Aashram Chapter 2 Review: The Exploits of Bobby Deol’s Baba Nirala Still Engage, but the Series Fails to Live Up to Its True Potential

Sreeju Sudhakaran
·4-min read

Aashram Chapter 2 Review: It is quite a bizarre coincidence (or is it?) that the second season of Aashram 2 came just after Bihar poll results are out. Electoral politics is the main recurring theme in the new season of the Prakash Jha-directed web-series. If the real-life elections were run on issues like Sushant Singh Rajput, Arnab Goswami, and migrant crisis, then the election campaign in Aashram is wholly dependent on whom Baba Nirala (Bobby Deol) has put his hand on. You can decide which is weirder - the fact or the fiction. Aashram Chapter 1 Review: Bobby Deol’s Series Is a Diligently Done Expose on Fake Godmen That Loses Out on Its Execution.

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The last time we left him, we had seen the lusty side of Baba Nirala as we get a glimpse of how he sexually exploits his female disciples. While it was Babita (Tridha Choudhury) who was assaulted by Baba in the finale of the last season, this time, Baba has his eyes on Pammi (Aditi Pohankar), the one responsible for making her entire family blind bhakts of the fraudulent godman. If Babita uses her charms to seduce Baba and secure her survival, then Aditi first refuses to accept her 'God' could do something to her. Then when she finally realises that Baba isn't the man she thought he was, she decided to fight back, even if all the odds are against her.

Baba Nirala, meanwhile, is also caught in the powerplay of the state CM Sundar Lal (Anil Rastogi) and the opposition leader Hukum Singh (Sachin Shroff). Only, he is pulling the strings, even if the other two believe that they have the upperhand. Through arranging concerts held by popular rockstar Tinka Singh (Adhyayan Suman), Baba has managed to influence the youngsters and have them eating 'laddoos' out of his hands. Drug-laced ladoos, that is.

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Watch the Trailer of Aashram Chapter 2:

As we have seen in the first season, Aashram continues to use political headlines to gets its plot's wheel running. The political machinations of Baba Nirala are interesting to watch, as they leave you intrigued about where he will sway. Bobby Deol is not exactly a very expressive actor, but he possesses a nice poker face and a silky deep baritone that works gels well with the mystification of Baba Nirala.

Chandan Roy Sanyal, who plays his right-hand man Bhopa, is a far better actor and he continues to dominate every scene he is in. However, there is a lack of character development for him. Sure, we see little cracks developing between him and Baba, but that is later forgotten or maybe reserved for the next season. Yes, there is going to be one. Bobby Deol's Digital Outing with Aashram is the New Topic For Meme Makers; Netizens Welcome His Announcement with Amusing Reactions.

Since the second season of Aashram is shot back-to-back with the first - the gap actually looks like a mid-season break - it continues to borrow nearly the same strengths and flaws. There are interesting characters, some strong moments (I liked the scene when Ujagar realises that he was himself part of the rot in the system), but none totally register an impact, moving along a single tone. A couple of clinks are improved, namely bad junior artistes. The lovemaking sequences are less tiltillatory, though we are still forced to watch Bobby Deol take off his robe quite a few times. Damn, wasn't Race 3 enough?

The political subplot is the best part of Aashram, especially when it shows how Baba Nirala continue to influence such a large following to follow him blindly. So much that even the media knows he can swing the elections. Jha at least doesn't hold back on showing how easy it is for godmen to crack into political matters using the backward castes and marginalised people as their strength, while exploiting them in the process.

While the show continues to offer engaging plotlines, it unfortunately also continues to never live up to their complete potential. Even Pammi's storyline, while having its heartbreaking moments, moves along in a predictable manner. Meanwhile, Ujagar Singh (Darshan Kumaar) and Sadhu (Vikram Kochhar)'s espionage mission within Baba's ashram, aided by Dr Natasha (Anupriya Goenka) starts off on a riveting note, before it loses out all steam. This season is definitely still not for the good guys. Exactly like the state of this democracy, right now.

Yay!

- The Political Subplot

Nay!

- Other Subplots Don't Register the Same Impact

Final Thoughts

Aashram Chapter 2 still continues to be engaging thanks to the powerful depiction of Bobby Deol's character, and its reliance on topical themes. But it still doesn't manages to cross the laxman-rekha from being decent to a great watch. Both seasons of Aashram are streaming on MX Player.