"Aranyak" contains all the ingredients one would expect to see in a drama-thriller. Still, the authors brilliantly closed the loopholes while leaving a few open, sufficient to keep the audience guessing whether a second season may also be in the cards. Even though each of the eight episodes in the series is longer than 40 minutes, you never feel dragged out or bored while watching it.
Genre- Crime, Thriller
Cast- Raveena Tandon, Ashutosh Rana, Anna Ador, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Breshna Khan, Taneesha Joshi, Zakir Hussain, Meghna Malik.
Creator- Rohan Sippy.
Cinematography- Saurabh Goswami
Director- Vinay Waikul.
Streaming On- Netflix.
Language- Hindi with subtitles.
The storyline is straightforward: Two senior officers with vastly different personalities investigate a case that is not only mysterious because local politicians are involved but also because it revives a haunted urban legend about a creature that has frightened a small town in Himachal Pradesh, India, in the past.
The former SHO (Raveena Tandon) is taking a year off to be with her family, so a new one (Parambrata) is assigned to a police station in a remote village in northern India. The legendary criminal is rediscovered in the community, prompting an old case to be reopened. Tandon must return to her job to establish her worth. Politics, class conflict, and power struggles define the show.
Aranyak means "Of the Forest." The main incident that starts the Netflix drama that reintroduces Raveena Tandon to our screens takes place inside the forest. The location of the humans makes it appear as though they had displaced the wildlife to build their dwellings since a dense layer of the forest completely surrounds them. The clash between humans and animals is also discussed.
Regarding music, Aranyak has a catchy score that enhances the narrative. The series combines soulful melodies and melancholy songs that successfully bring the necessary feelings and environments. Aranyak's scenes are brought to life through music, intensifying critical situations and heightening their impact. The background music in Aranyak is also masterfully composed, adding to the overall tension and suspense. It offers a deeper narrative level and efficiently increases anticipation during tense scenes.
Although most listeners find the songs in Aranyak enjoyable, some viewers could have personal tastes that conflict with the selected musical genre. It's significant to remember that musical taste can vary from person to person. What one person likes, another cannot. Additionally, some viewers could have wished for a broader range of songs or thought that some musical selections fell below their expectations.
Aranyak's cinematography is superb, showcasing the splendor of the Himalayan trees through breathtaking images and expertly composed compositions. The scenes are given depth and mood by the use of lighting as well as color grading, which further engages the viewer in the story.
The series starts with a power struggle within a police station and quickly transitions to a murder, an investigation, political deception, and a family drama. The success of the show depends on several factors. Additionally, the director and authors make an effort to touch each one.
The plot is masterfully crafted; practically everyone is known to one another, and people become uncomfortable when someone inquires about their intentions. Kasturi vigorously disagrees when Angad decides to help Julie Baptiste (Breshna Khan), a foreigner, locate her missing daughter Aimee because she thinks she's just another foreigner who came to the highlands looking for hashish (charas). When Angad begins interrogating locals about the crime and assumes that everyone is involved because he is an outsider, she raises more problems. And to counteract these human weaknesses, Angad is also shown to have fled to the hills following a harrowing occurrence in his past in which his personal life was negatively impacted due to his professional bravery.
In addition to its main protagonists, the supporting cast has been fantastic. The young performers Wishveash Sharkholi, Taneesha Joshi, and Belarusian-born Anna Ador deserve special recognition since they play significant parts and are essential to the plot.
As Kasturi Dogra, Raveena Tandon gives a strong performance, giving the part life with her nuanced characterization. The series' cast is remarkable, with each actor delivering their best work.
One could argue that the only flaws in the entire series are some problematic normalizations, such as how Parambir's Angad dismisses the urban legend as mere superstition and blames their backwardness for living in a tiny village rather than accepting it. To further illustrate this point, SHO Kasturi Dogra queries the medical examiner's use of the term "jugular" when he informs Dogra that the deceased died after having his jugular vein severed in one of the incidents. It was assumed that a female SHO wouldn't understand what the word "jugular" means, demonstrating how they feel about people, especially successful women in little towns.
In addition, some viewers have observed that several story aspects in Aranyak may feel somewhat predictable or familiar, especially for those familiar with the mystery subgenre. While the show weaves an exciting story, its flips and turns may not always be incredibly unique or unexpected.
Additionally, some detractors have said that Aranyak's character development for a few supporting characters might have been more robust. Although the supporting characters can feel less developed than the main characters, their effect on the overall plot may be diminished. The key characters get sufficient depth and attention.
Aranyak might have more flaws in dialogue composition, pace in particular episodes, or story coherence. Immersion can be hampered by dialogue that doesn't strike a chord with certain viewers or seems forced. Specific episodes could have inconsistent paces, affecting how the plot generally flows. Additionally, the term "narrative coherence" relates to how clear and cohesive the plot is. However, some viewers could believe that particular stories or plot strands are unfinished or undeveloped.
Despite a few flaws, Aranyak may easily be classified as a binge-worthy show because it is among those shows that no one can watch a single episode of. There are many similarities between Aranyak and the Kate Winslet-starring film "Mare of Easttown," and I'm sure some people will hastily accept that Aranyak is a blatant copy of that work. However, the two works are very different from one another, both in terms of the themes they tackle and the characters they feature.