Following the huge success of “Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru” last year, director Sundar C with comedy being his forte is back with “Aranmanai” in which Vinay Rai, Hansika Motwani, Andrea Jeremiah and Raai Laxmi play significant roles. The film which is produced by Vision I Medias has music by Bharathwaj and background score done by Karthik Raja. With an ensemble cast like Santhanam, Manobala, Nithin Sathya, Kovai Sarala and many, this flick, tipped to be an horror comedy, Sundar C for the first time follows a new path of heading to deliver a good rib-tickler with enough chills and thrills of a horror comedy, a familiar genre recently in Tamil Cinema.

The plot : Aranmanai, as the name suggests, the film is all about a palace which is haunted by a tormented spirit after it is realized that the house servants are being killed one after the other mysteriously. A bunch of characters enter the premise in first half, they all keep the audience in splits but in comes a thud in the form of a twist, cut to the interval block we are being introduced to the ghost and once we move on to the second half, the reason for the palace to get haunted is revealed which is although very predictable, the presentation makes it entertaining.

Direction : Director Sundar C has shown his value as a director of commercial entertainers earlier and reinforces it again with ‘Aranmanai’ with horror elements being combined, which sure turns out to be a passable one. To give director Sundar his credit, he tries hard to deliver some chilling and thrilling moments in the film, and succeeds only partly. The plot line seems to progress at a steady pace, keeping the viewer engaged in the first half but loses tempo in the second half. The typical Sundar C touches are almost invisible from the horror perspective but the fact that the fun screenplay leaves no room for boredom is surely a credit to this veteran master at handling comedy movies. He has made his presentation and packaging contemporary. He doesn’t take much time to narrate the main plot and he has strongly sketched his characters in a way that ought to hold audiences’ attention. The climax sequence in particular which we have seen in plenty of films in the past has yet worked out well here where Andrea steals the show with an untamed performance.

Cast : The casting is a dream definitely. Sundar C has assembled a large ensemble of comedy actors we have admired in the recent past. Every artist fit to their role to a T. Vinay Rai and Sundar C are sufficient with their roles and underplay their characters flawlessly. But it is Santhanam who shines once again with his funny one liners and brings the roof down. Some being doltish at certain instances, the funny dialogues by Santhanam, Kovai Sarala and Manobala are remarkable and leave you wanting for more. The elaborate support cast – Nithin Sathya, Ganeshkar, Lollu Sabha Swaminathan, Chithra Lakshmanan are in top form and they deliver their share of laughs. The rest of the actors were good enough as well. Hansika who is usually seen as the bubbly, sexy and girl next door type, goes de-glam with a whole new makeover for this film. She plays the role of Selvi who is born as God’s child and she gives a winning performance till date, with a lot of scope, she pulls it off effortlessly. Andrea gives a striking act in the second half and the climax belongs to her totally. Raai Laxmi looks wild glamorous n hot and does her part neatly. Keeping in mind the ‘U/A’ certificate, this film does have the sordid jokes which could have been avoided.

Technicalities : Songs by Bharathwaj are nothing but frequent speed breakers, none of them get registered and hummable when compared to Kalakalappu or TVSK. The BGM by Karthik Raja works in parts with some good sound effects. The costumes are very traditional and suit the mood of the film. The art department needs a special mention for their uncluttered sets. Cinematography and editing are pretty ordinary and the running time is a another drawback and nothing much to praise in those aspects. The lip-sync is a real eye-sore, especially for Hansika and Vinay when seen in close-up shots. The VFX team have worked hard immensely but the much expected output looks unpolished and artificial after a certain point. Had director Sundar C took these little things seriously, the film would have been nothing short of an excellent horror flick.

On the whole, albeit Aranmanai is predictable, the way it is presented with some surprises and the way every character shined all through the film makes it a winner to an extent. Although Aranmanai which does has its share of flaws, turns out to be a good time-pass entertainer, keep all your worries at home & you shall enjoy better in theaters. This ain’t a classic Chandramukhi but doesn’t end up a damp squib either. Go for it if you love horror-ghost films.

My Rating : 3/5