Asur review: Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti show mixes up CID with Sacred Games for a pulpy new offering

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRuchi Kaushal
Mar 03, 2020 04:10 PM IST

Asur review: The murder mystery unravels a hidden demon in the modern-day society, who goes on a rampant killing spree in the name of religion, while a team of forensic experts struggles to solve the mystery way beyond what meets the eye.

Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Anupria Goenka, Sharib Hashmi, Ridhi Dogra
Ding Entertainment

Asur review: Arshad Warsi in a still from the web show.
Asur review: Arshad Warsi in a still from the web show.

Asur, according to myths, is a human who has lost their humanity. The show, titled Asur, arrives at a dark time with bodies still being fished out of drains in Delhi and a divided world seems to be tearing itself apart in the name of religion. The Voot Select original flirts with interesting themes -- religion and science, and where conscience and humanity fit in.

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The psychological thriller is a murder mystery with enough of charred and mutilated bodies. The eponymous asur, generally referred to a mythological barbarian with not even an iota of goodness, is a serial killer who is being pursued by a forensic expert Nikhil Nair (Barun Sobti).

The actor plays a CBI forensic expert-turned-forensic teacher at FBI; he changed professions after marriage to lead a more regular life but is unable to make peace with his decision as dead bodies are his only calling. However, a series of serial murders in India are mysteriously linked to him, forcing him to fly to India to solve the case.

Things turn murky as a senior CBI officer Dhananjay Rathore (Arshad Warsi) conducts an autopsy of a charred body, unaware of the fact that it is his wife on the postmortem table. In just two episodes, he is found guilty of planning his own wife’s gruesome murder and is arrested on basis of evidence pointing towards him. The body count doesn’t stop though as a man goes on a brutal killing spree, taking the index finger of the victim as memento.

Barun Sobti in a still from Asur.
Barun Sobti in a still from Asur.

The killer is shown to have his roots in Varanasi. Born to a pandit who loses his wife during childbirth, the child had special abilities. As his father trains him to take up the family profession of conducting weddings and funeral rituals, he realises his son could learn spiritual texts in a jiffy. More scared than proud of the child, he starts calling him ‘asur’. The child goes on to kill his own father and joins a group of aghoris and is assumed to be on his path to become a power-thirsty demigod.

Just like Sacred Games, Asur finds its roots in mythology. As the serial murders find a link with the prime investigator Barun Sobti, you inadvertently recall Sartaj Singh’s connection to Gaitonde in Sacred Games. Just like Gaitonde, a mastermind sits afar watching every single detail of the case’s progress with a pile of religious books by his side.

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The plot is intense as it grips you from the word go. It’s equally dark and gruesome as a child shows signs of evil and goes on to collect fingers after every murder, drawing parallels with Angulimala – the ruthless mythological brigand who kept the count of his murders by collecting fingers.

A mix of CID, Crime Patrol and Sacred Games, the web show doesn’t disappoint and performs well in the first two episodes. However, with six more episodes to go, it seems to follow the success formula of Sacred Games but with comparatively less thrill and chaos.

(The article is based on first two episodes provided for review)

(Author tweets @ruchik87)

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