Bobby Deol as Baba Nirala has made his way into our living rooms with his ‘Japnaam’ over the last two years. Point to note is, whether or not he’s a true godman or a conman — the basic premise of MX Player’s hit web show Aashram. The series not just gave Bobby’s career a new lease, but also cemented the streaming platform’s position in the OTT race.
Aashram, directed by Prakash Jha, is set to release its season three on June 3. Bobby Deol plays a spiritual leader who veers between aastha and apraadh with finesse. While the show brings back its major characters, the plot looks intriguing, considering the previous season’s cliff-hanger ending.
Here’s a recap of all that has happened in the crime drama thriller so far, and what to expect going forward.
Story so far…
Self-styled godman Baba Nirala has managed to create an illegal empire of fraud, drugs and scandals. He’s a conman who exploits his women devotees and worshipers, influencing them to the degree that they voluntarily never leave his hermitage. While the ashram works under Baba Nirala’s brand name, his right-hand man and old friend-associate Bhopa Bhai runs the show from the front, covering up for all the misdeeds using power and money.
Baba Nirala’s main targets are either poor people who get an abode for life, or the rich who pledge their wealth to the ashram. The ashram’s public image is that of a charitable organisation, educating the underprivileged kids, imparting vocational training, widow programs and employment schemes. Siblings Pammi and Satti come to seek Nirala’s “blessing” and to dedicate their services. Baba misuses their blind faith by molesting a drugged Pammi, and castrating Satti, to take pleasure from his wife Babita.
In the meantime, both ruling CM (Sundar Lal) and opposition leader (Hukum Singh) try to appease Baba Nirala to garner public support in the upcoming State Assembly elections. The closed-door monetary negotiations negatively impact both politicians, who pledge to teach a lesson to Nirala in their own way.
A skeleton is discovered on a land owned by an industrial group having close ties with Sundar Lal. Doctor Natasha and a local journalist Akki instigate cop Ujagar Singh to take up the case. As the trio dig deeper, layers of crime get unfolded, all of which lead to the ashram. Natasha, posing as a devotee, tries to spy on Baba Nirala’s misdeeds inside the ashram. Ujagar Singh is pressurised to give up the case.
Eventually, Pammi gets to know the real face of Baba Nirala and runs away from the ashram. But, to teach her a lesson, Bhopa kills Satti, and Nirala makes Babita as his mistress. The second season ends with Pammi fleeing the town with Akki, leaving Baba Nirala and Bhopa worried.
What to expect from its major characters:
Baba Nirala (Bobby Deol) – The self-proclaimed godman is set to get more power hungry, to the extent that he’ll start considering himself God. Even his followers hail him as Lord Nirala! His unchecked words “Jo main bolun woh kanoon” as seen in the trailer, suggest he’s bound to make more enemies.
Bhopa Bhai (Chandan Roy Sanyal) – We saw a glimpse of ideological differences between Bhopa and Nirala in the previous season, where Bhopa wanted to check his friend’s absolute power. In season three, it seems they will have a fallout, thanks to Nirala’s high-headedness. Will he continue to wash Nirala’s dirty linen or take a stand, can become an interesting twist.
Pammi (Aaditi Pohankar) – She has nothing to loose. After seeing her brother Satti become a pawn, she’s out to avenge his killing. She’ll pick up arms against Nirala, pledging to uncover his reality. She might trespass into his guarded territory for the same.
Ujagar Singh (Darshan Kumaar) – Caught between the orders from his department and his personal quest against Baba Nirala, Ujagar has already entered the prohibited territory. Will his pride and position take precedence or will he fight for justice, is bound to take his track forward.
Natasha (Anupriya Goenka) – She entered hellfire by intruding into Baba Nirala’s reality. How far will she continue to be Ujagar’s weapon inside the ashram? It might fall heavily on her considering she’s in harm’s way.
Akki (Rajeev Siddhartha) – The small-town journalist, Akki might have started off aiming to crack a big story, but it looks like he’s been caught in the vicious circle of Baba Nirala’s syndicate. And now that he’s given shelter to Pammi, he’ll already come under the radar of Bhopa.
Babita (Tridha Choudhury) – She surrendered to Baba Nirala’s advances due to her own ploy. Now that she’s completely won over his trust, will she be able to avenge her husband Satti’s murder? Babita is a sharp player and we expect much from her game this time.
The trailer of Aashram 3 also showed actor Esha Gupta joining the cast as a new mysterious character, a woman who wooes Baba Nirala, but for her own motive. She turns out to be a confidante of Hukum Singh who seems to be his honeytrap to burst Nirala. Is she on the good side or the bad side is yet to be known.