Aranya is promoted as a completely different from Rana’s previous films. The film directed by Prabhu Solomon received good response for its trailer. Will the film live up to the expectations?
Bandev’s (Rana Daggubati) grandfather donates acres of land to government with an intention of protecting forest and animals living in it. Bandev plants lakhs of saplings and government honors him as The Forest Man Of India, though locals call him Aranya. He is a god figure to the locals. However, a corrupt politician plans to grab the land to construct his dream project of a luxurious township which halts elephants in reaching the river. Where does Bandev’s fight against the corrupt system end?
It’s been a long time since a film based on pure forest backdrop has come and Prabhu Solomon took inspiration from true incidents to pen this script. Although the plotline sounds interesting, the slow paced narration and unnecessary elements played spoilsport. There is confusion in characterizations as well.
For example, Vishnu Vishal’s character disappears in the middle without any justification. While we expect more concentration on jungle and the bonding between protagonist and the animals, some how the track dislodged. But, the focus shifts to globalization, corruption in the system etc.
However, the film is a technical brilliance. AR Ashok Kumar explored the nature so beautifully and we instantly start liking the visuals. Songs scored by Shantanu Moitra are pleasant and they look good with visuals on screen. His background score is other big asset. But, the sound design by Resul Pookutty is the major highlight of the film. It gives a feel that we are in the middle of jungle and observing the animals around us. We could feel every voice. The film is too lengthy and Bhuvan Srinivasan should have chopped off several avoidable scenes. Production values of Eros International are top-notch.
Onto performances, Rana underwent stunning makeover and that’s not all. His body language, expressions and acting are just outstanding. He simply lived in the role of a 50 years old jungle man. He makes conversations with birds and animals in the film and they look faithful. Vishnu Vishal is wasted in not so important role. Zoya Hussain and Shriya Pilgaonkar are good as a Naxalite and reporter respectively. Raghu Babu provides some laughs as Vishnu’s uncle. We hardly find any more Telugu faces. All the elephants played their parts efficiently.
Lack Of Interesting Elements
Poor Writing Of Characters
Director Prabhu Solomon showed his love for nature and elephants in all his previous films. But, this time he picked a story that completely revolves around forest and elephants. Of course, we see other animals as well yet major focus was on elephants. The initial portions offer a great feel then lose interest as story progresses.
The film starts off on a pleasant note as we are taken to the tour of a thick jungle where we enjoy the beauty of animals and thick forest. Rana is introduced as the jungle man Bandev who is the guardian and is everything for elephants and other animals. The villagers nearby jungle treat him like a god as his forefathers donated lands to them. After the very interesting start, the story deviates to urbanization with entry of Forest Minister. The action sequence in Delhi is stunning. Vishnu Vishal played mahout who is very selfish and doesn’t care about the lives of animals. Sentiment part is he treats Kumki elephant like his child. Rana’s fight with forest officer, followed by court episode and police station dishonors the man who was esteemed by the Government of India is first half.
Latter half begins on tedious note with more time taken to showcase the construction works and how Kumki is troubled to get heavy works done. We expect Vishnu to join the fight of protagonist, suddenly this character disappears. Aranya who appeared to be part of the jungle gets no support and even villagers too behave selfishly. These parts are a bit overdosed. Realization part looked unconvincing as Rana was shown as a god figure. And one incident leads to elephants developing enmity with the protagonist who is fighting for them looked unrealistic. Predictably, the film ends on happy note.
On the whole, Aranya fails to live up to expectations. Films like Jungle Book etc. did wonders as they explored the nature pleasantly and the main focus was on man-animal relationship. Though Aranya too starts pleasingly, tedious narration brings boredom. Fortunately, technical team gave complete support to give some life. CJ goes with 2.5 star rating and the film may not get commercial applause.