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Asur Season 1 Episode 1 Recap: The Dead Can Talk

In the first episode of Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side, a murder is committed which seems to be part of a series of killings.

Asur Season 1 Episode 1 Recap: The Dead Can Talk

Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side is a crime-thriller web series on Voot Select. 11 years back in Varanasi, we’re shown a boy whose father is a priest. His father has decided that the boy will also follow in his footsteps. After a small havan, the father-son are on a boat when the father asks his son for water. Next, we see the father’s body mysteriously drop dead into the river. Something seems fishy about the son. He goes to a group of Aghori saints who smear his face with cremation ashes. The boy holds a cut finger in his hand. Is this his father’s finger? Did he kill his father? The first episode of Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side begins shrouded in mystery.

In the present day, at the FBI Training Centre in the USA, Nikhil Nair (Barun Sobti) teaches forensic science. “The dead can talk'', he says, meaning that dead bodies provide enough evidence to trace their killer. Nikhil is an ex-CBI forensics employee. Shashank Awasthi from CBI repeatedly calls him to come back. Nikhil’s friend, Arjun, visits him at his workplace and shows him the picture and details of a dead body, asking his opinion about the killer. After some calculations, Nikhil reaches a logical conclusion about who the killer could be. This shows to us Nikhil’s competency in forensic science and solving crimes. Nikhil’s mail is flooded with emails from Shashank Awasthi who wants Nikhil to join CBI back.

The scene shifts to New Delhi. A woman working in the kitchen of a restaurant is murdered. She is assaulted and then her head is heated in the oven. The killer dumps her body in a jungle. Dogs eat her body since the killer covers it with dog food. This is a very gross sight.

Nikhil comes back home to his wife, Naina played by Anupriya Goenka. They have a daughter, Riya. Nikhil and Naina talk about their day. Nikhil says that he is fed up with living someone else’s life because teaching isn’t his calling. Naina reminds him that he left CBI for his family and she isn’t in favour of him going back. This conversation escalates into a fight.

The next morning, a body is found in Delhi in a gross condition with a mask on the skeleton’s head. The forensics team takes traces from the body. CBI is working on the case. Two prominent actors from the spy web series The Family Man also form a part of Asur’s cast. The actor who plays TASC officer JK in The Family Man is a CBI officer Lolark Dubey in Asur and JK’s boss Sharma is Lolark’s boss in Asur.

Nikhil’s daughter is playing games on his phone when he receives a picture of the dead body found in Delhi. His daughter sees it and lets out a scream.

A man reaches the Central Forensic Science Laboratory at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi. He is Dr. Dhananjay Rajpoot aka DJ played by Arshad Warsi. He instructs another forensics officer, Nusrat (Ridhi Dogra) to identify the body as soon as possible. In his office, we’re shown a photo of DJ and his wife, Sandhya. He texts her and asks if she has reached to which she replies that she had already reached the day before. We’re not given any context to this conversation.

Naina confronts Nikhil about the photos of dead bodies on his phone. He reveals that he has been mysteriously receiving coordinates of locations where dead bodies are being found in New Delhi. Nikhil is passing on this information to the CBI. Naina asks him if he is still in touch with Nusrat but Nikhil says no and that he has been passing on the information to Lolark. It seems like Nikhil and Nusrat have some history. Nikhil tells Naina that he has been offered a senior position at CBI but Naina questions him about why he wants to join back the place he came running from.

Nusrat and DJ conduct the body’s autopsy. They find out that the body is that of a female who could be anywhere between 30 to 40 years old. On doing an X-ray scan of the body, they learn that the index fingers of both hands are missing. While the left index finger’s cut is irregular, the right index finger’s cut is clean and sharp. This strikes DJ and he digs files of previous crimes. Two other murders in the recent past involved the right index finger of the dead body missing. DJ brings this pattern to the team’s notice. However, Nusrat says that this murder is different from the others as this is the only case in which the face and body have been disfigured and a mask has also been left on. The CBI figures out that the killer has a maroon Honda City with broken headlights and DJ instructs Lolark to search for it. DJ orders Nusrat to work on the facial reconstruction of the body.

Nikhil still receives emails, calls and texts from CBI to join back. Shashank Awasthi says that Nikhil won’t have to deal with DJ. Looks like Nikhil has beef with DJ. Nikhil looks at a photo with DJ and remembers the time when he was DJ’s student at the National Institute of Forensic Science, Delhi. The decision to join the CBI still looms in front of him.

A parcel arrives for DJ from a ‘well-wisher’. It is an audio file from the killer. The killer says that the CBI won’t be able to find him and he also talks about “jeevan aur mrityu”. The team figures out that the killer is well-read and has an eastern UP accent.

Nikhil tries to convince Naina to come with him to Delhi. Naina has a life in the US and she can’t just leave everything and go. She says that he can goif he wants.

Lolark informs DJ about a red Honda City found 20 kilometres away from the point where the body was found. DJ reaches to inspect the car on his own. As he opens the door of the car, it bursts into flames. DJ says that the killer is smart since he used spontaneous combustible chemicals to burn the evidence.

Taking a short break from work, Nusrat’s mind wanders towards Nikhil. She checks his social media to see what he is up to. There is definitely some history between Nusrat and Nikhil.

Nikhil bids goodbye to his wife and daughter and leaves for Delhi with a heavy heart. Naina is left crying.

The next morning, a worker reaches the restaurant and sees blood in the kitchen. She immediately dials 100.

Sandhya sends a parcel to DJ. It is a pen drive. He opens it and what he sees leaves him devastated. It is a video of the murder of the woman who was killed in a restaurant’s kitchen. And…the woman is Sandhya! Crying, DJ watches his wife’s head get shoved inside an oven. Meanwhile, Nusrat is successful at the face reconstruction of the body and is shocked to find that the face is Sandhya’s.

The first episode of Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side is mysterious and engaging. The story, pace and characters of the web series remind me of Breathe: Into the shadows (Amazon Prime Video). I even suspect that the twist about who the criminal is will be similar to that of Breathe: Into the shadows.

Episode Rating: 3/5