Kali hi anant hai, kali hi iss yug ka antim satya hai - As one of the characters if Asur 2 narrates this line, you, as a a viewer have already been rather prepared for the gigantic juxtaposition that the show has led you to be in. The battle of religion vs practicality, the mythological tale of Kali vs Kalki and absolutely anarchy that follows is all one of the endgame pointers of Asur 2. After a rollicking and path-breaking Season 1 that came in just before the pandemic, the thriller makes a return with Season 2 over three years later. The principal cast reprise their roles and the saga is a continuation from where it ended in Season 1. Having had the chance to see the entirety of Asur 2 beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
Myth vs Reality, Kali vs Kalki, Dharm aur Adharm
Just like Season 1, Asur 2 continues to build up to intensify the debate/topic of being a believer in mythology against the ones who are non-believers. This time around though, it adapts the tool of realistic scenarios, especially towards the end where human behavior is tested and just how brutal, selfish and manipulative human nature can be. The central topic though continues to be centring around Shubh (Vishesh Bansal), and his rise to having the belief that he is indeed the reincarnation of Kali and his sole motto is to force Kalki Avatar to be born so that he can finish him.
The constant contrasting ideas of religion vs technology, belief vs atheism and several other things stays extremely overwhelming to fathom but still essential and engaging. There might an an array of topics that might surpass our basic knowledge but that doesn't become a factor owing to losing the grip because by then, you are just incredibly invested in the storyline. Everything else is just an add-on that aids the story in the most effective manner. You can see yourself having some interesting conversations with fellow Asur watchers soon.
Incredibly Complex, Superbly Acted and Extremely Deep
There is a layer under layer under another layer which is such a delight to see in Indian entertainment space just because of how seldom it happens. Asur 2 manages to exhibit an array of layered plot developments that make their culmination in rather satisfying ways later. There are several instances which make you feel that nothing is what it seems to be and still seeming simple. But it is rather complex to an extent where you might need a rewatch almost instantly to catch up on the missed-out few factors. However, these intricacies are made fathomable and palatable by the fantastic cast at display, most of them who reprise their roles.
Right from Arshad Warsi's Dhananjay Rajput, who is a lot more unhinged this time to Barun Sobti's Nikhil Nair, who is depressed, troubled and has his life centring around this case now; from Ridhi Dogra's Nusrat, who also has several new demons to deal with personally to Anupriya Goenka's Naina, who cannot move on from her daughter's demise but still wants to crack this case - everyone involved has done a terrific job. The likes of Amey Wagh as Rasool Sheikh, Gaurav Arora as Kesar Bhardwaj, new entrant Meiyang Chang as ATF officer Paul and the actor (won't purposely reveal his name) who plays the adult Shubh are also as fantastic as you would expect them to be.
With such an intricate show, loopholes almost become an inevitability and Asur 2 is no different to that. One of the biggest factors becomes the lack of any redeeming quality in an eight-episode runtime. I wasn't expecting any sort of Ha Ha Ha's but even dark humor or subtle deviation from the heavy chapter in hand would act as a good little break. This isn't for my personal preference but more so for general viewing preferences.
The problem with Barun Sobti's dialogue enunciation continues even though it is miles better than it was in Season 1. Even though the new entrants are fresh changes you would like to see, the character arcs for both Chang as Paul and Aditi Kalkunthe Shyamprasad as Ishani aren't entirely satisfactory. And of course, the overall treatment of the show might still be way too much to fathom especially where in the middle few episodes, it does seem a tad drab and overwhelming.
One of the biggest wins for Asur 2 is just how it doesn't just become a mythologically-driven thriller which it essentially is - but takes on the tool of technology to balance the conversation. Right from the use of AI to jargons and terminologies, the detailing, research and execution with the use of 'techie stuff' is expertly done.
In the end, with all these factors at play and with so much going on, Asur 2 is still one of the rare information-dense shows in India that while being a tad too much to fathom, is still a ride you want to be on. It might not necessarily suit everyone's choice but is still one of the best Indian web shows till date.
Rating - **** (4/5)