Netflix’s latest thriller web series ‘Aranyak’ is now streaming. It follows a gritty female cop who teams up with a new colleague to unearth the mysteries of a fictitious town in the hills named ‘Sironah’.
Kasturi (Raveena Tandon), a female cop in the town of Sironah, decides to take a year-long break to take care of her children.
When her temporary replacement, Angad (Parambrata Chattopadhyay), arrives, the two clearly do not get along due to their distinct ways of working.
Not long after, a young girl named Aimee goes missing. When her mother Julie comes to lodge a complaint, Kasturi is hostile, but Angad tries to be more helpful.
Aimee is found dead, hanging from a tree with claw marks on her neck, which Kasturi’s father-in-law Mahadev (Ashutosh Rana) declares the work of a rural myth; half-man, half-leopard, known as ‘Nartendua’.
With local ministers involved, suspects piling up and more mysteries coming forth, Kasturi and Angad race to figure out what happened to Aimee and who the culprit is.
Raveena Tandon’s performance is nothing short of brilliant. In a role that is nowhere close to what she played during her Bollywood stint, she is completely convincing as the strong no-nonsense cop.
Parambrata Chattopadhyay plays Angad competently, who is the perfect foil to Kasturi’s character. One of the most obvious highlights of the show is the camaraderie between the two.
Ashutosh Rana also stands out as the retired cop still obsessed with a mystery he wasn’t able to solve during his time.
Apart from these, Aranyak has a host of different characters, and not one actor looks out of place. This is a very believable world despite all the supernatural talk, thanks to how grounded the characters are.
The fact that all actors are on form is a big testament to director Vinay Waikul, who also makes sure that everyone has their moment.
This is the story of many different characters and despite Tandon and Chattopadhyay getting more screentime, you do not feel that it’s all about them.
There’s so much going on, and explanations are not always given right away. But Waikul makes sure you understand what’s taking place.
Barring a few predictable moments, it largely keeps you on the edge of your seats, wanting to know what happens next. The pacing, although slow at a few moments in the first half of the season, picks up later and is very well handled overall.
The cinematography is exquisite, with beautiful shots of a hill station across all the episodes; a welcome break from all the concrete.
The CGI design of the leopard is not up to the mark. It clearly looks fake and it’s a bit off-putting. Some non-linear scenes should have had a time stamp to help the viewers understand that the event took place in the past.
‘Aranyak’ is one of the best shows to come out this year. It’s an engrossing tale with a lot going for it and is definitely a must-watch.