Decoding The Phenomenal Popularity of MX Player’s ‘Aashram’
Bobby Deol plays Baba Nirala in Aashram.
The second chapter of MX Original Series Aashram is streaming now on the OTT platform and the response to the show has been phenomenal. The fictional series has been directed by Prakash Jha and has Bobby Deol playing a self-styled godman whose aashram is a den of crime where he preys upon his gullible devotees.
What the makers of the show have pulled off is rare - following up a hugely successful part 1 with another 9 episodes of chapter 2, within 2.5 months of each other.
Deol’s performance as Baba Nirala, who is eerily similar to the infamous Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has won him all-round praise in both editions. Baba Nirala has the ability to draw huge crowds and enjoys a lot of political clout, but in reality, he’s a sexual predator in the garb of a guru.
The series has wowed, both, critics and viewers alike. Whether it’s the storyline or the performances, people just can’t seem to get enough of Aashram. In many ways, the show has managed to create its own universe and it’s not every day that this happens in the Indian OTT space. Typically, after a super first season, shows find it difficult to sustain their popularity in the subsequent seasons. However, Aashram, has changed the rules of the game and how! No wonder, viewers celebrated the second chapter even more than the first.
If memes are any metric of a show’s popularity, then Aashram is winning hands down.
Ever since the first part came out in August, social media has been flooded with memes around the show’s dialogues. The craze has only increased in the second chapter. Baba Nirala’s catchphrase ‘Japnaam’, that he uses to greet his devotees, has found its way into pop culture and that’s quite something. This is one baba who has a fan base of his own and that’s no mean feat. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that his off-screen cult is bigger than what you see on screen.
While we get a glimpse of baba’s evil side towards the end of part 1, the second chapter does a full deep dive into his dark and sinister world. In both editions, Aashram makes for a riveting watch. It’s an edge-of-the-seat entertainer that boasts of great performances. Beyond all this, what makes Aashram very relevant to the times we live in is that it tells an important story that everyone must know. It’s a terrific show that lays bare uncomfortable truths about the world we live in.
India is home to several self-proclaimed babas that take advantage of the very people that blindly trust them.
Almost every single day, there are news reports from across India that expose the criminal acts of such 'godmen’. This is where a show like Aashram makes all the difference. It helps create awareness among the masses so they can protect themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to such frauds.
It’s been a long time that a show has got so much love from viewers the way Aashram has. It’s a compelling series that has managed to strike the right chord with audiences. We can’t wait to see where things go from here.
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