A new SHO (Parambrata) is appointed at a police station in a remote village in the North of India because the old one (Raveena) is taking a year's sabbatical to be with her family. Suddenly an old case is re-opened as the mythical criminal is sighted again in the village. And Tandon has to bounce back to work to prove herself. Politics, class divide, and power play run the show.
Aranyak literally means ‘Of The Forest’. In the Netflix drama that brings back Raveena Tandon on our screens, the major event that triggers the show happens inside the forest. The terrain is such that the people are surrounded by a thick layer of jungle, giving the impression that they have disrupted the wildlife in order to make their homes. The conflict between man and animal is also discussed.
The premise of Rohan Sippy's story, written by Charudutt Acharya and Rohan, Aranyak, was intriguing. A stark landscape in the heart of the wilderness. A corrupt system that is progressing at its own pace. On top of that, there's a legend about a demon who's half-human and half leopard. There's a lot there to build an interesting screenplay around. Take, for example, Anushka Sharma's Bulbbul and Rajkummar Rao's Stree.
The show begins with a power struggle inside a police station, then moves on to a murder, an investigation, politicians playing their games, and a family drama. There are numerous factors that will contribute to the show's success. And the writers and director try to touch on all of them, but they get caught up in the question of how much is too much. More on that later.
The question of how much is too much is raised. Every day that the creators were shaping Aranyak, they should have been asked this question. The first six episodes of the show take so many different directions that bringing them all together by the sixth episode is nearly impossible. If that isn't enough, I'm still not sure what the show's central conflict is.
One of the most serious issues in Aranyak is the accent. The actors and pivotal characters are introduced in a different accent, which they quickly forget. When they have to say any English word, their attempt to forcefully speak the dialect is shattered, and the facade is shattered.
They also fail to mention that Ashutosh Rana's retired police officer is introduced as a 'jinko bhulneki bimari hai.' But it is never mentioned once during the course of the show, and Rana never forgets anything And, just so you know, he is currently working on the most difficult case with the police.
Even the dialogue attempts to be iconic or genre-appropriate but falls short. When Meghna Malik says "Hum Sanp Se Hath Nhi Mila Sakte Kyuki Sanp Ke Hath Nhi Hote," it's hilarious, and the makers want you to remember those lines.
Raveena Tandon maintains her effortless screen presence. However, the character assigned to her is befuddled. There is a tonal shift not once, but several times, and it is unnecessary. She is a mother who aspires to be a role model for her children, and a police officer who aspires to have a high-profile case to her name. She is going through an inner catharsis while also fighting a battle. But the camera never looks deeper into her eyes to allow us to connect with her.
Vinay Waikul directs the show in a traditional manner. The screenplay alternates between the various setups introduced in the first two or three episodes. He doesn't do a lot of experimenting. Of course, he uses a character's traumatic past as a flashback to open each episode, but where is the bridge to connect to his anguish?
With that in mind, why can't a dedicated police officer also be an amazing cook, especially when her daughter is also a master chef? Willn't that look lovely? It made no sense that Raveena was a bad cook and her teenage daughter was a Masterchef contender.
Parambrata Chattopadhyay is appearing in a different show. He appears to have gotten a better version of the script and plays his part with zeal. He has had a traumatic past, and you can see it in his demeanor. The rest of the cast is given one-note characters who only do what is expected of them and don't add any extra layers.