• Shah Shahid

Review: Aranyak Is An Indian Netflix Original Murder Mystery Series

Aranyak is the new Indian crime drama on Netflix, and it’s spectacular. Framed like a Scandinavian noir thriller, the story is set in a small Indian village where a young tourist goes missing. What follows is a rollercoaster of a mystery involving corrupt politicians, neglected youth, affairs and drugs and so much more that it’s almost dizzying to keep track of. But in the best possible way. Aranyak is a wonderfully written show performed even better by an incredible cast of Bollywood stars. Check out my kind of spoiler-ish Aranyak review.

This Netflix Original Series Is A Multi-Layered Modern Day Whodunnit

The story of Aranyak begins pretty simply, but then quickly becomes ever so complicated. The story begins with Kasturi (Raveena Tendon) the local chief of a small mountain village in India, getting ready for a year-long leave. After being a working mom and police officer, Kasturi needs some much-needed time off to work on her family troubles. Just as she officially hands things over to her temporary replacement, Angad (Parambrata Chattopadhyay), a murder shocks the small village.

As a young tourist is found dead, the race begins to find the killer. But it’s not a clear-cut case, as there are multiple suspects, many motives and muddying everything is the local urban myth of a mythological Panther-Man. The first episode of Aranyak does a great job of teasing the killer and guilty parties by showcasing a bit of the climax as a sizzle reel. This works wonderfully to hook an audience into the show from episode 1, and not feeling like the mystery is dragging out.

The Lead Characters’ Chemistry Adds To The Show’s Drama

What’s great about Aranyak is how easily the plot points come streaming out. But it never feels convoluted or overwhelming to the story. The small village setting is the perfect setup to have many different suspects. A small-town setting automatically means that everyone is in everyone’s business, making it difficult to run an objective investigation. Something Angad notices right away as someone not from the village.

On top of Aranyak’s story, the lead characters have great chemistry with one another. Chattopadhyay and Tandon are amazing together. Kasturi and Angad begin with a heavily confrontational relationship. Kasturi feels threatened as Angad takes over her job during a murder investigation. While Angad is constantly shocked at the totally unprofessional small-town processes of the police force.

Aranyak Is A Complete Thrill Ride From Start To Finish

Aranyak is a pretty well-rounded and complete show. It begins with a murder but then devolves into one complete with corrupt politicians and their business dealings. While there’s also a secret affair that is linked to it all. Suspects change from the ones who were obvious, to ones who we weren’t expecting at all. There’s even a drug subplot that connects directly to Angad’s past. But the slow-drip with which these reveals happen are very organized and never feel forced or shoehorned.

This makes Aranyak super engaging to watch. The series is easily bingeable from start to finish. That is why it’s the perfect Netflix watch. The story is engaging while delivering on the payout. The shocks and twists are worth the build-up. And their performances are stunning.

The Aranyak Star Cast Is To Die For!

Tandon was a superstar leading lady in 90’s Bollywood. With lots of hits under her belt, the actress has been out of the limelight for a while. Aranyak marks her full-fledged come back into the mainstream in an author-backed role. And she delivers on all fronts without missing a beat. Especially given the fact that she’s doing a regional accent, which can be very hit and miss. But Tandon pulls it off spectacularly. At least, in my opinion. Chattopadhyay is amazing in a more restrained performance. Although, when Angad comes face to face with an unresolved element of his past, the actor’s ability to completely lose it was amazing.

Bolstering the two leads’ performance is the kind of kooky retired father-in-law of Kasturi, played by Ashutosh Rana. While I wish we got to see more of him, Rana is having a lot of fun in this role. Given his age, it’s implied that Mahadev is kind of going delirious. But having hunted the mythic, supposed Panther-Man of the village 19 years ago during his last murder spree, his possible return is personal for him. And we’ve also got Zakhir Hussain as the corrupts of the most corrupt politicians, which fits the actor's wheelhouse perfectly. Meghna Malik is another politician concerned about her son’s role in this murder.

Overall, Aranyak is a must-watch for fans of crime-thrillers. While it’s also accessible for any international audience, as the ways of the village are seen through Angad’s eyes, as a proxy for the audience.

Aranyak is now streaming on Netflix.

Pic credit: Netflix.