Directed by Vinay Waikul, Aranyak is a small-town crime thriller that isn’t looking to make a statement, and that’s precisely why it works so well!
It’s a simple jungle-based horror story coupled with politics and corruption divided into 8 episodes, each ending with a cliffhanger that leaves you engrossed throughout. Set in a fictional town called Sironah in Himachal Pradesh, it follows Raveena Tandon and Prambrata Chatterjee on a wild goose chase of a murderer, rapist, and a half-man half-leopard creature according to folklore.
Cast – Raveena Tandon as Kasturi Dogra is perfect for the role of your friendly neighborhood cop who doubles up as the righteous one with a no-nonsense attitude when need be. Parambrata Chatterjee reminds us of his character in Kahaani but his performance of a city-bred stoic police officer with a haunted past in Aranyak is commendable! Ashutosh Rana, Indraneil Sengupta, and Vivek Madaan play supporting roles rather well and Meghna Malik as Jagdamba is an absolute treat! Her wise but manipulative portrayal of the minister is priceless and so essential for this series.
Storyline – Across the 8 episodes, Aranyak follows two police officers, Kasturi Dogra and Angad Malik solving a series of murders with no shortage of suspects. This crime thriller begins when Aimee Baptiste, a tourist goes missing and is found hanging from a tree, which connects her case to a series of murders that took place in Sironah, 19 years ago. Everyone from villagers, old constables, and doctors believe this to be the work of a supernatural being, aka a nal tendua, half-man, and half-leopard who some claim to have seen.
What I liked – The constant suspense and mystery is maintained so well throughout the series that it’s frustrating! Aranyak has an eerie vibe to it with dark, never-ending woods that remind you of the secrets brewing in this small town. Raveena Tandon and Prambrata Chatterjee keep you invested until the very end with riveting performances.
What I didn’t quite like – The multitude of characters feel redundant to the plot because they make the storyline a lot more confusing than required.
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