Web series have become an integral part of our lives, even more so in lockdown. These shows kept us entertained for these past months when we could not go out or invite someone to our houses. However, many of them were accompanied by several controversies around their plots.
Upcoming web series Aashram is the latest addition to this list. Directed by veteran filmmaker Prakash Jha, it has actor Bobby Deol in the lead. Chandan Roy Sanyal, Aaditi Pohankar, Darshan Kumaar, and Adhyayan Suman also have pivotal roles in the movie.
The plot of the web series Aashram, whose trailer was released on Monday, looks into the life of a Hindu religious leader. Baba Nirala of Kashipur, who appears to be a self-styled Guru, has hundreds of followers. He preaches about God, life and death, just like any other religious leader.
He assures them that he would take them to the path of salvation. Thousands of people seek his blessings. “Nobody can stop our country from reaching new heights, as long as Baba Nirala exists.” his followers believe.
Famous Bollywood actor Bobby Deol is all set to win the hearts of people through his upcoming web series ‘Ashram’. Actually, the trailer of Bobby Deol’s web series ‘Ashram’ has been released, in which the actor’s style is worth watching. In ‘Ashram’ series, Bobby Deol will be seen playing the lead role as Baba Nirala of Kashipur. This trailer shows how Baba plays with people’s faith and also promotes many heinous crimes.
Looking at the comments on the trailer, it can be said that it has left no stone unturned to win the hearts of fans. In this series, produced and directed by Prakash Jha, good actors are coming to win the hearts of the audience by acting.
This web series ‘Ashram’ is a dark thriller in which Bobby Deol played the role of Baba Nirala of Kashipur. Bobby Deol is appearing in a role like this for the first time and it would not be wrong to say that he looks quite different and strong. It seems that in the long break, Bobby Deol has decided that he will now play a different kind of role. This webseries will release in a total of 9 episodes.
Bobby Deol starrer ‘Ashram’ will be released on 28th of this month. The series, produced and directed by Prakash Jha, will star Aditi Pohankar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Darshan Kumar, Anupriya Goenka, Adhyan Suman, Vikram Kochhar, Tusshar Pandey, Sachin Shroff and Rajiv Siddharth.
In the trailer, it is shown how nine girls are reported missing in just three years. People are seen being thrown into jails. “We are scared that is why they suppress us”, says one of the victims.
One can see guns, the involvement of politicians, and even a human skeleton, which appeared to be the deed of Baba Nirala.
The web series reveals the dark side of the religious cults that are led by such leaders. In real life, many such names have popped up over the years from all religions.
Talking about an issue as sensitive as religion, the web series was bound to receive some criticism from the audience. However, no one would have expected that people would demand its ban on social media.
People are perceiving the web series as a target to Hinduism and Hindu leaders. They have quoted examples of the previous movies that have also shown Hindu leaders in a negative light. Some of them include Kedarnath, Oh My God (OMG), and PK.
The entire Bollywood is being accused of repetitively featuring Hinduism in a negative way. Netizens believe that other religions, such as Islam and Christianity, are depicted as superior and better than Hinduism.
This is hardly the first time Jha has faced controversy before his produces are released. His 2011 film Aarakshan, which explored social inequalities around caste-based quotas in public-sector employment and educational institutions, faced intense resistance from Dalits and was barred until release in a few states. “What’s happening with Aashram isn’t new to me,” Jha said. “Once people see the show, they will realise they have nothing to worry about.”
The last time Jha directed an episodic series was for the Hindi television serial Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne. Starring Raghubir Yadav in the lead, the serial was broadcast on Doordarshan between 1989 and 1990.
“Those were 25-minute episodes, and here with 50-minute episodes, I got more time to develop each subplot, character, incident, and subtext,” Jha said. “This medium allowed me to enhance what I thought were the plus points of the show.”
Over a nearly four-decade career, Jha has worked across mediums, genres, and budgets: from documentaries and low-budget dramas to big-ticket productions with A-list stars. For Jha, “the story is the most important, and it is that which guides what the correct medium or form of storytelling should be”.
He cited the example of his recently released Zee5 film Pareeksha, which follows a rickshaw driver who strives hard to enroll his son into a private English medium school.
“Because of the nature of the story, I had to make it a slice-of-life drama,” Jha said. “With Aashram, since everything is about creating perception, the world of the protagonist needed to be mounted in a certain way, where it’s full of people and opulence and noise.”
Jha has also moved into acting. He played the villain in his own film Jai Gangaajal (2016), and then Saand Ki Aankh (2019) last year. “I picked up acting since I was looking for a new medium to express myself,” Jha said. “It could have been something else too, like music.” A production with him in the lead role will be out this year.
Despite being born in Bihar, and setting multiple films there, Jha has never made a film in Bhojpuri or Maithili.
“I still don’t know why I haven’t done that, and it’s not that I would never make a film in Bhojpuri,” Jha said. “But language is not important, is it? Our films are enjoyed all over the world, but the world doesn’t know Hindi. My films are enjoyed by Bhojpuri speakers, as well as those in Bengal or Punjab. I make Hindi films because it’s easy for me to do so.”