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‘Aranya’ hit the screens today (March 26). Here is our review of the latest box-office release.

Story:

Aranya (Rana Daggubati), who is the Forest Man of India, has been living in a jungle near Vizag for 50 years. When a real-estate company wants to build a township by clearing 500 acres of forest land, the future of elephants living in the forest is in jeopardy, as they will not have access to the sole water body.

At the behest of the ruthless Environment Minister (Anant Mahadevan), a long wall is built to carry out the construction activities smoothly. This is when Aranya has to somehow defeat the villains. But can he?

Analysis:

Writer-director Prabhu Solomon, whose 2012 film ‘Kumki’ showcased his knack for setting an emotional story against the backdrop of a forest, is back with yet another forest-based film. ‘Aranya’, set for the most part in a forest (shot widely in places as different as Kerala and Thailand), has been made in Tamil and Hindi as well. Rana Daggubati’s consistently remarkable performance is the film’s biggets USP.

The Telugu version under review features a host of non-Telugu actors – ranging from Anant Mahadevan to Vishnu Vishal, Zoya Hussain and Shriya Pilgaonkar. As such, it doesn’t feel like a straight Telugu film despite the best efforts of the team to bring out a kosher product and authentic dialogue. To make the matters all the more contrived, the characterizations (barring that of the male lead) are old-school.

The staging of the story is fashioned after typical good-vs-evil movies. The Minister and the corporate honchos/employees speak a set of stock lines. When they are not speaking, they are seen doing regular things. At times, they allow a mahout (Vishnu Vishal’s character feels like it ended abruptly) to drive the story in patches. Imagine a non-entity tearing up a court order because he is peeved that his one-sided love story would come to an end. It’s like he is more determined and focused than those whose multi-million…


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