Not great stars, no big names..and bad marketing too; Yet a simplistic trailer, profound enough to attract anyone to watch the film....How else could the show have been full?
Aaranya Kaandam refers to the 14 most testing years of Rama in the forests, in exile, in despair for love and in grave danger too. The forest turns into the battleground, here North Madras-known for its dark nature and its abusive form of Tamil.
Singamperumal (Jackie Shroff), supreme controller of drug trade through Chennai, has his own share of competitors in the form of Gajendran and his aide Gajapati, who could turn as mad as elephants that could crumble anything across. Pasupathi (Sampath), on Singam's side, aspires to stand on his own, thus incurring the wrath of Singamperumal.
Meanwhile the old mafia has another side, the despair of not satisfying Subbu (Yasmin Ponnappa), who had been tricked and brought there under the promise of making her a star. Just as the trailer precisely describes-"Raavanan kulathila oru Vibheeshanan'a madhiri", there is Chappa (Ravi Krishna), an innocent deer in the midst of lions. He has a soft corner towards Subbu and she woos Chappa in a motive to escape from the lion's clutches.
At the same time, a yester-year zamindaar, who had lost all his wealth foolishly, arrives at Chennai with his acid-tongued ten year old, Kodukkapuli. They are in an emergency to find money, fearing the loaners might put his wife into a brothel on non-payment of credit. This is where they come across a huge bundle of cocaine smuggled in a hotel which is supposed to reach Singamperumal, which they take in a bid to amass wealth. And there starts the butterfly effect...a war between Singamperumal, Pasupathi and the Gajas meanwhile Chappa plans to escape with his newfound love. All these lead to a spellbinding climax, deciding the fate of the three stories.
Performances from all quarters have been fabulous, notably from Sampath, the zameendaar and the girl, Subbu playing a powerful role impresses big-time. As she majestically walks at the climax accomplishing what she wished, one would feel like clapping, the climax has that surprise ingredient!
Yuvan Shankar Raja is yet again fantastic. The trick of ensuring a marvelous BGM seems to have been transmitted via blood into him. Very experimental score, very much that when you would be expecting blaring rock guitars in a chase, he surprises us with soft violins. Essentially, the mood is conveyed. The cinematography is sufficient and otherwise not much to pat on the technical side.
Kumararajan Thyagaraja..??..er sorry! Thiagarajan Kumararaja(thanks to Wiki)....Oh you are the director right? It is your film?? Oh it is your first film?? That would be the array of questions. If I got a chance to meet the director.
Very impressive screenwriting; and puts in emotions of various dimensions into the script. Comedy isn't forced, and no duets crap.
The biggest victory of the film is in etching the characters-not polarized to extreme goodness as a Rama nor to extreme evil as a Raavana, all have their lighter and darker sides, and that is what reality is all about. Though the film has its shares of flaws in the form of a slightly slow screenplay and the very fact that the film is experimental in every aspect, we can refresh ourselves for something new rather than re-tuning time and again to the paisa vasool formula.
Three stories, 24 hours and a Chennai we haven't seen...
Rating **** (4/5)