Aarya has been renewed for three seasons, which paints a good picture of the Ram Madhvani show. This crime drama thriller set in Rajasthan about the narcotics business in which families get embroiled is probably one of the best shows in the above-mentioned genre. There is a lot to take away from Aarya when it comes to the subject matter of the show and the technicalities. Ram Madhvani’s direction is impeccable, and that has kept the show engaging so far. Just like Aarya, there are many shows that touch upon the crime thriller genre and explore the theme of dysfunctional families.
Saas, Bahu Aur Flamingo
Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo, created by Homi Adajania, is a story about a drug cartel run by a matriarch and her two daughters-in-law while keeping her sons away from the business. Set in a fictional town in a fictional state that mirrors Rajasthan, the show talks about the state’s role in drug production and supply because of its proximity to neighboring nations and the demand for contraband on the other side of the border as well. Saas, Bahu Aur Flamingo is essentially a female-led show just like Aarya, but unlike the latter, there is a rawness in the storytelling.
The woman who ran the production of ‘Flamingo’ the drug rose to power and wealth through sheer struggle, while Aarya Sareen was a blue blood, and the well-established business was handed over to her. All Aarya had to do was run it like a well-oiled machine and keep the profit coming to her family. Both the stories are set in Rajasthan, which throws light on the current lot of makers looking for tales based on the crimes that happen in the state behind the façade of colors, tourism, legacy, and tradition. Both stories paint an ugly picture of how women are mistreated and underestimated by male-driven businesses. There are crimes against women, infidelity, betrayal, drugs, and everything else you’d expect from a crime drama thriller.
Shehar Lakhot is an Amazon Prime Video original created by Devika Bhagat and Navdeep Singh. As the title suggests, the show is about the city of Lakhot in Rajasthan, hub of marble production in India. Along with that, there is also a mafia that runs the drug supply, carried out under the cover of transporting and selling marble. In this mafia, there are royals, activists, a middle-class family, and police officers involved who are trying to find a way out of the life of crime and make a decent living.
Just like Aarya, the dysfunctional family is the root of Shehar Lakhot, and it established the complicated relationship shared between brothers. There is also a complicated love story that caused a scandal. Saas, Bahu Aur Flamingo, Aarya, and Shehar Lakhot are about the crimes rampant in the state of Rajasthan. It is interesting to come across different kinds of stories in the same genre.
In Aarya, the female matriarch had to take control of the family business and face the brunt of the enemies; in Shehar Lakhot, as well, Dev Tomar had to face his family and the townspeople as he was back in town after a decade and was forced to take over the wellbeing of the family when his brother died in an accident. Shehar Lakhot and Aarya dealt with the stories of the royals who had turned to crime to keep their families afloat, which is miles away from the lives their ancestors lived. Aarya herself was a royal, while Kairav in Shehar Lakhot was an illegitimate child of a royal, striving hard to be treated with respect. Both shows are essentially crime thriller dramas, but the core subject matter is very different.
The Night Manager
The Night Manager, just like Aarya, was created by Sandeep Modi. Along with Priyanka Ghose, Sandeep Modi has done a good job of remaking the original show set against a subcontinental backdrop. The Night Manager and Aarya are remakes of two European shows, and both have done an exceptional job of recreating the dramas. In both shows, law and order officials are after the lead and are hell-bent on making the arrest. ACP Khan of NCB was trying his level best to find evidence against Aarya and her cartel but she finally decided to surrender. In The Night Manager, Lipika Saikia Rao, the intelligence officer, wanted to arrest Shailendra Rungta, the most wanted arms dealer, who is revealed to be working for the R&AW and offering intelligence about the neighboring countries and their allies.
Shailendra Rungta’s best friend and business partner, Jaiveer Singh, was a royal, and just like Aarya Sareen of Aarya, he had ventured into the world of crime, the basis of which is controlling the people who work for you. Aarya had a family whom she wanted to protect, and she made sure they were kept away from the drug trade. Shailendra does the same for his wife and his son, Taaha Rungta, in The Night Manager. Both shows have a gripping narrative, an aspect that is normal in a crime thriller drama. Sandeep Modi, who has worked on Aarya and The Night Manager, doled out an ensemble cast in both shows, and all of them shine like diamonds.
Rana Naidu, the Netflix original, is an official remake of the American show Ray Donovan. The dysfunctional family dynamics are at the root of the show. In Aarya, the family is aware of the business but at times finds it hard to confront the loved ones about it. Whenever they do, they spill the beans about how their work affects the family. Rana Naidu in the show has a difficult relationship with his father, Naga Naidu. Something similar is witnessed in Aarya. Her relationship with her father has gone downhill ever since she learned of his role in murdering her husband Tej and brother Sangram.
Aarya chose to stay away from her toxic father because of his noxious ways of protecting his daughter in the name of family legacy. Rana Naidu is a crime drama thriller that talks about the traits of the father that the children embrace, ending up behaving like him. Aarya also senses she has become like her father, Zorawar Rathore, as she is willing to cross any boundaries and commit as many crimes as possible to save her children. A trait she found toxic when her father acted the same way. It is always the third generation that attempts to break away from the cycle of toxicity in families that are involved in crime-related business. This aspect is explored in depth by the makers of Rana Naidu and Aarya.
Bambai Meri Jaan
Bambai Meri Jaan is an Amazon Prime Original created by Shujaat Saudagar that is loosely based on the lives of the dons that ran a parallel government in the city of Mumbai from the 1970s until the 1990s. Based on the book by Hussain Zaidi, Bambai Meri Jaan is the story told from the perspective of Ismail Kadri, a police officer who never believed in living a life of crime.
This was Aarya Sareen’s motive as well; she wanted her husband, Tej Sareen, to move out of her father’s business and start afresh in New Zealand with his family. She wanted a life outside of the life of crime her father led. Fate was never on their side, as Ismail Kadri had to watch their children get into the dirty world of smuggling, murder, and gang wars. Aarya Sareen herself had to jump into the male-dominated world to stabilize the business, and she got dragged into the swamp of crime.
Bambai Meri Jaan and its idea of crime are very different from the world created in Aarya. Ram Madhvani’s Aarya showcases a sophisticated Rajasthan, while Shujaat’s Bambai Meri Jaan has Mumbai in its raw and rustic form. Both are crime drama thrillers, but they are opposites when it comes to the topicality they are dealing with.
Kaala on Disney+ Hotstar is a Bejoy Nambiar creation about the reverse hawala that takes place in large numbers in India. Ritwik Mukherjee is haunted by the memory of his father being declared a traitor and having lived under that shadow. Ritwik is now an IB officer who wants to put an end to the hawala market, which is on the rise on the eastern border of the country.
A trait found in ACP Younus Khan in Aarya was that he was desperate to find evidence against Aarya and bring down the cartel she was running. Aarya Sareen’s characterization was very similar to that of Balwant Bir Rana, who joined the life of crime reluctantly and could not look back once they had become an essential part of the cartel. Balbir ran the Hawala racket, and Aarya was a part of the drug transport, and they made sure to be a crucial part of the growth of their organization and never wanted to stay out of power. Balwant Bir Rana transitions into Shakti Arya, a woman who strives to keep herself powerful and miles ahead of the law, order, and system. Aarya was also being hunted by the NCB, but she always remained miles ahead until she planned to surrender on her terms.
Ruchi Narain’s Karmma Calling is a remake of the ABC hit show Revenge. Aarya and Karmma Calling are both remakes of shows from the West and have a female cast as the lead. Aarya Sareen takes over the business that was run by her deceased husband and brother. With both out of the picture, Aarya was forced to take over the drug transport business and keep all the enemies in check. Indrani Kothari was herself a gray character and was involved in many crimes in the past. These crimes are catching up with her.
Aarya had also committed many crimes to safeguard her business, and these wrongdoings were catching up to her as she found her children distancing themselves from her. Karmma Talwar wanted to get back at Indrani Kothari, who was responsible for her father being thrown into jail over false charges. Aarya was a mix of both women, as she was keen on taking revenge against those who wronged her family as well. The show was different in the execution part. Aarya was a subtle take on the crime drama genre, while Karmma Calling was an over-the-top ridiculous drama.