As we watch the first two episodes of Asur Season 2, we remember how when Season 1 came out in March 2020, it was gaining instant cult status. The way it was spoken about was what stood out for us. We honestly don’t remember if the words “gritty,” “thrilling,” or “fascinating” were used, but we remember the sentiment of the reviews. There was an unmistakable urgency in them, asking people to watch the series before it disappeared under the radar, which it seems to have done since we haven’t heard a peep about the series in the three years between the two seasons. We also believe that the series suffered due to the OTT channel that picked it up. Name-wise, it might make sense that Asur found a place with the naagins, fairies, and demons of Voot, but content-wise, it was not given the right marketing push it desperately needed for more people to watch it. Either way, it was the peak of the pandemic; we were confined to our homes and could afford to take the chance to subscribe to the channel to watch Asur, and that proved to be one of our better purchases during that time.
When we started watching the show, we were restless due to our brain fog. Therefore, we were about to give up after the first episode, which is when we saw something that ensured that we would finish the season. The oven murder scene is one of the more brutal visuals seen in an Indian OTT series in a while. Asur Season 1 was not fast-paced by any means, but the first two episodes of season 2 promise a vast difference in that regard for the rest of the plot. However, the thing that both seasons have in common, other than an engaging narrative, is that you cannot look away from the screen for even a second. Every word spoken, every emotion expressed, and even the unsaid visual cues add beautifully to the world of Asur. We just wish that Barun Sobti spoke in a higher pitch, but having followed his previous body of work, we know that he is not doing it deliberately, unlike Priyanka Chopra in Citadel; therefore, we choose to look past it.
Seldom has a series been on our minds the way Asur has. A serial killer believing himself to be an agent of otherworldly forces and wreaking havoc on the world is not a new concept. We can even go as far as to assume that eventually, “good will win over evil,” and the Asur will be defeated. However, assuming the series’ predictability, there is still a magnetism to the narrative because it is never clear what the Asur is trying to do. He has planned everything down to the T and is seriously deranged. But to what end? True to his name, does he want evil to reign in this world, or does he want people’s dark side to gain prominence in their lives? He quotes scriptures that favor the good side of the world, yet his lived experiences have made him cynical enough to think that they are worthless. The antagonist, or Asur, whatever we call him, wants absolute chaos, but to what end? Does he want that just for the sake of it, or does he want to emerge as a leader from it? What is his ultimate ambition? Our lack of understanding of Asur’s motives sets very well against Nikhil and Dhananjay’s characters, who are predictable. Nikhil is the family guy who is brilliant at what he does, and Dhananjay is the disturbed cop who places his job above everything else. These are not new characters to TV land, and we are never curious about them. That works just fine because they are not the stars of the show; Asur is. This is what happens when a story is given precedence over the actors in it.
While our thoughts and feelings about most characters in Asur have been lukewarm (which is a good thing in this context), there is one person who has been annoying. She is Naina, Nikhil’s wife. Nikhil, played by Barun Sobti in all of his messy-hair glory, is the guy who can match the brains of Asur, yet Naina keeps pulling him back. We had to consciously remind ourselves that she was right and that we should control our internalized misogyny that was tempted to throw her into the bracket of the nagging, unreasonable wife. But in season 2, she completely changes track and is a woman on a mission since she has a score to settle, and we were surprised at how quickly we liked her this time. Truthfully, she is the only one to have shown real character development with respect to the events of the series.
Arshad Warsi continues to be effortless in whatever he does, but the placement of his character at the beginning of a monastery in Season 2 of Asur felt very jarring to us. Then we realized the brilliance of the writing and the actor in this scene because it was meant to feel out of place so that Dhananjay would have the incentive to return to solve the mystery. Coming to Barun Sobti, the actor has a knack for selecting good stories, but we disagree with how few of them he takes up. However, it’s better that his work is brilliant and sparse instead of mediocre and busy. In some ways, we want him to remain an undiscovered treasure so that we can keep trusting his work with blind faith. Finally, there is Ridhi Dogra. The actress has mettle, and she should have more to do than be poker-faced through the entire narrative.
Overall, Asur is an extremely intelligent piece of work that has made us wait for way too long. But its sheer brilliance lies in the fact that we kept waiting instead of forgetting about it, and we are glad that an equally spectacular and thrilling Season 2 has finally graced our screens. One thing we have learned about the Asur narrative is that we need to trust its vibe. That is why we believe that this is going to leave an indelible mark on our minds for a long time to come.