Review of Arya Season 3: Sushmita Sen and Ram Madhvani take Arya’s character in Season 3 beyond the sacrificing mother role, playing a fierce gangster and a grieving hero. Let’s address my sole complaint about Arya Season 3 upfront: it’s too short. Disney+ Hotstar’s Ram Madhvani and Sushmita Sen’s show is marching on the Night Manager’s path and will release the third instalment in two parts. If one watches Part 1, currently streaming, a long wait ensues for Part 2.
When we last left Arya in the previous season, she had become a don. The man she gunned down was her biological father. She shuddered to realize how easily she could be triggered, not because of who she was but simply because she was a living, breathing human being.
Season 3 kicks off with Arya taking the reins of power. The first episode starts with a rendition of the late Tej memorial song, ‘Bade Achhe Lagte Hain,’ before diving into a more intense, gangster-like score. Sushmita adorns black attire, dons a hood, puffs on a cigar, and surveys her kingdom from her fortress.
Sushmita transforms from the apprehensive mother of the first two seasons into a roaring lioness in Season 3. Yet, she amalgamates her performance with a certain vulnerability, ensuring the transformation remains solid and organic, stemming from the newfound strength. She secures Arya’s lost ground when necessary, reminding us where she came from.
This transformation is a challenging shift for an actor whose character’s strength lies in her vulnerability and emotional transparency. However, Sushmita presents the new, empowered Arya in a highly theatrical manner, aided by her character’s all-black power dressing. She’s captured from skewed angles, avoiding direct eye contact with the camera, revealing her fear, suppressed by the newfound power in her eyes.
Indraneil Sengupta portrays himself as Nandini’s husband Suraj, who was killed by Maya in Season 2. Interestingly, actor Sujay Ghosh went on a mission against a mother in a (2012) story. However, this time he has more screen time and a backstory. Like Sushmita, Indraneil also presents his character ruthlessly and transparently, who converts all pain into revenge.
Another new antagonist, Nalini Saheba (played by Ila Arun), appears more calm and calculative. She is designed as everything that Arya takes pride in, increased tenfold. She’s a dawn with connections, possessing a battalion of wolves with guns, a single working mother with a rich experience in reclaiming everything lost by her husband. She’s also portrayed as a lioness in the world where Arya is deployed as a huntress. Ila shows both royal courtesy and a flickering danger, promising an emergence in Part 2.
AC Khan and familiar enemies like the Russians are present, but the biggest threat against Arya is the loss of her soul. While the aforementioned antagonists drive the show, the heartbeats originate from how the changed Arya saves her children from herself. She is fighting against bad people because it’s easy with new resources, but she keeps running from the inner battle.
Despite a slippery slope, Arya promises to keep track every time, and we are always rooting for her. After all, she is truly a working mother, a woman who has been sidelined and betrayed by men throughout her life, yet she is determined to dream of a better life for her children. And that is Arya’s heart and soul: the inevitable self-defeat you feared your entire life.