AARANYA KAANDAM – A DARK JUNGLE CHAPTER

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Aaranya kaandam(Jungle chapter) is a Tamil film released in 2010.Many people might not know this film as it’s not a mainstream film but it’s a MASTERPIECE which took Tamil cinema to the next level and i recommend you to watch it asap if you haven’t yet. Let’s post-mortem the things which make Aaranya kaandam a masterpiece

There are many neo noir films that came out in Indian cinema but most of them just follow one or two conventions of neo noir whereas Aaranya kaandam follows most the neo noir conventions effectively.
The most important convention is Low key lighting as you can see in the below screenshots almost the whole film is shot in low-key lighting except for the exterior shots.

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A femme fatale is a stock character of a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers, often leading them into compromising, dangerous situations

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Subbu is the femme fatale of this film which is the only female in the film and most important character of the film.
Other neo noir conventions include long tracking shots, obscured scenes, crime and violence, false accusations and betrayal, cynical characters, eroticism and sexuality etc which Aaranya kaandam has it all. Look at some of them below.

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Obscured shots

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False accusations and betrayal – Pasupathy who is a loyal man to Ayya is betrayed by Ayya himself

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While many films focus on elevating the male characters this debut director Thiagaraja kumarraja took an offbeat theme and offbeat male characters where everyone are losers and their masculinity is questioned by various people around. Also the director relates the characters to animals and the characters also behave like animals.
Singaperumal/Ayya (singam = Lion) – Lion is the king of the jungle and Singaperumal is the king of this film he is a very powerful old don in Chennai but now his power and masculinity is questioned. There is a scene in the beginning where Pasupathy, his men questions him “Dokka aiteengla?” (Have you become useless?) For which Singaperumal wants to kill him and on the other side he has trapped Subbu for his sexual desires but the thing is he has erectile dysfunction and he keeps bashing Subbu to vent out his frustration.

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Sappai – The name Sappai itself translates as useless. People around him bully him and look at him as a useless boy who is fit for nothing and not even for sex.

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Kaalayan – Kaalayan is an old man and the biggest looser of the film, He is a drunkard and lost all his assets due to his drinking problem. Even his masculinity is questioned by his own son where he says to him in a scene “nee nijamave muttala? Illa muttal maadiri nadikiriya?” (Are you really stupid or do you act like your stupid?

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Subbu – The only female in the film and the only character who is not a loser and cleverly escapes from the jungle from all these animals in the end. The film ends with her kickass dialogue Enna porutha varikum, Sappaiyum oru aambala than, ellam aabmbalingalum sappa than. Best thing about being a woman is – it’s a man’s world! (According to me Sappai is a man and all men are Sappai (useless)

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SCREENPLAY Aaranya kaandam has a very well written screenplay and travels in a particular order instead of jumbling the three stories. The first half sets up the characters slowly and introduces their conflicts by the interval. The screenplay of Aaranya Kaandam is like a game of dominoes you remove one scene from the film and everything falls down, credit goes to Kummarraja for writing such gripping screenplay.

Sound The sound of the film should have a special mention, There are no songs in the film but Yuvan Shankar raja’s kick ass BGM especially in the interval chase sequence elevates the film to the next level, Also the sound design is fantastic the way they captured the ambiance sounds brings in the naturalism especially whenever there is a scene in the Singaperumal’s bedroom we hear the birds chirping and the chaos happening outside. There are songs from other film used which brings out the quirky feel
Black comedy – Even though Aaranya kaandam is a serious film the occasional black comedy is brilliantly put in for example the palm reader scene and few one liners like Kaalayan calling cocaine as vellaikara mooku podi (foreigners nose powder) etc.

Trivia
• This is Thiagarajan kummarraja’s debut film
• The film went on to get high critical acclaim and won two national awards for the director and the editor
• This film is considered at first few films which started the new wave in Tamil cinema
• This film remains in the all time favourite films list of the renowned director Anurag Kashyap
• Thiagajan kummarraja’s next film stars Vijay Sethupathi and Samantha in the lead roles which is currently the most awaited film.

PS – You can watch the film on Hotstar for free:

www.hotstar.com/movies/aaranya-kaandam/1000026688/watch

ARTICLE BY PRANEETH PRATTIPATI

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