What Is the Film About?
Narendra Bhupathi’s (Rana) ancestors donated 500 acres of land to the Government to maintain it as a Reserve Forest. While the descendants share the assets, Narendra Bhupathi stays back in the forest taking care of the trees and elephants. He plants one lakh trees and is awarded by the Government of India. He becomes the Forestman of India and is called Aranya from them. The rest of the story is all about what happens to the forest when a corporate company backed by a minister builds a wall through the forest for a real estate venture.
How Is ‘s Performance?
Rana is the heart and soul of the film. We do not see Rana anywhere in the movie. We only get to see Aranya. The frail personality, that animal-like gaze, walk, everything he perfected to play the role as needed. In certain scenes, he needs to look angry, helpless, and at the same time determined. He played everything to perfection so that audience could empathize with the character as well as the cause he is fighting for. This is by far the career-best performance of the actor for sure. His hard work is seen in each and every frame.
Direction by ?
First things first, Prabu Solomon should be commended for attempting something like this. It takes immense courage, research and resilience to make such a film. The plot of a corporate-political nexus trying to encroach a forest is not new. But he ensured it special with the forest backdrop combined with amazing details. Furthermore, there is an honest attempt to deliver a message. The technical values are exemplary.
While it is about the good things, there are a few issues as well. Vishnu Vishal’s character is crucial for the story and he has a love track as well. The track has come to an end with a heart-rending incident. There is a parallel naxal track with a heroine (Zoya Hussain). But then, the thread is left incomplete. You would expect both the characters to come back at some point in time but that never happens.
There is another heroine (Shriya Pilagaonkar) who is crucial for the story. She keeps doing several things in the middle of the film but we do not understand what she is exactly into. Her character makes sense only at the start and at the end.
The audience is made to empathize with Aranya’s character to some extent and later, we hope he would come back with vengeance. That happens but a bit late. During that time, we feel the proceedings are stretched. However, the director makes up for it towards the end. The pre-climax leaves a warm feeling while the ending sounds predictable. Finally, Aranya has a few issues but they do not come in the way of appreciating the movie with good intent. Rana’s terrific performance and excellent technical values add more value.
Vishnu, Shriya, Zoya and Others?
Aranya is more of Rana Daggubati’s show. There are quite a few characters important to the story but the director seems to be fully focused only on Rana. Vishnu Vishal has performed well. The Heroines Zoya Hussain and Shriya Pilagaonkar did their best in whatever they are offered. Ananth Mahadevan who played the bad politician is adequate. Raghu Babu does what it is expected of him. Venkatesh has given a small voiceover and that is fine.
Music and Other Departments?
Aranya is a technically sound film. The first credit should be given to the Cinematographer AR Ashok Kumar who captured some extraordinary visuals in various forests. Every frame looks like a painting. Shantanu’s re-recording and sound design are superb and elevates the proceedings. There are a couple of songs that are strictly alright. They neither add value nor make any dent. A few dialogues are well-written. The editing is okay. The production values are superb.
A couple of action sequences
Kumki Elephant Conclusion Scene
Some boring scenes in the middle
The director should have concentrated on the remaining characters as well along with Rana’s. Every good scene is accompanied by one or two boring scenes. There are some portions where the hero character may be portrayed doing something heroic.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Aranya Telugu Movie Review by Siddartha Toleti