The last couple of years has been good for Sundar C after he returned as a full time director with Kalakalappu and Theeya Velai Seyyanum Kumaru. Both films bore his trademark stuff and catered to the audience who love his style of comedy. The teasers of Aranmanai never hinted at comedy and looked more like a complete horror flick. But with Snndar C at the helm and Santhanam in the cast we sort of expect a film on the lines of Muni and Yaamorukka Bayamey that successfully merged these two genres. What does the ARanmanai really have in store for us? Read on to find.
It follows the standard template of a spirit seeking revenge. A family returns to an ancestral property to sell it off. And then you exactly know what is going to happen.
As in a typical Sundar C film Aranmanai is packed with actors in every nook and corner of the screen and all of them pass muster. Andrea and Hansika have substantial roles and are adequate. While Hansika looks like a complete misfit when she is introduced as a naive village girl there is some sort of justification later on when her past is referred to in a dialogue. And she does garner some sympathy in a scene later on. Santhanam manages to bring in a few laughs, though most of the time the ploy employed for this borders on the obscene. There are so many other well known faces including Sundar C himself.
If the film really intended to scare you then it rarely does and a major reason for this is the tacky special effects. The blurred images of the ghost and the blood that is graphically displayed are from the old school horror films. The songs only add to the length of the film. Editing looks shoddy at places and so many scenes end abruptly. There is an instance when a dialogue that Sundar C delivers is hardly completed and you have the following scene on screen.
What works and What fails?
Aranmanai is so predictable that not even one guess of yours misfires. And when predictability sets in you got to make sure that the length is short. 161 minutes is a tad too long for a film that travels exactly how you expect it to. This might have not been a problem had the film had genuinely scary moments. Horror works the maximum when the ghost is not shown and fear of the others is depicted. Aranmanai employs the exact opposite strategy. You are exposed to the supernatural image very early on and it is shown frequently in almost every other scene. And when this image looks like a caricature and a rejected piece from an animation flick how are you going to get scared. The palace in which the events take place itself is so colourful and looks like a shooting spot. The initial scene of a character seeing his own image in the opposite premise looks exactly similar to the scene from the English flick 1408. In spite of all these Aranmanai is somehow watchable. The horde of stars and the few jokes are the reason for this. Though not anywhere in the league of Sundar C’s usual laugh riots, the comedy in Aranmanai does manage to play the saving grace.
Aranmanai has a predictable narration and scenes that remind us of low budget horror flicks and amman movies of the late 90s.With very few genuinely scary moments it is a watchable drama that mildly amuses you.