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Asur

Asur

Asur

A Voot original series which is best written by Gaurav Shukla, Niren Bhatt and Vinay Chhawal. This is well produced by Tanveer Bookwala and directed by Oni Sen. This Indian series is made of full crime scenes which will take your mind level to the level of Secret games. All the men in ASUR have made it well-created series which is well shot by the cinematographer. In this series we see all men either lost or stuck-up, the men seem to take after their mane as they traverse the convoluted landscape of this series from Washington DC to Nagaland, Delhi, Mumbai, Bali, and Varanasi. The two men- Dhananjay (a laboured Arshad Warsi) and Nikhil (a brooding and believable Barun Sobti), find themselves on the same Forensics Team at the CBI, but with clouds of antagonism that will spiral and then clear out as the show progresses. Nikhil has an unresolved past, not just professionally, but personally too. He is now married with a daughter, but the tension lingers, simmering under the storyline as it moves from one murder to another. The murderer initially seems rudderless and save for the Balinese mask on the murdered, there is nothing that seems to connect them all.

Asur is a tale of a serial killer. Every episode begins with a cold-open sequence teasing a few stray moments from the killer’s formative years in the ghats of Varanasi, hinting at the possible circumstances that may have led him to become the violent murderer he has come to be. In the present, Nikhil Nair (Barun Sobti), a professor at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) training institute, has been sporadically receiving encoded messages revealing the coordinates of places across India. The coordinates are of the spots where the killer leaves the dismembered bodies of his victims. A former forensics expert at the Central Bureau of Investigation, Nikhil is summoned to the CBI to crack the impossible case of an unhinged killer on the loose. The CBI forensics team, meanwhile, locates yet-another corpse — burnt to the ground, mutilated by dogs, face completely disfigured, with an index finger missing. The body is found exhibited like a scarecrow on a deserted stretch. The only clue the killer leaves behind is the mask of Asura stuck to the victim’s face. With that one of the first murders makes use of an oven. This web-show, 8 episodes, about 40 minutes each, touted as a psychological thriller, try to ask really potent questions: Do we become psychopaths or are we born psychopaths? Does the mind belong to the body, or is the mind its own entity?

But here is where my broader issue with the show comes up- the series seems to have an answer to these questions. And it is rather upfront about it. At one point when Nikhil asks for cigarettes, the villain pronounces “Cigarette tumhe nahin, tumhare mann ko chahiye.” At another time, “Dekha jaye toh hum qaidi hain, par hamare soch aazad hai.” The body-mind distinction, something philosophers have grappled with, and still do- the Cartesian Dualism- is treated as solved. There’s a smugness to this show that I found quite annoying. Logic is replaced with intuition. Intuition cannot be explained, and so as the murders get solved with sudden ease, you lose interest. Think of the messy intersection of human incompetence, bureaucratic hurdles, and personal gumption in Delhi Crime. Asur is an immensely well-shot series. And when Asur briefly sparks to life, it is quite engrossing. When it lets go of its pretence, it is quite commendable. When the characters are and don’t act, the collective talent shines through. But these are mere silver linings. The black cloud looms large while I had wished for a sunnier day.


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