Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s directorial movie Aaranya Kandam (Jungle Chapter) has been already screened at the South Asian International Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Award for Best Film. After much controversy and struggles, the film was released. The censor board even wanted clearance from actors, Kamalhassan and Rajinikanth for a joke involving both the superstars.
So what is Aaranya Kandam about, Experimental film? A Gangster flick? A Dark comedy? It’s all of the above. Well, Kumararaja can be called the Guy Ritchie of Tamil Cinema or the Tarantino of Tamil cinema. Aaranya Kandam is gangster flick that takes its own time to unfold supported by technical elements in the film. However, all of the movies elements are overpowered by performances, everyone in the frame has lived their roles. The movie stars Jackie Shroff as Singaperumal, Ravi Krishna as Sappai, Sampath Raj as Pasupathy, Yasmin Ponnappa as Subbu, Somasundaram as Kaalayan, Master Vasanth as Kodukapuli, Rambo Rajkumar as Gajendran. With so many characters you may wonder, who is the protagonist? Well, the question has no answers.
Performances carry the film be it Jackie Shroff as the venomous impotent Singam Perumal or the naïve Ravi Krishna or Kodukapuli’s father Somasundaram, all have done a commendable job. Especially Somasundaram is able to tickle ribs even at nail biting situations with his performance and dialogue delivery. Sampath as always fits in the role of an ambitious gangster effortlessly. Then there is Yasmin Ponnappa, the dumb-blonde like in the movie with her sheepish grin is also brilliant. It is almost a perfect cast and Thiagarajan Kumararaja has done well with dialogues, which are clever and has a sense of humor. As the plot unfolds it’s a cat and mouse story, where all that the characters are looking for are freedom, money, power and cocaine.
Rajini pudikuma? illa Kamal pudikuma? – SP Charan the producer has tweeted that Kamalhassan loves the movie. That is enough reason for movie buffs to go watch the film. Thiagarajan Kumararaja has taken the harder route of opting out of songs in a 2 hour movie. However, the background score is enjoyable, though the sounds are influenced by various world movies. Yuvan Shankar Raja produces a truly enjoyable score in the movie. The cinematography is good, with many unusual placements of camera angle and low-key lighting. If you are a Rajini fan then you will like the movie, if you are a Kamal fan you will love the movie.
Overall, Aaranya Kandam is whole new experience in Tamil cinema with a good plot and a twist in the movie. The movie is overpowered by performances from all characters and is supported by enjoyable music and cinematography.