Aranyak literally means ‘Of The Forest’. In the Netflix drama that brings back Raveena Tandon on our screens, the major event that triggers the show happens inside the forest. The landscape is such that the people are surrounded by a thick layer of jungle making it look like they have disrupted the wildlife to make their homes. And the man vs animal conflict is also spoken about.
The story that is created by Rohan Sippy and written by Charudutt Acharya and Rohan, Aranyak had a promising premise. A landscape that is stark in the centre of the wild. A system that is progressing at its pace and is corrupt too. Top of it all is a myth of a demon who is half human half leopard. There is a lot to create an interesting screenplay around it. Take Anushka Sharma produced Bulbbul and Rajkummar Rao starrer Stree for example.
The show begins with the game of power inside a police station, soon goes through a killing, followed by an investigation, followed by the politicians playing their game, followed by a family drama. There are a lot of things to make the show a hit. And the writers with the director do try to touch all of them but fall into the trap of how much is too much. About that later.
Director Vinay Waikul directs the show in a staple manner. The screenplay keeps shuffling between the multiple setups that we are introduced to in the first 2 or so episodes. There is not much experimenting on his part. Of course, he uses a character’s traumatic past as a flashback to open every episode.
Raveena Tandon is back on the screen and still carries the effortless screen presence. But the character given to her suffers a lot of confusion. There is a change in the tonality not once but multiple times and when not needed. She is a mother who wants to be an epitome to her children, a police officer who wants to have a high profile case to her name. There is an inner catharsis she is going through and at the same time a battle too. But the camera never goes deeper into her eyes to let us relate to her. With that why can’t a dedicated police officer also be an amazing cook, while her daughter is also a master at cooking? Won’t that look beautiful? Raveena being a bad cook and her teenage daughter a Masterchef contender made no sense to me.
Parambrata Chattopadhyay is in a completely different show. Seems like he got a better version of the script and plays his part with dedication. He has a traumatic past and he makes sure you see the burden in his demeanour.
I was excited for Aranyak and got a completely half baked cake in the end. I hope the final two episodes have something more substantial to offer. Raveena Tandon deserves better.