Disclaimer: The following post contains spoilers from Season 2 of Aarya. 

Season 2 of Sushmita Sen starrer crime drama, Aarya, released on Disney+Hotstar and it has once again claimed its position as one of India’s finest web series. 

Gripping, powerful, and emotional, season 2 of Aarya upped the ante in all aspects – storytelling, twists, and performances, especially with the addition of stars like Geetanjali Kulkarni, Akash Khurana, and others. 

Season 2 focuses on Aarya’s fight to again escape the world of crime that she’s invariably drawn into when she returns to India as the key witness in the case against her family, but ends up giving false testimony. 

The sequel expands on her journey from a protective mother to a fierce crime lord. Or as one of her ‘nemesis’ states, “Ab toh aap don ban gai hain”. 

As she makes new allies, sees old friends turn to foes, and comes under threat from her own family, Aarya falls back on the one person she completely trusts – herself. And here, it’s as much Ram Madhvani’s win, as it is Sushmita’s. 

Because it’s Sen who is bringing Madhvani’s vision of ‘just another working mother’, going against the law, and at times, even her own morals, to life. And she is flawless in it.

You can see how she slowly embraces the life of crime, with each passing episode and changing frame – because she sees no escape from the very world that took away her husband from her. She’s still a grieving widow and an emotionally struggling, single mom. 

But in her journey to protect her children, she also becomes a ‘crime lord’ – cold, calculating, and unflinching in the face of horrors. 

Sushmita balances the two sides – of a mother and a gang leader – so effortlessly, that at no time does the story feel unrealistic. 

Ably supporting her, in terms of performance, is Vikas Kumar as ACP Khan, who becomes a shell of his Season 1 self as we see him crumbling under the immoral demands of his new boss, only to reclaim himself (and his love) by the end of the season. 

However, the truly surprising win of Season 2 is Geetanjali Kulkarni as investigating officer Sushila Shekhar – she occupies the same space as Aarya, of a mother straddling the line between good and bad to protect her child. But her performance, and her character, is far more raw and rugged – setting both, the contrast and the similarity between Sushila and Aarya. 

Of course, the show also deserves complete credit for breaking the stereotypes that Bollywood loves to box women in. Women are imperfect, immoral, naive, flawed, and undeniably real (like when Maya pukes at the site of Aarya hacking a dead body). And that’s why, despite living a life of crime, they seem relatable. 

A fitting sequel to season 1, Aarya has given us a badass, Indian, female anti-hero – adjectives you’d never think would fit a female protagonist in an Indian show. And that, remains the show’s true win.