and so perfectly enacted. Watch it in parts if necessary. But watch it all. Watch it surely.
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