This was the most awaited movie for me and it released after almost a year of tribulations with the censor board. It won the Grand Jury award in South Asian International Film Festival last year and it should have been celebrated here but the movie had to go through one of the worst bureaucracy in censor board.
Aaranya Kaandam is directed by a first time director,Thiagarajan Kumararaja who has an experience in making ad films and produced by SP Charan through his Capital Film Works. The background score is done by Yuvan Shankar Raja with cinematography from PS Vinod and edited by KL Praveen – NB Srikanth. The movie has Jackie Shroff, Sampath, Ravi Krishna, Yasmin Ponnappa, Somasundaram, Veyil Vasanth and Rambo Rajkumar as travelling characters.
The story starts with Singaperumal (Jackie Shroff) trying to have sex with Subbulakshmi (Yasmin Ponnappa) and abuses her because of his impotency. Singaperumal is a ageing don, who does illegal drug business with host of henchmen. His steadfast second fiddle Pasupathi (Sampath) rubs Singaperumal during an argument about a cocaine business, that belongs to their arch rivals Gajendran (Rambo Rajkumar) and Gajapathy. Singaperumal orders for the murder of Pasupathi but he escapes through a speaker phone mishap. Meanwhile, Subbu enters in to a relationship with Sappai (Ravi Krishna), who does the chores for Singaperumal group. She entices him to steal the money kept by Singaperumal to buy the Cocaine from the middle man. Through a confusion, the cocaine ends up with a drunkard ex-zameendar Kaalayan (Guru Somasundaram) and his son Kodukkapuli (Veyil Vasanth), who have come to earn money from cockfights to save their family from money lender. What happens to the cocaine and each of the characters is told in a stylish narration.
The subject matter of the story is the cocaine bag and the characters revolve around this, each one trying to outwit the other. The characters are meticulously etched and each evolve with the story based on their basic characters. Jackie Shroff makes a perfect debut to Tamil movie world with restrained acting and body language. The dubbed voice suits him to the ‘T’. Sampath on the other hand proves once again why he is being touted as one of the best character artists in recent times. He cake walks his role, in fact. The surprise packages are Ravi Krishna and Yasmin Ponnappa – the naivety of both the characters in the initial stages helps to sustain the suspense in the climax. But the people who steal the show are Guru Soamasundaram and Veyil Vasanth. Veyil Vasanth as Kodakkapuli is brilliant with his direct questions and spontaneous reactions. His interactions with his Dad and Sampath are a treat to watch.
PS Vinod has tried different angles from the normal and color tones give a nice setting to the movie. The editing duo should have worked overtime as the film happens in a day. This is the best background score that Yuvan has made so far, although it gives a spanish feel, the score is top notch. The use of old songs (mostly Ilayaraja’s) in the background for some scenes that depict the mood in the scene is smart (dunno whether it’s director’s idea or Yuvan’s) – for instance “Kaatu Vazhi Pora” when they encounter police on the road, “Va Va Pakkam Va ” when Jackie Shroff goes back to Yasmin etc., Another person who deserves kudos is the art director Videsh, loved the way he has used old movie posters to depict the scenes – eg: when Ravi Krishna is seduced by Yasmin, the wall reads “Mudhal Anubavam” (First Experience) – extremely creative
Aaranya Kaandam is one of the well written movies in Tamil in the recent past. Not a single scene or a single dialogue is wasted. The joke regarding sexuality of married women with respect to their liking towards Rajini or Kamal, Subbu’s comment on Baasha movie or even a simple dialogue that Ravi Krishna utters when he pulls Yasmin back in the road has back references during later stages of the movie. Although, you find minute similarities to Pulp Fiction and Tarantino style direction, Thiagarajan Kumararaja has made an mighty impressive debut with a near perfect screenplay and wonderful dialogue writing. The casting, acting and supporting technical wizardry are impeccable. Hope Aaranya Kaandam becomes a trend setter for the movies to come. Thiagarajan Kumararaja is a rare find and kudos to SP Charan for bringing him in to the realm of Tamil Cinema – #respect
Aaranya Kaandam – a whooping 4.5/5 and a must watch. Miss at your own peril.. it’s just too good to be true 🙂