There’s nothing new about the widely startled eyes of characters who have come face to face with a scary ghost or seen paranormal moves played by a vengeful spirit. We’ve seen it all, time and again. If not in the Aranmanai franchise, then in the Kanchana series or hundreds of other horror films from around the world. Over the years, we’ve been subject to the fear of jumping of all kinds. If one continues to react to overuse tactics of intimidation, it does not necessarily mean that the director has managed to succeed. It is in human nature to tremble when something ugly or frightening comes in front of us. Any 10-year-old with a ghost mask can do it. Then, what’s the point of a director with over 30 years of experience spending a fortune on a film to achieve the same effect?
There is nothing novel about Aranmanai 3. At the center of the story is a huge palace with a dark history. And somewhere in the corner of this palace there is a closed room. Many haunting mysteries remain buried as long as the room is locked. But, once it opens, it exudes a dark force that is almost impossible to stop. Does the summary sound familiar? This is because Sundar C, who wrote, directed and acted in this film, is heavily attracted to Chandramukhi, which was a remake of the Malayalam hit Manichitrathazhu. Instead of the song “Ra Ra”, which is a woman’s yearning to meet her lover, we get “Sengandhale”, a mother’s lullaby, from a room that has now become a haven for supernatural powers.
The only difference is in Sundar CK Ravi, who is opposite RajinikanthK Dr Saravanan has no apparent talent for dealing with forces beyond his ken. He cannot read mind like Saravanan. He doesn’t seem to have the intelligence and ability to dodge ghosts. But, for all his shortcomings, he is the only savior we meet in this film. Meanwhile, Arya’s Saravanan is just used as eye candy. Apart from flexing her biceps time and again, Arya doesn’t get to do much in this film. The same fate happens with other actors. Not a single actor from the cast of Raashi Khanna, Vivek, Yogi Babu, Andrea Jeremiah and Sampath Raj has a meaningful role in what can safely be called the weakest film of the year.
In one scene, Raashi Khanna’s Jyoti survives an assassination attempt by a ghost. Typically, a person who has just been attacked by a dark force will be in a state of shock. But, she goes back to bed for a good night’s sleep as if nothing had happened. It comes to haunting her again the next time she shows any concern for the dark entity. The characters all spend the night playing hide-and-seek and hiding in heavy jewelry, but not a single person is found when the ghost is chasing a small child. And these complaints don’t even make up 10 percent of the film’s overall problem.
It is hard to believe that Aranmanai 3 comes from the mind of a director who made Ambe Shivam. “After doing Ambe Shivam, I faced more losses than gains. I did that film with all my heart. But, because of that film, I had to sit at home (without work) for almost a year. When people see me they ask me why I am not doing such a film now. And when I hear this, I get angry, not happy. I feel like asking them where they were when they were needed. Now people watch and appreciate the movie on DVD and on the internet. But, if he had supported this film upon its release, I would have been inspired to do more such films,” Sundar Si had earlier said on a television show.
We get the movies we deserve. When we fail to appreciate Ambe Shivam, Aranmanai 3 is what we get.