Aranya (Bandev/Narendra Bhupathi) belongs to a family of nature protectors for generations. They are rewarded for their gestures. He lives in a forest reservoir that is home to many wild species, especially elephants.
What happens when the forest, which Aranya (Bandev) feels is his family, is under siege by politicians and corporates to set up a township? How he fights with all his might and saves the animals’ natural habitat is the movie’s primary storyline.
Rana is extraordinary in the role of Aranya (Bandev) . He showcases a whole new body language, and dialogue delivery is also different. He is, without any doubt, the heart and soul of the movie. It makes Aranya his career-best performance by a distance. The effort he has put in visible in each and every scene. It stays with the viewer long after the show gets over.
Vishnu Vishal starts well. It is critical to the proceedings, and he does it neatly. However, the character goes missing for a major part in the second half.
Zoya Hussain and Shriya Pilgaonkar are the two female leads. Both are crucial to the movie’s progress and form a substantial part of crucial subplots. More than that, they are well cast for their respective roles and deliver. However, among the two, Shriya Pilgaonkar easily shines.
Ananth Mahadevan is adequate, and so are the rest of the characters who play bits and pieces roles.
Sound Design And Scenery
Gets Bit Muddy In Parts
Director Prabhu Solomon is back with a new outing that is set in forests and involves elephants. Unlike Gajaraju, the latest offering deals with a much bigger issue and mafia that encroaches and spoils nature.
The basic storyline is nothing new. A corporate entity taking away the livelihood, land and life of the native is a theme we have seen a dime a dozen in the past. What makes Aranya different is the authentic forest backdrop and the detailing.
It is not just a political- corporate nexus in operating in the jungle; there are internal struggles within the terrain that are highlighted through the Naxals and Vishnu Vishal’s characters. How they are used to advance the plot brings freshness besides the core theme of preserving the natural habitat.
The different subplots add depth and engage the audience from the start. It gets a bit muddy during the middle segments, but it is alright. However, the ending to these portions should have been fleshed out well. They give the feeling of let off in the middle without having a proper closure.
The main track involving Bandev and his association with the elephants is the movie’s heart, though. The emotional connect, which is so critical for the success of the narrative, is well established. The action is also organically developed into the tale.
It all leads to an emotionally charged climax, where the director succeeds in making one rooting for the elephants, as well. It has come out well and is the proper culmination of the whole story.
Overall, for the theme, message and bravura performance of Rana Daggubati, Aranya is a breezy one-time watch at the cinemas. It will leave one with a pleasant feeling in the end.
The music is part of the proceedings and doesn’t stick out anywhere. The background score is sublime and never feels noisy, barring small portions. The cinematography by AR Ashok Kumar is exquisite. It is a significant highlight of the film and helps in elevating the mood via the visuals. The lush green atmosphere of the forest and its contrast with the urban jungle are subtly brought out. The editing is decent.
Bottom-line: A Visual Feast