Netflix's Aranyak had already created curiosity among the audience thanks to the gripping trailer released few days back and to my surprise, the 8-episodes mini series turned out to better than expected after watching it.
Aranyak talks about local cop, Kasturi Dogra (Raveena Tandon) who is planning to take a break from her job to focus on her family. As she is handing over the responsibility to the newly appointed, Angad (Parambrata Chatterjee), a foreign tourist girl is found to be missing in the town of Sinhori, a small fictional suburb town in Himachal Pradesh. As the pressure mounts on Angad and Kasturi for delaying the case, they get another surprise in each and every turn of the investigation.
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As you begin the mini-web series, Aranyak, you need to have lot of patience and calmness in watching the murder mystery. While the first few episodes have few scenes which triggers the event to make you take notice of the story, Aranyak is mostly a slow-burn crime murder which takes sometime to build upon on you as it elaborates the life, culture and relationship of important characters of the misty town, Sinhori. Just like any other town, Sinhori is also a small place where everyone knows each other which may be an advantage but also has a flip-side. At the end of the day, the makers showed the positive message how locals, despite the unforeseen events which led to trauma, mental illness and devastation, remained supportive of each other. Sinhori also shows the humane portrayal amid crisis, family bonding and strong relationship required to uplift each other's life.
On the other side of the coin, Aranyak suffers from too many characters and too many sub-plots which could have been avoided while few episodes could have been trimmed to fewer ones to make it more engrossing, edgy and engaging. Directed by Vinay Waikul (The Test Case) and written by Rohan Sippy and Charudutt Acharya, Aranyak is like reading a mystery novel in which you are introduced to a new character or an event as you flip a page. The crime-drama has art direction showing the simple life of a small town with a good cinematography but with a strictly okay background score. A big shout-out to the team of visual effects for creating the figure of panther so perfectly. The climax is the tension filled twist which no one would have predicted in the finale episode that might want you to re-visit couple of episodes again. Coming to the performances, it is Raveena Tandon and Parambrata Chatterjee's show all the way. Both actors infuses life in their characters with shinning performance who does not shy away from performing the job diligently. I also loved Ashutosh Rana and Zakir Hussain's performance. So, overall, Aranyak is ingeniously plotted who-done-it thriller that will keep you guessing till the end. Nice 3/5
Aranyak is currently streaming on Netflix. The crime murder drama is produced by Ramesh Sippy Entertainment and Roy Kapur Films.