‘Aranyak’ is a time-tested novel by the ace Bengali novelist Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay. Those non-Bengalis unfamiliar with the name should be given a tip about the magnitude of greatness of the man. He penned Pather Panchali, the illustrious novel later made into an iconic movie of the same name by the legendary director Satyajit Ray. But the way this so-called murder mystery namesake of that classic by Banerjee brutally kills the good vibes this name ‘Aranyak’ generates in the soul of a Bengali, is iconic. The latest offering by Netflix starring Raveena Tandon, Parambrata Chatterjee, and Ashutosh Rana is another evidence of how the Indian style of movie-making is being annihilated by the penchant for imitating the Hollywood counterparts. And Netflix is being a party to it!
Raveena Tandon in her heydays was never considered a good actress. She looked good in rain-soaked sarees or in psychedelically lit item songs like Tu Cheez Badi Hain Mas Mast. Acting was never her cup of tea. All she could do well was gyrating her voluptuously plastic figure to those cheap groovy tunes alongside Akshay Kumars or Ajay Devgans. The makers must have thought of surprising the audience by bringing back her after almost a couple of decades. Unfortunately, she has not learned the ABCDs of acting even in such a long hiatus. She tries too hard to look natural in the gadhwali accent. She tries too hard to be cool. But alas! She can’t act. And she makes a mess of the show. She cold-bloodedly murders a show which otherwise had some promises. Even though I had loathed ‘Aarya’ as a show, Sushmita Sen had delivered a much more nuanced performance.
The whole show is a mockery of acting skills. The young actors do a terrible job. And the way those kids deliver dialogues, you feel as if you are watching a dubbed version of a masala South Indian movie. Even the ones as talented as the likes of Parambrata or a veteran like Ashutosh Rana did not have an iota of an idea of what they were supposed to do.
The plot is confusing. At times it tries hard to be a mystery thriller. At times it subdues its tone to be a horror show. When you come to know that the great Sippys are the producers of this buffoonery, you just wonder why on earth these people do not watch the show they create before premiering. The cinematography is tiring if you are a regular watcher of US or UK crime shows and the bends, the pine trees, the snow all are cliched. The series in many scenes tends to be The Mare of Easttown. In many scenes, it aspires to be the Chestnut Man. In its background music, it even shamelessly copies Ozark.
Avoid Aranyak if truly love the beautiful word ‘Aranyak’. Avoid this mess if you consider your time precious. This is a disaster. By the time you have something positive in hand, you have already wasted a few priceless hours of your life.
My rating- 2 out of 10
Available on – Netflix